The Bulldogs return all of their starters from last season, including guys who had over 100 tackles last season. I can't deny that type of returning production.
Of course, this group probably has the most raw talent. But, Trey DePriest has some big shoes to fill after the departure of C.J. Mosley.
They lose last year's leading tackler, but return a lot of production in D.J. Welter and Kwon Alexander. As always, LSU has some raw talent in their backups.
4. Mississippi State
Because it is Mississippi State, they don't have the raw talent some other teams in the conference have. However, they return three of their top four linebackers from last season and Benardrick McKinney is an underrated talent that is flying under a lot of radars.
Injuries plagued their linebacking core last season, which means a lot of freshman received some quality playing time. The good news is those guys are back to being back ups. If health wasn't such an issue with some of these guys, they could have been 3rd on my ballot.
6. South Carolina
Everyone around the program says that this should be a breakout season for Skai Moore. THey return everyone from a squad that transition from a liability to a strength last season.
7. Ole Miss
Former no star recruit Denzel Nkemdiche returns with Serderius Bryant as a very solid one-two combo. I mention Nkemdiche's recruiting rankings because it is always cool to see a guy fly under the radar and become somebody.
This wasn't the strongest position for the Tigers last season, but that didn't stop them from winning the SEC. Everyone but Jake Holland returns, so I assume they will have grown as a unit from last season.
The more I write these rankings, the more I think Tennessee might not win a conference game. A.J. Johnson is a really solid returning middle linebacker, but they are question marks everywhere else. Literally, I wouldn't surprised if they started a question mark at outside linebacker this season.
I really like Brooks Ellis and what he showed as a freshman. Otha Peters and Martrell Spaight have received a lot of off-season hype, but they have gotten a lot of hype their whole careers at Arkansas and have yet to live up to it. Braylon Mitchell will also be a solid contributor this season.
It will be interesting to see how they transition to a 3-4 scheme, which actually helps their linebacking core because Caleb Azubike and Kyle Woestmann will move from end to outside linebacker.
They replace two starters and their best linebacker will likely be redshirt sophomore Andrew Wilson.
Another team that lost their leading tackler from last season, which wasn't a strong unit anyways.
14. Texas A&M
This defense could give up 50 points a game in conference play..
- Scotty Thurman to be Color Analyst For Arkansas Basketball Radio Broadcasts
- Arkansas Just Misses Inclusion In Now-Meaningless USA Today Coaches Poll
- Arkansas Football: Cleanest Program in the SEC?
- Bielema: If We Played Tomorrow and Brandon Allen Got Hurt, AJ Derby Would Be The Guy
- Watch Dennis Johnson Survive Nearly Lethal Jadeveon Clowney Hit In Texans Practice