STARKVILLE, Miss. - Senior defensive back Johnthan Banks and junior offensive lineman Gabe Jackson headline five Mississippi State Bulldogs that were named to Phil Steele's Midseason All-SEC team, the publication announced this past week. Joining Banks and Jackson were senior wide receiver Chad Bumphis, senior defensive back Darius Slay and junior running back LaDarius Perkins.
Banks and Jackson, who were also both named to Phil Steele's midseason All-American team, both earned first-team honors after impressive starts to the 2012 season. Banks, a preseason All-American by six different publications, leads the 17th-best scoring defense in the country, while holding opponents to under 200 yards passing per game. The team captain has pulled in three interceptions, while breaking up three passes this season. The Maben, Miss., native forced and recovered a crucial fumble in a 41-31 win against the Tennessee Volunteers this past Saturday.
Jackson, a preseason selection to the Lombardi Trophy and Outland Trophy watch list, has been the anchor of an offensive line that is tied for 12th nationally with five sacks allowed this season. The Liberty, Miss., native has been a prominent blocker for a rushing attack that has eclipsed the 140-yard mark in each of its first six games this season. Additionally, the preseason All-SEC guard has tallied 40 takedowns while grading out as a champion in all six games this season.
Bumphis, Slay and Perkins all earned midseason second-team All-SEC honors by Phil Steele. Bumphis, who broke the school's all-time mark for touchdown receptions with his 18th scoring grab at Kentucky Oct. 6, is on pace to break even more Mississippi State milestones. The Tupelo native now has 129 career receptions, which stands at fourth on the school's all-time list, and 1,816 career receiving yards, which is fifth in the school's history. He also needs 33 receptions to tie the school record for 162 set by David Smith in 1970.
Slay, a senior from Brunswick, Ga., leads the Bulldogs in interceptions this season with four of the team's 10 picks, including returning his first one 52 yards for a touchdown Sept. 1 against Jackson State in the season opener. Slay has also tallied two pass breakups, a fumble recovery, a tackle for loss and a blocked kick. Teamed with Banks, the All-SEC duo has more combined interceptions than 75 FBS teams.
Perkins, a candidate for the Doak Walker Award, is tied third in the SEC in rushing yards per game and is one of three FBS running backs to rush for a touchdown in every game this season (Marcus Lattimore of South Carolina and Adam Muema of San Diego State). Perkins' 142.5 all-purpose yards per game leads the SEC and his 179 yards at Troy on Sept. 15 still stands as an SEC season-high.
These five All-SEC honorees will lead the Bulldogs back into battle this Saturday, when Mississippi State hosts Middle Tennessee in the Maroon and White's homecoming matchup. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN 2 and the Mississippi State Radio Network.