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July 27, 2007

Three Tigers named preseason All-SEC

Auburn senior defensive end Quentin Groves was named to the Preseason All-SEC first team in voting by the league's media at the 2007 SEC Media Days while senior offensive tackle King Dunlap and senior cornerback Jonathan Wilhite were selected to the second team.

In addition, Auburn was picked to finish second in the Western Division.

The media selected LSU as the overwhelming favorite to win the SEC this season, as the Tigers received 54 of a possible 80 votes as the league champion, followed by Florida (7), Arkansas (5), Auburn (4), Alabama (3), South Carolina (3), Tennessee (2) and Georgia (2).

In the divisional races, LSU was picked to win the Western Division on 63 ballots, while Alabama received seven first-place votes and Auburn and Arkansas received five votes each. However, Auburn finished second in the balloting overall with 205 total points behind LSU's total of 110, followed by Arkansas (237), Alabama (256), Ole Miss (430) and Mississippi State (442).

In the Eastern Division, Florida received 41 first-place votes and 131 total points, followed by Tennessee (16 first-place votes, 201 total points), Georgia (12, 225), South Carolina (11, 272), Kentucky (389 total points) and Vanderbilt (462).

Groves, who was also named to the preseason first team by the league's coaches, was a near unanimous selection, being named on 72 of 80 ballots.

The Greenville, Miss., native enters his senior season with 23 career sacks, which is just three shy of the Auburn school record. He has been named to the watch lists this season for the Hendricks Award and the Chuck Bednarik Award.

Groves posted a career-high 37 tackles in 2006, including 12 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks, which tied for third in the SEC. He also forced three fumbles while earning first-team All-SEC honors from the coaches and media and third-team All-American honors from Rivals.com.

Dunlap is the only returning starter on Auburn's offensive line, starting all 13 games at left tackle last season. The Brentwood, Tenn., native has played in 37 games during his career, including 14 starts, and was named the SEC's Offensive Lineman of the Week Oct. 23, 2006, following Auburn's 38-13 victory over Tulane.

Wilhite, who was also named to the preseason All-SEC second team by the SEC coaches, had 24 tackles and five pass break-ups while starting all 10 games in which he played last season. In 22 career games with the Tigers over two seasons, the Monroe, La., native has 71 tackles, including 55 solo, and 13 passes defended, including one interception.

Auburn opens the 2007 season Sept. 1 against Kansas State at Jordan-Hare Stadium at 6:45 p.m., and the game will be televised by ESPN.


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