Brown, Simmons make AP All-American Team

By: 
SPECIAL REPORTS
For Starkville Daily News

Former Starkville High School player and Ole Miss junior wide receiver A.J. Brown was selected to The Associated Press Preseason All-American first team on Tuesday.

He joins teammate Greg Little on the team. Little, a junior from Allen, Texas, was chosen to the second team as an offensive tackle. Mississippi State's Jeffery Simmons was selected to the second team as defensive tackle.

Brown, who is on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, Walter Camp Award and Biletnikoff Award, earned first team honors at receiver.

Brown, a preseason first team All-American by most major publications, finished the 2017 season as the Ole Miss single-season record-holder in receiving yards (1,252) and tied for the top spot in receiving touchdowns (11). He was tops in the Southeastern Conference and ranked sixth nationally in receiving yards per game (104.3) during his sophomore campaign in 2017.

His six 100-yard receiving games tied for best in a single season, equaling Laquon Treadwell's mark in 2015. The 2017 Conerly Trophy winner finished third on the single-season record charts in receptions (75).
Simmons' selection marked the fourth time this summer the junior from Macon has earned preseason All-America accolades.

An absolute force in the middle, Simmons leads all returning FBS defensive tackles in quarterback pressures with 41 in 2017, according to Pro Football Focus. Despite being double-teamed for most of the 2017 season, Simmons ranked 11th in the Southeastern Conference with 12.0 tackles for loss, including a career-best five sacks, and garnered first-team All-SEC honors.

A two-time SEC Defensive Player of the Week honoree last season, Simmons helped State to one of the school's best defensive performances since 1999 as the anchor of the unit. The Bulldogs closed the 2017 season ranked 10th nationally in total defense, allowing only 306.3 yards per game.

Simmons totaled 60 tackles and forced and recovered two fumbles while tallying three blocks on special teams, which tied SMU's Justin Lawler for the national lead. He scored twice with two touchdowns in the Bulldogs' road win at Louisiana Tech, becoming the first Bulldog defensive player since Johnathan Banks in 2009 to score twice in a game.

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