ATLANTA -- Georgia's best-in-the South offense gained added recognition Monday.
The third-ranked Bulldogs, averaging 434 yards and 30.8 points per game while posting a 9-1 mark and winning at least a share of the league championship for the second straight year, captured three of the four available slots in the offensive backfield of the United Press International 1981 All-Southeastern Conference football team.
That backfield included sophomore running sensation Herschel Walker, the SEC rushing (1,666) and scoring (96 points on 16 touchdowns) leader, senior quarterback Buck Belue and senior flanker Lindsay Scott - all from Georgia -- along with junior running back James Jones of Florida.
In another tribute to that Georgia offense, Bulldogs' freshman Kevin Butler, second only to Walker in league scoring with 80 points on 16 of 23 field goals and 31 of 32 conversions, was named the All-SEC placekicker.
Alabama, Georgia and Mississippi State -- good enough to post a 15-1 record against the other seven teams in the league -- totally dominated this year's all-SEC team, making off with 16 of the 24 available positions.
Media balloting in the seven-state area gave fourth-ranked Alabama (8-1-1) six spots and Georgia and Mississippi State (7-4) each five. Vanderbilt (4-6), despite having won only one conference game, had three all-SEC performers, Auburn (5-5) and Florida (6-4) two each and Tennessee (6-4) one.
Kentucky (3-8), LSU (3-6-1) and Ole Miss (4-6-1) failed to show.
Cotton Bowl-bound Alabama, favored to beat Auburn Saturday and tie Georgia for a share of its ninth SEC championship in 11 years, had four defensive all-stars -- middle guard Warren Lyles, linebacker Thomas Boyd and backs Tommy Wilcox and Jim Bob Harris -- and two offensive all-stars - tight end Barry Krout and tackle Bob Cayavec. Cayavec and Wilcox are juniors, the other four seniors.
Mississippi State, which will be playing in the Hall of Fame Bowl, also had four defensive all-stars -- linemen Billy Jackson and Glen Collins, linebacker Johnie Cooks and back Rob Fesmire -- as well as offensive guard Wayne Harris. Jackson is only a sophomore, Harris a junior.
In addition to its four offensive stars, Georgia, which will meet top-ranked Pitt in the Sugar Bowl in attempt to repeat as national champion, was represented by senior lineman Eddie Weaver on the defensive unit.
Vanderbilt players voted on the team were senior wide receiver Wamon Buggs, senior offensive lineman Ken Hammond and junior punter Jim Arnold. From Auburn, there's offensive lineman Keith Uecker and linebacker Danny Skutack, both seniors; from Florida, which will go to the Peach Bowl if it beats Florida State Saturday, Jones and senior defensive lineman David Galloway; and from Tennessee, which is going to the Garden State Bowl, senior center Lee North.
A half dozen members of this year's team are repeaters from 1980 - Walker and North on offense, Cooks, Boyd, Jim Bob Harris and Arnold on defense. Boyd and Harris were also on the 1979 all-SEC team.
There were three non-seniors on the 1980 all-SEC team who failed to repeat -- tight end Chris Faulkner of Florida, quarterback John Fourcade of Ole Miss, and defensive lineman Jimmy Payne of Georgia. Payne, a junior, came closest of the three to making the 1981 team.
Walker, a 222-pound speedster who was All-America last year when he broke Tony Dorsett's NCAA freshman rushing record by gaining 1,616 yards despite missing most of two games because of a sprained ankle, appears certain of setting the SEC single-season record this year and is expected to become the league's career leader by the middle of the 1982 season.
He needs only 21 yards in Georgia's Dec. 5 nationally televised finale at Georgia Tech to break the present SEC record (1,686) set by Charles Alexander of LSU in 1977. With 3,282 yards in 21 games, the Georgia star is fifth on the SEC career rushing list, only 753 yards behind the record Alexander took four seasons (1975-76-77-78) to set.
Belue, one of 16 seniors on the all-star team, was second to Fourcade in last year's balloting when the Ole Miss quarterback led the SEC in total offense for the second straight year. This year Belue leads all college quarterbacks in the South in passing efficiency, having completed 103 of 171 for 1,383 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Jones, a 234-pound junior, barely edged out junior Michael Haddix of Mississippi State for the other running back post. Jones is second to Walker in touchdowns in the SEC with nine. Although he and Haddix are running 2-3 in SEC rushing, both have barely a third as much yardage as Walker.
Buggs leads the SEC in pass receptions this fall while Scott earned his all-star slot on his big-play reputation.