Football season is sort of nearing, and that means Phil Steele season is upon us. The well-respected college football predictor is releasing info bit by bit on his website, and today's release was Steele's 2013 preseason All-SEC team. 11 Florida Gators are on it, led by Dominique Easley, chosen as a first-team All-SEC defensive lineman, Kyle Christy, tabbed as the first-team All-SEC punter, and Andre Debose, who takes first-team All-SEC honors at kick returner.
Here's the table of Florida players selected:
At first blush, this listing doesn't seem all that wrong to me, especially since it's based on prior production more than potential — excepting, of course, Loucheiz Purifoy, who has one career catch, getting the nod at fourth-team wide receiver. I don't think Purifoy will be the wide receiver on this team primed for honors, simply because he's too valuable at corner to get full-time reps at wideout that would allow that, but he might be the first player in the history of Phil Steele previews to get preseason all-conference honors on offense and defense.
The other weird thing is picking Debose as the first-team kick returner: Certainly, as he has four return touchdowns in his career, he's there on merit, but he returned 18 kicks in 2012, and didn't return any kicks in the month of November before breaking out with two returns for 124 yards and a touchdown against Louisville in the Sugar Bowl.
I might have considered Matt Jones at one of the running back spots, especially because I'm higher on the Florida offensive line than Steele seems to be, but of the guys in front of him (T.J. Yeldon, Todd Gurley, LaDarius Perkins, Tre Mason, Brandon Williams, Jeremy Hill, Keith Marshall, and Jeff Scott), I don't know who I'd dump. Maybe Perkins and Scott? (I'm sincerely surprised that Scott's still in college.)
As you might suspect, Steele's All-SEC teams are heavy with Alabama players: Eight Crimson Tide names dot the first teams, and only on offense and defense, while 16 Alabama players show up on the whole list. That leads the conference, with Georgia's 12 coming in second and Florida's 11 players/12 selections is third.
The craziest thing about the whole list? While Kentucky is, as you might have guessed, last, with just three selections, the second-to-last spot is filled by South Carolina, which gets just four selections. For comparison, Missouri has six.
Do you think Steele is missing any Florida players? Underrating anyone? Let's talk about it in the comments.