Year in, year out, nobody brings in ready-to-play recruits like the SEC. 2016 was no exception. On Monday morning, Pro Football Focus announced their freshman All-American team, and the SEC unsurprisingly led the way with seven (out of 23) players.
The headliner of the group is Alabama quarterback Jalen Hurts, the conference’s offensive player of the year as a true freshman. Hurts gave teams fits with both his arm and his legs, leading the Crimson Tide to another SEC title and a spot in the College Football Playoff.
Joining him in the backfield is Kentucky’s Benny Snell, one of three 1,000-yard freshman running backs in the conference, alongside Texas A&M’s Trayveon Williams and Missouri’s Damarea Crockett. Georgia’s Isaac Nauta, a tight end, also makes the list after hauling in 27 passes for 353 yards and 3 touchdowns. In addition, both offensive tackles hail from SEC schools, with Alabama’s Jonah Williams and Florida’s Jawaan Taylor finding spots on the team.
Though the majority of the SEC’s freshman talent plays on the offensive side of the ball, a pair of defenders were named Freshman All-Americans, as well. Florida’s David Reese stepped up in the wake of several injuries to the Gators’ linebacking corps, while Ole Miss CB Jaylon Jones was Pro Football Focus’ top-ranked freshman in terms of pass coverage.