It might sound strange to some to hear that Vanderbilt has twice as many top players than Tennessee.
Yet that is the exact sentiment expressed collectively by the Southeastern Conference football coaches Thursday, when their 2011 preseason All-SEC team was released.
Four Commodores and two Volunteers were among the 81 players recognized among the first, second and third teams on offense, defense and special teams. UT’s total was the lowest among the 12 member schools. Vanderbilt’s was tied with Ole Miss and Mississippi State for eighth.
Alabama had the most first-team selections (seven) and Arkansas had the most overall selections (14).
Vanderbilt linebacker Chris Marve, a 6-foot, 235-pound senior, is the conference’s top returning tackler and is the only Commodore named to the first team. He also is on the preseason watch lists for several national individual honors.
Tight end Brandon Barden was named to the second-team offense, cornerback Casey Hayward was named to the second-team defense and return man/running back Warren Norman was named a second-team specialist.
UT’s two honorees were defensive tackle Malik Jackson, who was named to the first-team defense, and defensive back Prentiss Waggner, who was named to the third-team defense.
Also notable among the selections:
• Three schools had no first-team selections, and two of them were Florida and Auburn, which have combined for three of the last five BCS championships.
• Georgia was second to Alabama with six first-team selections but had just three players on the second teams and none on the third teams.
• Alabama was the only school with players on both the first-team offensive and defensive lines – offensive linemen Barrett Jones and Williams Vlachos, and defensive lineman Josh Chapman.
• Arkansas had a wide receiver on each of the three offensive teams, led by first-team selection Greg Childs.
• The four first-team special teams players are all seniors, and the four second-team special teams players are all juniors. Three of the four on the first team are from Georgia.
• Two sophomores earned first-team recognition, both on offense – Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray and South Carolina running back Marcus Lattimore.
• The heaviest player is first-team offensive lineman Cordy Glenn of Georgia (348 pounds). The lightest is first-team defensive back Morris Claiborne (177 pounds).