The Texas A&M football team recently received Preseason All-SEC recognition, with five players being awarded for their exceptional performance. The players were selected based on the results of a poll conducted by the media at SEC Football Media Days. Ainias Smith led the pack, being named a first-team all-purpose player, second-team return specialist, and third-team wide receiver. Nik Constantinou, McKinnley Jackson, and Demani Richardson were each named to the second team at their primary positions, while Layden Robinson earned third team distinctions.
Smith is an incredibly versatile player who is an asset for the Aggies on both offense and special teams. He has caught a pass in 27 games in a row, dating back to the 2019 LSU game. Smith has scored multiple times in a game seven times throughout his career. Unfortunately, he was forced to sit out most of the 2022 season due to a season-ending injury. Despite this setback, Smith still managed to finish the season with 291 receiving yards and two touchdowns, averaging an impressive 19.4 yards per catch. In addition, he led the team with 47 catches and six touchdown grabs, ranking as one of the nation's top punt returners with 23 punt returns and a 21.6 yard-per-return average. Smith's hometown is Missouri City, Texas.
In the 2022 football season, Jackson served as the team captain, starting in seven out of eight games he participated in. He displayed his defensive prowess by accumulating 37 tackles, ranking second on the team with 7.0 tackles for loss, and securing a pair of sacks. During the game against Ole Miss, Jackson reached a significant milestone in his career as he recorded 12 takedowns, 1.5 tackles for loss, and 1.0 sack for a 9-yard loss. As a result of his outstanding performance, he earned the Aggie Defense Leadership and Defensive MVP awards at the team's banquet.
Richardson was also named team captain in the previous season and has been a starting player in the secondary for five seasons. He has missed only one start in the 44 games he has played. Richardson's impressive record includes leading the Aggies in total tackles with 73 in 2022 and ranked 11th in the SEC with 48 solo takedowns. He also secured five pass breakups on the year, and his performance earned him two SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors. Richardson scored defensive touchdowns in the wins over No. 10 Arkansas and No. 6 LSU. Constantinou has been the primary punter for the Aggies for four seasons, appearing in 34 games over three years. He was named to the Coaches' All-SEC Second Team in 2022 after pinning 23 punts inside the 20, averaging 41.7 yards per boot. Constantinou, a graduate student from Melbourne, Australia, launched seven punts 50-plus yards.
Robinson has been a solid starter for the Aggies, serving as the right guard for all 12 games in 2022 and making 10 starts as a sophomore in 2021. Robinson's outstanding performance helped clear the way for 1,000-yard rusher Devon 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 in the previous season.