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2011 SEC Preview - Unit Rankings
Tennessee RB Tauren Poole
Tennessee RB Tauren Poole
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 10, 2011


2011 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - SEC Unit Rankings


Preview 2011

SEC Unit Rankings


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EAST
- 2011 Florida Preview | 2011 Georgia Preview
- 2011 Kentucky Preview | 2011 South Carolina Preview
- 2011 Tennessee Preview | 2011 Vanderbilt Preview

WEST  
- 2011 Alabama Preview | 2011 Arkansas Preview
- 2011 Auburn Preview | 2011 LSU Preview
- 2011 Ole Miss Preview | 2011 Mississippi State Preview
   
- 2011 SEC Preview | 2011 SEC Unit Rankings
- 2011 SEC Schedules & Picks | 2011 SEC Thoughts
- 2011 CFN All-SEC Team & Top 30 Players 
- 2011 SEC East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2011 SEC West Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2010 SEC Preview

SEC East Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. South Carolina
2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Tennessee
5. Kentucky
6. Vanderbilt

SEC West Overall

Based on how good each team is and NOT the predicted finish

1. Alabama
2. LSU
3. Arkansas
4. Auburn
5. Mississippi State
6. Ole Miss

Offenses

1. Arkansas
The offense was devastating last season finishing ninth in the nation in total yards, fourth in passing and 17th in scoring. Even with the early departure of Ryan Mallett to the NFL, the offense could be even stronger if the line can come together right away. The Hogs had the same starting five up front for all 13 games, and now they have to replace three players and have to deal with some major position battles to find the right combination. Tyler Wilson is more than ready to be the star of the passing show, and he should be brilliant if he gets time. An argument could be made that the stable of running backs, led by Knile Davis, is the deepest (and possibly the biggest) in America, and if the receiving corps isn’t college football’s best, it’s in the team photo.

2. Alabama
3. South Carolina
4. LSU
5. Florida
6. Auburn
7. Tennessee
8. Ole Miss
9. Mississippi State
10. Georgia
11. Kentucky
12. Vanderbilt

Quarterbacks

1. Georgia
Aaron Murray should be an All-SEC performer, partly because he’s that good and partly because there aren’t any other obvious choices going into the year. Christian LeMay is a big-time talent who’ll soon be the franchise, and Hutson Mason is good enough to start if needed.

2. Arkansas
3. South Carolina
4. Florida
5. Mississippi State
6. Tennessee
7. Alabama
8. Auburn
9. LSU
10. Ole Miss
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky

Running Backs

1. Auburn
If Michael Dyer and Onterio McCalebb can both stay healthy, they should put up big numbers, but they have to prove they can do it for a full season and with everyone keying on them. The spotlight is on, and they have a lot of production to fill with the loss of Cam Newton. They’ll be great, Tre Mason will play his role, and the Tigers should be among the SEC’s leaders in rushing.

2. Alabama
3. Arkansas
4. South Carolina
5. LSU
6. Florida
7. Mississippi State
8. Ole Miss
9. Vanderbilt
10. Tennessee
11. Georgia
12. Kentucky

Receivers

1. Arkansas
The Hogs have a world of talent, several options, and all the tools across the board to be a destructive force. You know you’re phenomenal when a Cobi Hamilton or a Jarius Wright might be a backup or Greg Childs could be a No. 4 as he’s trying to get back to 100%. If Chris Gragg can be a 35-to-40 catch tight end, the passing game will be truly unstoppable. There might not be a sure-thing No. 1 NFL target in the group, but together, this group is loaded with speed, size, and enough good players to take turns burning opposing secondaries. Who’s going to be the star this week? Spin the wheel and you’ll have a good shot of getting the right guy.

2. LSU
3. South Carolina
4. Alabama
5. Tennessee
6. Florida
7. Auburn
8. Mississippi State
9. Kentucky
10. Georgia
11. Ole Miss
12. Vanderbilt

Offensive Lines

1. Ole Miss
Years of fantastic recruiting for the offensive front from the former coaching staff paid off last year, and now the results should be special. Partly because the offense didn’t throw on a regular basis and partly because Jeremiah Masoli was mobile, but the pass protection was strong and the front five paved the way for a great year from the ground game. With most of the key parts returning, there’s reason to be excited. Bradley Sowell and Bobby Massie are terrific tackles to work around, and the interior isn’t anything to blow off. With bulk, experience, and talent, expect a special year for the team’s biggest strength.

2. Kentucky
3. Alabama
4. LSU
5. Tennessee
6. Georgia
7. Florida
8. Auburn
9. Mississippi State
10. South Carolina
11. Vanderbilt
12. Arkansas

Defenses

1. Alabama
The 2010 Alabama defense lost the Butkus Award winner (Rolando McClain), three NFL-caliber defensive backs, a mountain of a nose tackle in Terrence Cody, and only returned three starters. How massive was the drop-off after finishing second in the nation in total defense and scoring defense? The Tide finished last year fifth in the country in yards allowed and third in scoring defense. Granted, the consistency wasn’t always there, but whatever … the production was outstanding. The talent level is off the charts, especially in the defensive back seven where Dont’a Hightower might be the nation’s best linebacker if it’s not his running mate, C.J. Mosley. The secondary has an embarrassment of riches led by safety Mark Barron and corner Dre Kirkpatrick, who should both be in the NFL right now, along with at least four other Tide defensive backs. The front three doesn’t have a Marcell Dareus, but it’s big, tough, and won’t be moved, while Courtney Upshaw will be the pass rusher in a hybrid JACK position. In all, eight starters are back on Kirby Smart’s D, and it’ll be a stunner if it doesn’t finish among the top five in the country again, if not No. 1 overall.

2. Georgia
3. LSU
4. South Carolina
5. Florida
6. Arkansas
7. Kentucky
8. Auburn
9. Mississippi State
10. Tennessee
11. Ole Miss
12. Vanderbilt

Defensive Lines

1. South Carolina
The defensive front was terrific last year at getting to the quarterback helping the team finish seventh in the nation, and first in the SEC, in sacks with a school-record 41. With a good blend of talented veterans and bright new stars, the line should be a terror in the backfield yet again. At this point, the USC line reloads in a hurry, and it did so with flair with the latest recruiting class. The line was very talented last year, but it was very young. It grew up in a hurry and was among the best in the nation at getting into the backfield, and it should be even stronger and more dangerous with Jadeveon Clowney entering the picture. Consider it a major disappointment if this group doesn’t help USC finish in the top ten in sacks and top 15 in tackles for loss, but the key will be if the tackles hold up. The line was great against the run last year, and it should be more than fine again.

2. Florida
3. Georgia
4. Alabama
5. LSU
6. Arkansas
7. Auburn
8. Ole Miss
9. Mississippi State
10. Tennessee
11. Vanderbilt
12. Kentucky

Linebackers

1. Alabama
Last year the line had to replace Butkus Award winner Rolando McClain, but there wasn’t even a little bit of a drop-off in overall production. Two starters return, the backups have superstar potential, and there are more than enough options to play around with. Even though a few of the pieces of last year’s puzzle are gone, like Chavis Williams and DeQuan Menzie, the corps should be terrific. Dont’a Hightower and C.J. Mosley belong on NFL fields right now, and Courtney Upshaw has to potential to be a less-athletic Von Miller who’ll be turned loose once again. Throw in the upside of players like Trey DePriest and Adrian Hubbard, and the Tide linebackers are stunningly deep and very, very good.

2. South Carolina
3. Kentucky
4. LSU
5. Georgia
6. Florida
7. Arkansas
8. Ole Miss
9. Mississippi State
10. Vanderbilt
11. Auburn
12. Tennessee

Secondaries

1. Alabama
The 2010 Bama secondary lost three starters to the NFL and didn’t get nearly the help from the pass rush that the 2009 defensive backs enjoyed, and the production was still terrific finishing 13th in the nation in pass defense and sixth in pass efficiency D. The inside word was that last year’s defensive backfield was even more talented than the national title version, and now that talent should combine with experience to be phenomenal. Good luck throwing on this group. Dre Kirkpatrick and Mark Barron should be on several All-America short lists, while Robert Lester is a conference all-star and DeQuan Menzie and Dee Milliner would be just about anyone else’s No. 1 corner to work a defensive backfield around. It’ll be a stunner if the Tide doesn’t finish in the top ten in America in pass defense.

2. LSU
3. Georgia
4. Kentucky
5. Florida
6. Mississippi State
7. Vanderbilt
8. Arkansas
9. Auburn
10. South Carolina
11. Tennessee
12. Ole Miss

Special Teams

1. Georgia
After improving the coverage teams in a big way, the special teams became dominant last year. The kicking game will be phenomenal again and the return game will be explosive. It’ll be a shocker if the Dawgs don’t have the best special teams in the SEC, if not the country. There are kicking tandems out there with as much experience, but punter Drew Butler and placekicker Blair Walsh were the best 1-2 punch last year and they will be again. Georgia has a huge advantage here.

2. Ole Miss
3. Vanderbilt
4. Alabama
5. LSU
6. Arkansas
7. Florida
8. Mississippi State
9. Auburn
10. Tennessee
11. Kentucky
12. South Carolina

- Be Somebody ...  Blog About SEC Football
- Suggestions or something we missed? Let us know
- Follow us ... http://twitter.com/ColFootballNews

EAST
- 2011 Florida Preview | 2011 Georgia Preview
- 2011 Kentucky Preview | 2011 South Carolina Preview
- 2011 Tennessee Preview | 2011 Vanderbilt Preview

WEST  
- 2011 Alabama Preview | 2011 Arkansas Preview
- 2011 Auburn Preview | 2011 LSU Preview
- 2011 Ole Miss Preview | 2011 Mississippi State Preview
   
- 2011 SEC Preview | 2011 SEC Unit Rankings
- 2011 SEC Schedules & Picks | 2011 SEC Thoughts
- 2011 CFN All-SEC Team & Top 30 Players 
- 2011 SEC East Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2011 SEC West Team By Team Looks & Predicted Finish 
- 2010 SEC Preview