By: Cole Mantell (@lightningdragon)
At midseason, now is a good time to look back on the first half and see which players are off to a hot start. Each conference has its standouts, and many of the names you’ll see in this four-article series will be contenders for the end-of-year awards. As for the method of the madness, the format for these midseason awards is as follows.
First, we use the same All-American set that is used for the real awards at the end of the season. That is shown below:
Second, except for the returner position, each player will be only eligible for one category. And thirdly, because I want to highlight every team, I am challenging myself to have at least one player from each team for these awards. Remember, the end-of-season All-Americans are for the entire CFSL, not by conference. So the point of this exercise isn’t to declare anything with only half the season over. It’s to highlight who has been playing well and who might be considered once the season is over and voting begins. Each position group will be highlighted in each article as well.
The SEC might be the most competitive conference in the CFSL right now. Five teams are 2-2, with LSU leading the division at 3-1. You can argue all of those six teams have been playoff-capable teams so far, and that is a recipe for absolute chaos and fun for the second half. Even Tennessee, 0-4 and looking for their first win, has played well at times and is capable of the unthinkable. Keep an eye on this conference as we look at their best performers of the first half.
Charlie Sammons – LSU
I went back and forth quite a few times between Sammons and Florida QB Beau Dale here. Both teams will pass a ton this season, both are the leaders of the two best teams in the SEC right now, and both have been excellent. I went with Sammons only because of his better TD/INT ratio and completion percentage with more throws. This was a razor edge close call and both Dale and Sammons will contend for awards at the end of the season. Guys like Baker Thomas and Brandon Petty are also lurking in the background.
Others Considered – Beau Dale, Baker Thomas, Brandon Petty
Tyrone Blake – Alabama
Storm Odie – Auburn
The SEC is maybe the most pass-happy conference in the CFSL right now. Tyrone Blake is the leading SEC rusher (for HBs), and he is 18th in the CFSL with 272 rushing yards. That doesn’t mean Blake hasn’t been excellent for a balanced Crimson Tide offense. Storm Odie is right behind Blake and is now a veteran of SEC play. Behind the two, Bode Dale and KJ Kretzer also have been great.
Others Considered – Bode Dale, KJ Kretzer, Cole Marks
Ryan Hall – Florida
Ken Dixon III – LSU
Rocko Britt – Alabama
Malachi Cobb – Kentucky
It is the opposite issue in the SEC for WRs as it is for HBs. Too many names dominated play through the air. Ryan Hall, since transferring from Alabama last season, leads the CFSL in receiving yards and has been the next dominant Gator WR. Ken Dixon III is Sammons’ favorite target and has been almost uncoverable. Rocko Britt has gone from lockdown safety to superstar WR. I could’ve gone a few different directions for that 4th spot, but I went with pure receiving yards and took the versatile Malachi Cobb. There were multiple Florida guys and a few more after that behind Cobb, and that 4th spot especially was a close race.
Others Considered – Freddy Chen, Tatum Washington, Cory Smith, Lemandon Lloyd, Duke Dawkins, JJ Lang, Robert Ivory
Lucas Leak – Georgia
This was a three-way race between Leak, Alabama TE Connor Keane, and Florida TE Kareem Pitts. Leak has more receiving touchdowns and yards than both, so it was a pretty simple choice here. For all the great firepower we talk about with LSU and Florida so far, keep an eye on a team like Georgia. They get their players involved, and while it isn’t flashy, it’ll win them games in an uber-competitive SEC this season.
Others Considered – Connor Keane, Kareem Pitts
Ray Seymour – LSU
Ryan Windley – Georgia
Theodore Hitchcock – Tennessee
Heinrich Kaine – Kentucky
With all the passing of the SEC, you need pressure up front. Ray Seymour has been the model for the conference so far, with 18 tackles, 10 TFLs, and 6 sacks in four games played. Windley, Hitchcock, and Kaine all have some great sack numbers. In particular, Theodore Hitchcock has been scary as a sophomore transfer from Bowling Green. He’s a name you’ll be hearing more about. Beyond these four, there are a few more names close to making this list as well.
Others Considered – Jeremiah Griffin, Terrance Dierker Britt, Bronco Dukes
Jaydyn Riley – Florida
Cristiano Valentine – Georgia
Bear Brown – Kentucky
Five linebackers in the SEC have 38 tackles or more in four weeks. I’d argue LB is the conference’s deepest position. Riley and Valentine are the clear leaders here. Both have been outstanding and should make for a very entertaining Rivalry Week game. For the third spot, as state Bear Brown gets the nod but at least three guys are contending for that spot (if not more). It was a choice of poison for me, so I went with the three guys with the most tackles in the SEC here.
Others Considered – Jameson Weinrich, Admiral Lasky, Malachi Calloway
Jordan Robinson – LSU
Bradley Charles – Alabama
Arthur Wilson – Florida
For the first time in a while, there aren’t a plethora of Florida CBs dominating the interception leaderboards. Arthur Wilson has two and has been playing well, but the days of the Griffins dominating defensive stat lines are no more for the Gators. Jordan Robinson is tied for the CFSL lead and gets the nod here for that, even without an interception yet notably. And Bradley Charles has been a versatile weapon for the Crimson Tide for a while now. There’s lots of wiggle room for the guys just off this list as well here.
Others Considered – Ganny Smith, Rick Koon, Ky Williams, Trenton Steele, Brandon Scott
Manti Delano – Kentucky
Cash Thomas – LSU
James Braxton – LSU
Again, the SEC is messy when it comes to the leaders in defensive stats. Manti Delano and Cash Thomas are the clear choices here, considering Delano leads all SEC safeties in tackles and Thomas leads all SEC safeties in interceptions. After that, there are a few guys all bunched together in stats. I went with the guy alongside Thomas in Baton Rouge who has 5 PDs and 2 INTs through four weeks. However, this was a very close choice once again.
Others Considered – Willie Davis, Drake Masters
Chuy Baca – Auburn
We finish off the SEC (and this series) with maybe one of the best names in the CFSL. Chuy Baca has a Pick 6 already on defense for the Tigers, but he leads the SEC in kick return yards. There are a few guys you can argue might be near him, but for now, raw totals win the day. Baca is still a freshman, so it remains to be seen whether he stays on kick returns or if Auburn tries switching him around the lineup. So far, however, Baca has more than proved his place on the special teams unit for the time being.
Others Considered – Freddy Chen, Matt Cavitt, Linwood Faulk III