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Six Aggies make Preseason Coaches All-SEC Team

Now let’s play some games soon.

Texas A&M v Alabama Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

The Texas A&M football team saw six Aggies earn Preseason Coaches All-SEC recognition, announced by the league Tuesday after a voting process by all 14 SEC head coaches. Ainias Smith led the group earning first-team all-purpose player, second-team return specialist and third-team wide receiver. Nik Constantinou, McKinnley Jackson, Demani Richardson and Evan Stewart were named to the second team, while Layden Robinson earned a third team selection.

The only schools with more representatives than A&M are Alabama and Georgia.

Ainias Smith (WR/PR)

A versatile weapon for the Aggies on offense and special teams, Smith returns for his fifth season in the Maroon & White. Smith has caught a pass in 27-straight games, dating back to the 2019 LSU game and has made multiple trips to the end zone in a game seven times in his career. He started the first four games of the year in 2022 before suffering a season-ending injury, finishing the season with 291 yards receiving and two scores, while averaging 19.4 yards per catch. The Missouri City, Texas, native ranked as one of the best punt returners in the nation in 2021 and led the team with 47 catches, including six touchdown grabs. He led the SEC and ranked in the top 10 nationally with 23 punt returns and a 21.6 yard-per-return average.

McKinnley Jackson (DT)

Jackson, a Lombardi Award Preseason Watch List selection, served as the season-long team captain in 2022, starting seven of the eight games he appeared in. He tallied 37 tackles on the season and ranked second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss, including a pair of sacks. The Lucedale, Mississippi, native registered the first double-digit tackles game of his career with a breakout performance against Ole Miss as he finished with 12 takedowns, 1.5 TFL and 1.0 sack for a 9-yard loss. Jackson earned the team’s Aggie Defense Leadership and Defensive MVP honors at the annual team banquet.

Demani Richardson (S)

Richardson was also named a team captain last season and enters his fifth season as a starter in the secondary. He has missed just one start in the 44 games he has appeared in. The Waxahachie, Texas, native led the Aggies in total tackles with 73 in 2022 and ranked 11th in the SEC with 48 solo takedowns. He was second on the team with five pass breakups on the year and earned a pair of SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors after scoring defensive touchdowns in the wins over No. 10 Arkansas and No. 6 LSU. Richardson has also been named to the Thorpe Award Preseason Watch List.

Evan Stewart (WR)

Stewart enters his second season in Aggieland after a strong freshman campaign in 2022 where he garnered SEC All-Freshman Team honors, also earning Freshman All-America recognition by The Athletic, ESPN and Football Writers Association of America. Stewart was eighth in the SEC and led all league freshmen averaging 64.9 receiving yards per game, while also ranking top 10 overall in the conference and leading the Aggies with 53 receptions a season ago. He earned Top Offensive Newcomer honors at the annual team banquet.

Nik Constantinou (P)

Constantinou enters his fourth season as the Aggies’ primary punter and has appeared in 34 games through three seasons. The graduate student was named to the Coaches’ All-SEC Second Team in 2022 after pinning 23 punts inside the 20, while averaging 41.7 yards per boot. The Melbourne, Australia, native sailed seven punts 50-plus yards.

Layden Robinson (OG)

Robinson has solidified his starting spot at right guard after starting all 12 games in the position in 2022 and making 10 starts as a sophomore in 2021. The Manvel, Texas, product helped clear the way for 1,000-yard rusher De’Von Achane, including a 215-yard game in the upset win over No. 6 LSU. Robinson is one of two returning Aggie offensive lineman to have started each game a season ago.