Credit to Rachel Perreault | Director, Athletics Communications – 12thman.com
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Texas A&M football’s Ainias Smith, Edgerrin Cooper, Layden Robinson and Shemar Turner earned All-SEC accolades as the league office announced post season awards Tuesday afternoon. Smith led the way for the Aggies with a pair of first-team honors, being recognized for his success as an all-purpose player and return specialist, while Copper was named a first-team linebacker. Robinson and Turner added second-team accolades at their primary positions.
Smith totaled 1,204 all-purpose yards, 285 punt return yards and 103 kick return yards to earn first-team recognition. The do-it-all Aggie led the receiving corps with 53 catches for 795 yards and two touchdowns. Each week Smith showcased himself as a threat in the aerial attack, recording five games with 75-plus receiving yards, including two games with 100-plus yards receiving in the wins over ULM (127) and South Carolina (118). He averaged 66.3 yards receiving per game and 15.0 yards per catch, both good for top-12 in the SEC. His return abilities were on full display in the win over Arkansas when he ran back a punt for 82 yards to the house to extend the fourth quarter Aggie lead before totaling a career high 131 punt return yards and 202 all-purpose yards. His 14.3 yards per punt return average was good for eighth nationally, while he also averaged 14.7 yards per kick return. The Missouri City, Texas, native has totaled 4,008 all-purpose yards in his career, including 2,407 yards receiving yards, 836 punt return yards, 405 yards rushing and 360 kick return yards, making him the only 2,000-plus yard receiver in SEC history to rack up at least 250 career yards as a rusher, punter returner and kick returner.
Cooper was an unstoppable force in his junior season, helping the Aggies rank seventh among Power 5 teams in total defense (295.0 y/g), while also boasting top-three season totals in tackles for loss (96.0) and sacks (42.0) as a team. The linebacker led the SEC and ranked fifth among Power 5 players with 17.0 tackles for loss on the year. Cooper’s team-best 84 total tackles and 8.0 sacks ranked sixth and fourth in the SEC, respectively. The Covington, Louisiana, native tallied at least six takedowns in nine of the team’s 12 games this season, matching his career high with 11 tackles against Alabama and Mississippi State. He had at least 1.0 TFL in seven of the eight SEC games, including 8.0 tackles for loss and 6.0 sacks through the first three league games of the season.
Robinson started at right guard in all 11 games he appeared in this season and logged 31 consecutive starts on the line prior to missing the final game of the regular season. The Manvel, Texas, native helped the Aggie rushing attack tally over 200 yards in wins over Auburn (209), Arkansas (204) and Mississippi State (246). He helped protect the quarterback as a member of the offensive line that allowed 2.0 sacks or fewer in eight games. The offense recorded three 300-plus yard passing games with 40-plus passing attempts, while giving up only 1.0 sack as a group in two of the games, at Miami and at Ole Miss.
Turner started all 12 games of his junior season, helping A&M boast one of the best defensive lines in the country with his ability to play both inside and out. He ranked fifth among SEC defensive linemen with 6.0 sacks on the year and eighth with 10.5 tackles for loss. The DeSoto, Texas, native had at least 1.0 tackle for loss in eight games this year, including a career-high 2.5 TFLs in the win over Arkansas. He finished the regular season with 33 tackles, adding three QB hurries and a pair of blocked field goal attempts.