Starkville, Miss. – Six Mississippi State football players were named All-Southeastern Conference by the AP and league coaches, announced by the conference this past week. The half-dozen combined selections for the Maroon and White are the most since placing nine on the 2000 All-SEC squad.
All-American defensive back Johnthan Banks was one of seven players in the SEC to be named a unanimous first-team selection by the AP. The senior team captain also picked up first-team honors in a vote by the league coaches. For the season, the Jim Thorpe finalist has tallied 59 tackles, seven pass breakups, four interceptions, 2.0 tackles for loss, a fumble forced and a fumble recovery. This past week, Banks was also named to the All-SEC First Team by CBSSports.com.
Joining Banks on the first team for the AP’s All-SEC squad was junior left guard Gabe Jackson. Also a second-team member on the coaches’ team, Jackson graded out a champion in 11 of 12 regular-season games. Heading into the bowl season, the Liberty, Miss., native is widely regarded as one of the top NFL prospects at guard, posting 78 knockdowns so far during the 2012 campaign.
Earning second-team accolades from both the AP and the conference coaches was senior linebacker Cameron Lawrence. The Coldwater, Miss., native tied for third in the SEC with 111 tackles, becoming the first MSU player since 1994-95 with 100-plus tackles in back-to-back season. The senior team captain was at his best vs. AP Top-25 teams, where he finished third nationally with 13.0 tackles per game (minimum three games). Along with 111 tackles, Lawrence registered a team-high 10.0 tackles for loss, four pass breakups, two interceptions and two fumble recoveries.
Also being named to the AP All-SEC Second Team were senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis and junior running back LaDarius Perkins. Bumphis made the squad after becoming the first Bulldog since 1973 to lead the league with a school-record 12 touchdown receptions. Perkins, who ranks in the top-10 in school history in all-purpose yards, was named as an all-purpose player after ranking second in the conference in all-purpose yards per game (129.5). Together, the dynamic duo combined for 2,363 all-purpose yards and nearly half of MSU’s total touchdowns (22 of 47).
Senior cornerback Darius Slay joined Jackson and Lawrence on the SEC Coaches’ All-SEC Second Team after tying for ninth in the country with five interceptions. The Brunswick, Ga., native finished his senior campaign with 37 tackles, 1.0 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, a fumble recovery and a blocked kick.
Aside from the AP and SEC Coaches’ All-SEC teams, sophomore kick returner Jameon Lewis was named to the CBSSports.com All-SEC First Team after breaking the school record with a league-leading 28.1 yards per kickoff return.
For more information on the seven All-SEC performers and their quest to extend the nation’s longest bowl game winning streak Jan. 1 vs. Northwestern in the 2013 TaxSlayer.com Gator Bowl, follow the program on Twitter at @MStateFB or like the team on Facebook at Facebook.com/MStateFB.