Who will be the top players in the SEC in 2013? The coaches in the nation's top football conference had their say on Thursday when the conference released the coaches' All-SEC team.
All of the familiar faces were there.
South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney made the first-team defense, Georgia running back Todd Gurley was on the first-team offense, and the big three quarterbacks—Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, Georgia's Aaron Murray and Alabama's AJ McCarron—all made the cut.
What were some of the biggest takeaways from the coaches' All-SEC team?
The Coaches Aren't Buying the Johnny Manziel Hype
Whether it was due to the ongoing autograph scandal, questions surrounding his ability as a pocket passer or simply a hangover due to Manziel oversaturation in the offseason, the SEC's coaches don't believe in Manziel as much as others do.
Manziel was a second-team selection, while Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray pulled the upset and received the first-team nod.
Nothing against Murray. He's a fantastic quarterback and the leader of the team I picked to win the SEC. But Manziel did just set the single-season SEC record with 5,116 total yards.
Rewarding seniority is nice, but come on. Love him or hate him, Manziel deserves to be the first-team All-SEC quarterback.
That is, of course, assuming he's eligible.
Lather, Rinse, Repeat with Alabama's DL
One of the few questions facing two-time defending national champion Alabama is how its rebuilt defensive line will play now that nose guard Jesse Williams and defensive end Damion Square have departed.
The coaches don't think it's going to be much of an issue.
Defensive ends Ed Stinson and Jeoffrey Pagan and linebacker/defensive end Xzavier Dickson all made the All-SEC second-team defensive line.
All three being named to the team isn't a shock. Dickson led that trio with 33 tackles a year ago, while Stinson had 30 and Pagan 23.
Their appearances on the second team is an indication that Alabama has not only earned the benefit of the doubt with the public, but also with the SEC's coaches.
To put it more simply, it's "lather, rinse, repeat" up front in Tuscaloosa.
Of the 89 spots on the All-SEC first, second or third team, 16 were taken by players from the Crimson Tide.
Tennessee Is in Good Hands Up Front
It's going to be a transition year on Rocky Top, but while questions linger about the quarterback, wide receivers and defense as a whole, one area where the Vols are set is up front on offense.
Four Volunteer offensive linemen received All-SEC designation from the conference's coaches. Tackle Antonio "Tiny" Richardson made the first team, tackle Ja'Wuan James and guard Zach Fulton the second team and center James Stone the third team.
If the Vols' defense struggles, the stout offensive line will provide stability for whoever wins the quarterback job and allow a talented and underrated group of running backs, led by Rajion Neal, to control the tempo.
It all starts up front, and Tennessee head coach Butch Jones has a solid foundation to build on in his first season as the Vols' head coach.
Keith Marshall Getting a Ton of Respect
Georgia running back Keith Marshall is the backup behind Todd Gurley for the Georgia Bulldogs, but he beat out several starters to earn a spot on the coaches' All-SEC third team.
Marshall topped Florida's Matt Jones and Ole Miss' Jeff Scott—both of whom beat him out on the media's All-SEC team—to earn a spot alongside LSU's Alfred Blue.
For good reason.
Marshall rushed for 759 yards and eight touchdowns last season and led the conference with four rushing plays of 50 or more yards. He's a true home run hitter, and the coaches got it right by ignoring his status on the depth chart and rewarding him for what was a fantastic season that gets overshadowed by Gurley's accolades.
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