PFF All-SEC teams feature 5 Hogs
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FAYETTEVILLE — Five Arkansas players landed on Pro Football Focus’ All-SEC teams, which were revealed Tuesday morning.
The selections were highlighted by a first-team pick at each level of the defense: defensive tackle Jonathan Marshall, linebacker Grant Morgan and safety Jalen Catalon. The other two players were on offense, as wide receiver Treylon Burks made the second team and Ty Clary earned an honorable mention nod at right guard.
Last season, the Razorbacks didn’t have any first-team All-SEC selections by PFF, the analytics site that grades every snap of every game on a 0-100 scale.
Although he doesn’t have many “sexy” stats, Marshall has consistently been the top-graded player on Arkansas’ defense. His 35 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and one sack don’t really jump off the page, but PFF recognizes the things that don’t show up in a traditional box score.
Marshall’s 29 pressures (which including 19 hurries and nine quarterback hits) lead all SEC interior defensive linemen, as do his 22 “stops” - tackles that constitute a “failure” for the offense. The result is an SEC-high 80.8 run defense grade and an overall 79.6 grade, which ranks second - behind only Alabama’s Christian Barmore - among the 21 SEC interior defensive linemen with at least 300 snaps this season.
Before his injury against Missouri, Morgan was leading the country in tackles with 111. Unlike Marshall, he has some of the traditional stats that people look at when considering things like All-SEC accolades. In addition to all of the tackles, Morgan also has 7.5 tackles for loss, two sacks, five pass breakups and an interception, which he returned for a touchdown.
What separates him from other players with a lot of tackles, such as teammate Bumper Pool, is that Morgan also has the PFF grade to back up his play. His overall 73.4 grade is bolstered by an excellent 84.5 coverage grade - which ranks second among all Power 5 off-ball linebackers, per PFF - and 78.7 tackling grade.
On the back end of the defense, Catalon has established himself as a play-making safety capable of delivering bone-crushing hits. He has 99 tackles and four pass breakups to go along with three interceptions and two forced fumbles.
With a 79.4 overall grade, he ranks second among all SEC safeties and is just behind Alabama’s Jordan Battle (80.1). Catalon is excellent against the run (79.0 run defense grade) and the pass (80.7 coverage grade).
Offensively, Burks just missed out on first-team honors. His 82.6 overall grade ranks fourth in the SEC - just a 1.5 points behind Florida’s Kadarius Toney for the third spot on the first unit. He was also an honorable mention All-American, according to PFF.
Despite missing an entire game and most of another with an injury, Burks has caught 51 passes for 820 yards and seven touchdowns this season, helping him earn a 88.9 receiving grade - which actually ranks third in the conference.
Although he didn’t begin the year in the starting lineup, Clary eventually became the Razorbacks’ primary right guard and started the final seven games of the season. That includes moving to center in the finale against Alabama and earning a season-low 58.0 grade.
Take out that performance and Clary’s 71.7 overall grade would be slightly higher, as he gave up only four pressures in 394 snaps at right guard.