by Brandon Langlois, Associate Director/Communications
STARKVILLE – A trio of Mississippi State Bulldogs were selected to The Athletic's All-America teams, honoring the best performances in 2018, on Wednesday.
Senior center Elgton Jenkins was named to the first team, while senior safety Johnathan Abram and junior defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons made the second team.
Selections were made by The Athletic's college football editors after reviewing nominations from the staff of writers. MSU is one of five schools in the country with at least three selections among the two All-America teams.
Jenkins, from Clarksdale, Mississippi, is the first first-team All-American offensive lineman for MSU since Gabe Jackson in 2013. A versatile veteran who has started 31 games in his career and can play all four positions on the offensive line, Jenkins anchors a unit that paves the way for a Bulldog run game that averages 226.4 yards per game and 5.8 yards per carry. Jenkins, who claimed the Kent Hull Trophy last week as the top offensive lineman in the state of Mississippi, is a two-time SEC Offensive Lineman of the Week this season and boasts an 80.8 pass-blocking grade from Pro Football Focus. In 726 snaps in pass protection at center over the last two seasons, he has allowed just one sack. He has played 2,597 total snaps over his 48-game career and is projected to be the No. 1 center selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, according to ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr.
Abram, who was a first-team All-SEC selection by the Associated Press on Monday, filled the stat sheet in his final year with the Bulldogs. The Columbia, Mississippi, product racked up 93 total tackles, 7.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, five pass breakups, two interceptions, once forced fumble and one fumble recovery over the year. Abram allowed a passer rating of 41.6 over his 40 targets this season according to PFF, which led all SEC safeties. In November games, Abram posted 31 total tackles, 6.0 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, one interception, a pair of pass breakups, four hurries and a forced fumble. He was the SEC Defensive Player of the Week on Nov. 19 after he recorded 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, a forced fumble and a recovered fumble in his final game at Davis Wade Stadium against Arkansas. Abram is listed at No. 30 on ESPN Todd McShay's top 32 players for the 2019 NFL Draft.
Simmons, one of the most dominant defensive linemen in college football, closed the regular season with 59 total tackles, 14.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and four pass breakups. With a 91.1 overall defensive grade from PFF, Simmons ranked second among all interior defenders. A first-team All-SEC pick by the AP, Simmons' 14.5 tackles for loss ranked fourth in the SEC. A total of 45 of his 59 tackles came during conference play, which led all defensive lineman. The Macon, Mississippi, native, was one of just four SEC defensive interior linemen with at least 15 hurries and four quarterback hits this season. He is just one of three players in the league with at least 12 tackles for loss over the last two seasons. Simmons won the C Spire Conerly Award on Nov. 27, which is presented to the best college football player in the state of Mississippi.
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