The top two teams in college football are, not surprisingly, the top two teams on the Coaches’ All-Southeastern Conference team.
No. 1-ranked LSU has 10 players named to the All-SEC first and second teams, tying a school record set in 2007. No. 2 Alabama, the Tigers’ opponent Jan. 9 in the BCS National Championship Game in New Orleans, leads with 11 selections.
Both schools have six players on the All-SEC first team.
Making the first team from LSU are offensive linemen Will Blackwell and Alex Hurst, wide receiver Rueben Randle, defensive end Sam Montgomery and cornerbacks Morris Claiborne and Tyrann Mathieu.
Four other Tigers are on the second team: running back Spencer Ware, linebacker Ryan Baker, place-kicker Drew Alleman and punter Brad Wing.
Wing is just one of two freshmen to make the All-SEC squad, along with South Carolina defensive lineman Jadeveon Clowney.
A total of 11 LSU players made The Associated Press All-SEC team on Monday.
Mathieu, who Monday was named one of five finalists for the Heisman Trophy and was earlier named one of five finalists for the Walter Camp national player of the year award, leads LSU with 70 tackles. He also recorded 6.5 tackles for loss, seven pass deflections, six forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
Mathieu has four touchdowns — one on a fumble recovery on defense against Kentucky, another on a special teams fumble recovery against Oregon, and two punt returns the past two weeks in crucial situations against Arkansas and Georgia.
Claiborne ranks second in the SEC with six interceptions this season, and his 11 career interceptions rank sixth in school history along with Greg Jackson (1985-88), Tory James (1992-95) and Craig Steltz (2004-07). Claiborne was named Monday to the American Football Coaches Association All-America team.
Randle has 50 catches this season for 904 yards and eight touchdowns. His 18.1-yard per catch average ranks second in the SEC. The junior from Bastrop is the first LSU receiver since Brandon LaFell in 2008 to earn first-team All-SEC honors, and the first Tigers wideout to make first team on the All-SEC coaches’ team since Dwayne Bowe in 2006.
Blackwell and Hurst are the only offensive linemen who have started all 13 games for LSU this season, with Hurst (at right tackle) the only one to start every game at the same position. Blackwell started the Tigers’ first five games at right guard and the past eight games at left.
Together, Blackwell and Hurst helped anchor an offensive line that has surrendered just 14 sacks and ranks second in the SEC with 215.1 yards rushing per game.
Montgomery leads LSU and ranks third in the SEC with nine sacks. He also recorded 13 tackles for loss on an LSU team that ranks second nationally in total defense and scoring defense behind Alabama, which allows 252.1 yards and 10.5 points per game.
The veteran of LSU’s linebacker corps, Baker played in 12 games — sitting out the Northwestern State game with a suspension — and recorded 58 tackles with 3.5 for loss and 1.5 sacks from his weakside starting spot.
Ware started 10 games at tailback, picking up 700 yards on a team-best 174 carries and has eight rushing touchdowns, tied for the team lead with freshman Kenny Hilliard. Ware also has 10 receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Alleman leads the SEC in field-goal percentage (88.9) on 16 of 18 attempts. He’s made 10 straight field goals since his last miss Sept. 24 at West Virginia.
Wing averages 44.1 yards per punt and has dropped 23 of his 50 kicks inside the opponent’s 20. His 73-yarder at Alabama tied Ole Miss’ Tyler Campbell for the longest kick in conference play this season, while his 67-yarder against Georgia set an SEC Championship Game record.
LSU leads the SEC and ranks third in the nation with a 41.6-yard net punting average. The Tigers have allowed just 6 punt return yards this season, second-lowest in the nation behind 5 allowed by Louisville.
Blackwell, Claiborne, Mathieu, Montgomery and Wing also earned first-team status on the AP All-SEC team.