Saturday Down South's Midseason All-SEC Team for 2017: Offense
Every team in the SEC has played at least six games, so it’s fair to call this the halfway point of the 2017 regular season.
From a team perspective, Alabama and Georgia have clearly established themselves as the ones to beat in the West and East, respectively. The Crimson Tide and Bulldogs are eerily similar, too. They’re efficient on offense and punishing on defense.
However, when it comes to the Saturday Down South Midseason All-SEC Team, it’s all about individual achievement. While the list of standout QBs is relatively short, a handful of running backs have been terrific to this point — there are some noticeable omissions there, to be sure. The offensive line also has a name or two we didn’t expect to see back in the preseason.
So without further ado, here are the best players that I’ve seen in the conference on the offensive side of the football thus far.
Jalen Hurts, Alabama
Statistics don’t tell the entire story for Hurts, as he’s currently tied for 31st nationally with an OK passer efficiency rating of 148.1, but he’s the proverbial dual threat with a touchdown-to-interception ratio of 8-to-1 through the air and a yards-per-carry average of 7.9 on the ground. He’s committed a grand total of one turnover in seven games, too.
Honorable mention: Shea Patterson, Ole Miss
With no running game to speak of and little defensive support, Patterson is on pace to break the league’s all-time record for single-season passing yards (4,275).
Nick Chubb, Georgia
Finally 100-percent healthy again following the gruesome knee injury he suffered midway through the 2015 campaign, Chubb leads the SEC with 688 yards rushing. Because he’s only averaging 15.3 attempts per game, he’s been fresh week after week.
Damien Harris, Alabama
So much of the hype at Media Days revolved around his teammate in the backfield, Bo Scarbrough, but Harris has established himself as the most consistent ball carrier in Tuscaloosa. He averages a spectacular 9.2 yards per rush and already has 9 TDs.
Honorable mention: John Kelly, Tennessee
Let’s face it, Kelly has almost no help around him. Nevertheless, he has more yards from scrimmage (802) than any back in the conference.
A.J. Brown, Ole Miss
The only pass catcher in the league on pace for 1,000 yards, Brown has emerged as the Alpha of a deep and dangerous Rebels receiving corps. In the four games he was actually healthy, he averaged 8.5 catches for 168 yards and totaled 6 scores.
Christian Kirk, Texas A&M
Unlike Brown, who has Patterson looking his way early and often, Kirk (below) has been forced to endure the true-freshman growing pains of Kellen Mond in the passing game. While his numbers aren’t flashy, he single-handedly beat Arkansas with 3 total touchdowns.
Honorable mention: Calvin Ridley, Alabama
The only reliable wideout Hurts has with the Tide, Ridley’s stats would be more gaudy if ‘Bama didn’t blow everyone off the field.
Hayden Hurst, South Carolina
In 2016, there were a few players at this position putting up respectable numbers. It’s a much thinner group this season, but don’t let that change your opinion on Hurst. He averages 15.6 yards per grab and can dominate defenders as a blocker, too.
Honorable mention: C.J. Conrad, Kentucky
It would be nice if the Wildcats used him more, as Conrad has 3 TDs on only 9 receptions, but he’s been shut out the last two games.
Frank Ragnow, Arkansas
Ragnow came into 2017 as one of the most celebrated offensive linemen in the SEC, and so far he’s matched those expectations. Forced to play guard last week against Alabama, it always helps to show NFL scouts that you’re versatile.
Honorable mention: Lamont Galliard, Georgia
The Bulldogs were atrocious up front most of this past season. Galliard has anchored a unit that’s made a lot of improvement.
Braden Smith, Auburn
He’s the reason why the Tigers always seem to have room between the tackles on read-option calls and Wildcat runs. When tailback Kerryon Johnson is being patient and waiting for a hole to develop, usually it’s Smith who opens it.
Kevin Pendleton, Missouri
As flawed as Mizzou has been this year, both offensively and defensively, field general Drew Lock has been sacked just five times in six contests. Yes, the system is designed to get rid of the ball quickly, but Pendleton is a steady force.
Honorable mention: Donnell Stanley, South Carolina
The Gamecocks have been banged up along the O-line in recent weeks, so Stanley’s play can be overlooked despite his consistency.
Jonah Williams, Alabama
A freshman All-America at right tackle a season ago, he’s taken over for Outland Trophy winner Cam Robinson at left tackle and may be better as a blind-side pass protector. Williams is on his way to All-America honors once again.
Austin Golson, Auburn
He’s played tackle. He’s played guard. He’s played center. Depending on who’s been healthy and effective on The Plains, Golson is the glue. And not just from game to game. You never know where he’s going to be from series to series.
Honorable mention: Greg Little, Ole Miss
Just because Patterson always appears to be scramblng for his life, that doesn’t mean his protection is non-existent. Little is starting to live up to his potential.