1. Ole Miss
I don't understand why Hog fans think that the Ole Miss game is a "toss-up" when the Rebels last two recruiting classes have been ranked 5th and 17th respectively (aka I think Ole Miss wins by two touchdowns). They return All-American safety Cody Prewitt and freshman All-American Tony Conner. Additionally, four-star recruit C.J. Hampton will join them in the rotation adding talent depth.
The thing about LSU is if someone gets hurt, they have a five-star to throw out there as a replacement. Would they be inexperienced, yes, but I've seen enough two-star seniors to know I rather have a five-star freshman.
Vernon Hargreaves III has an argument as the best corner in the conference, but they did lose some folks to the NFL draft.
While being slim at corner, their ranking here is based on bias and always having a solid secondary. I expect nothing less this season.
5. Mississippi State
Just like every other position preview I've done for the Bulldogs, they return a ton of experience and will be a solid unit.
So this unit was pretty bad last year, but I think a second year under defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson is going to do them wonders. Also, juco transfer Derrick Moncrief could play immediately, or at the worst, add solid depth.
A lot of new faces on the field and the sideline for the Bulldog defense. Jeremy Pruitt is the new defensive coordinator and the Dawgs lost a couple of key guys from last season.
Where Georgia starts over fresh, Tennessee returns everyone from a unit that gave up 283 passing yards a game last season. I don't know which is worse, having to start over, or returning a crappy unit.
9. South Carolina
Potentially, they could play two freshman in the secondary this year. Granted they are talented freshman, but freshman nonetheless.
They return one solid starter, and have a recruiting class that has seven defensive backs. Do with that what you will.
All of their starters return on this unit, but they're still, ya know, Kentucky.
Will this unit be better? Yes. But, it's a new defensive coordinator and a new defensive backs coach. A lot of these guys are on their 3rd or 4th defensive coordinator at this point. Tevin Mitchell hasn't done anything since his freshman year for one reason or another. God bless Alan Turner, who had to be more of linebacker last year by making tackles that everyone in front of him failed to make. I think the fact this year that they aren't going to play 15 yards off each receiver will automatically make this unit better, but we could see them give up even more big plays.
13. Texas A&M
Kevin Sumlin has never had great defenses and they return a group that was absolutely terrible last year. With Sumlin's lack of track record in improving defenses, I don't think they get any better.
I don't think they have the depth to lose all four starters and be any good the next season.
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