As the SEC boasts the nation’s best defensively, below is an in depth look at the conference’s top five.
No. 1 Alabama
No surprise here. Where do we start with the Crimson Tide? At virtually any position, Alabama is loaded. Along the front, defensive tackle Raekwon Davis and linebackers Anfernee Jennings, Terrell Lewis and Dylan Moses will jump off the screen all season.
But it is Bama’s defensive backfield that is the most dangerous group. Whether it be Trevon Diggs, Shyheim Carter, Xavier McKinney, or Patrick Surtain Jr., these four are lethal weapons and will be a challenge for any offense.
While Diggs, Carter, and McKinney are all upperclassmen and NFL prospects, it is Surtain that has a chance for a breakout season. Having the three mentioned above as mentors, Surtain will be in good shape. Though demoralized by Clemson quarterback phenom Trevor Lawrence in last year’s National Championship Game, expect these four to come out with a heavy chip on their shoulder.
No. 2 LSU
Coined “DBU”, LSU is the ideal destination for defensive backs and the star of the show is safety Grant Delpit. He is a ballhawk with unrivaled speed and athleticism. Delpit can be a force in both the passing and running game, as he is a gambler who gets after the quarterback.
With the departure of linebacker Devin White, Delpit is the Tigers’ new leader. Furthermore, he can be deemed the face of the SEC. Expect another huge season from Delpit.
No. 3 Mississippi State
Three names come to mind as it pertains to the Bulldogs’ defense, as Cameron Dantzler, Willie Gay Jr. and Erroll Thompson head into this season with much to prove. The trio will have its hands full. That said, Dantzler, Gay Jr., and Thompson have plenty of experience and are all capable leaders.
While Gay Jr. and Thompson, both linebackers, are a tandem, Dantzler must step up and become the face of the secondary. Look for Dantzler to put forth his best year and fill the stat line.
No. 4 Auburn
Auburn boasts two star linemen in Derrick Brown and Nick Coe. Both stand over six feet, with Brown over 300 pounds. The two will wreck havoc and be a problem, not just in the SEC, but perhaps beyond.
Additionally, Brown and Coe are versatile. Though they may not have the speed, their ability to drop back and adjust to multiple schemes at their position is second to none.
No. 5 Florida
Like Delpit with LSU, Florida has a superstar defensive back of its own in CJ Henderson. Henderson is a lockdown corner and fearless in one on one matchups. Also an NFL prospect, Henderson is a true leader and has plenty of experience to shine come fall.
He can keep up with any wideout and has the athleticism to leap for any ball. Look for Henderson to take more risks. He is a pest for the opposition and should have his way when all is said and done.
Overall, the Bulldogs should make plenty of noise defensively throughout year two of the Moorhead era.