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Eight Aggies named to the Preseason Coaches All-SEC team

Layden Robinson, Nik Constantinou and Ainias Smith earned first team honors.
Credit: KAGS-TV

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Eight members of the Texas A&M football team were named to the Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team, announced by the league office Tuesday afternoon. Layden Robinson, Nik Constantinou and Ainias Smith earned first team distinction, while Devon Achane, Antonio Johnson and McKinnley Jackson were named to the second team. Reuben Fatheree II and Bryce Foster rounded out the list with third team recognition. 

Robinson, from Manvel, Texas, started all 10 of his appearances last season at right guard, clearing the way for one of the top running back tandems in the nation. The 6-4, 330-pound offensive lineman was named to the All-SEC Second Team by the Associated Press following a successful sophomore season. As a freshman in 2020, Robinson was a key reserve on one of the best offensive lines the SEC has seen over the previous 10 seasons. The Aggies were the first team to lead the league in sacks allowed (0.7), tackles for loss allowed (3.8) and yards per carry (5.45) in over 10 years. This preseason, Robinson has been named to the Lombardi Award, Wuerffel Trophy and Outland Trophy Watch Lists, while also being recognized a a nominee for the Allstate Good Works Team and as a Sporting News Preseason All-American.

Constantinou is entering his third year as the Aggies' primary punter, having appeared in all 22 games through his first two seasons. The Melbourne, Australia, native led the SEC and ranked in the top 10 nationally, averaging 46.61 yards per punt as a sophomore. Constantinou, who has previously been named to the Preseason All-SEC First Team and Ray Guy Award Watch List, sent 19 punts 50-plus yards and landed 22 inside the 20 a year ago. A semifinalist for the Ray Guy Award in 2020, he earned All-SEC First Team honors from the Associated Press and was named to the All-SEC Second Team by the league's coaches in 2021.

Smith has been one of the most versatile players on the A&M roster since his arrival in Aggieland and was recognized for it by the league's coaches as he was named to the first team as an all-purpose player and return specialist, and the third team as a wide receiver. He ranked as one of the best punt returns in the country and was atop the A&M receiving corps as a junior, which led to him being named to the second team as a return specialist and third team as a wide receiver and all-purpose player by the league's media. Smith paced the Aggies in receptions (47) and touchdown catches (6), while ranking second on the team with 509 receiving yards. He led the SEC and ranked in the top 10 nationally with 23 punt returns and a 21.6 yard-per-return average. 

Achane was named a second-team running back and third-team all-purpose player by the league's coaches. The Missouri City, Texas, native led the Aggies with 11 touchdowns in 2021, including scores as a rusher, receiver and returner. Achane rushed for 910 yards with a team-best nine touchdowns while averaging 7.0 yards per carry, which led the SEC and was No. 2 in the FBS among players with 100-or-more carries. Achane led the team with 1,472 all-purpose yards, chipping in 301 on kickoff return and 261 receiving yards. The junior has been named to the Maxwell Award, Hornung Award and Doak Walker Award Preseason Watch Lists, while also being recognized and a second team running back and all-purpose player by the SEC football media earlier in the preseason. 

Johnson is coming off an impressive sophomore campaign that saw him earn a starting role at nickel and serve as one of the Aggies' elite tacklers. The East St. Louis, Illinois, native tallied 79 tackles in 2021, good for second on the team. He ranked in the top-11 in the SEC and led A&M with 53 solo takedowns in his second season in Aggieland, also adding five pass breakups and 8.5 tackles for loss. Already this preseason, Johnson has earned AP, Walter Camp and Sporting News First Team Preseason All-America honors. He has also been named to the Jim Thorpe Award, Nagurski Trophy and Bednarik Award Watch Lists, as well as the Preseason All-SEC Second Team as a defensive back. 

Jackson earned second team accolades for his work on the defensive line. The Lucedale, Mississippi, native played in 10 games last season, making four starts at defensive tackle. Battling through injury in 2021, Jackson is among the top 10 returning tacklers for the Aggies this season. Jackson has also earned recognition this offseason from the SEC's football media, being named to the Preseason All-SEC Third Team as a defensive lineman.

Foster started all 12 games at center as a freshman in 2021. The Katy, Texas, native helped anchor an offensive line that cleared the way for one of the nation's most productive running back tandems, with each back rushing for at least 900 yards and six touchdowns on the year. By season's end, he earned SEC All-Freshman Team honors, to go along with FWAA and The Athletic Freshman All-America Team accolades. He was named to the Rimington Trophy Preseason Watch List. A standout offensive lineman at Taylor High School, Foster did not log a snap at center during his high school career.

Fatheree II rounded out the Aggie honorees, being named to the third team as an offensive lineman. He played in 10 games, starting the last eight of his freshman season at right tackle, and helped clear the way for one of the nation's most productive running back tandems, with each back rushing for at least 900 yards and six touchdowns.

The Aggies begin the 2022 season at Kyle Field, on Saturday, Sept. 3, taking on Sam Houston at 11 a.m. on the SEC Network.

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