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2009 SEC Preview - Unit Rankings
Auburn WR/RB Mario Fannin
Auburn WR/RB Mario Fannin
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Aug 4, 2009


2009 CollegeFootballNews.com Preview - SEC Unit Rankings

2009 CFN SEC Preview

Unit Rankings

Team Previews & Predictions
East
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Florida | Georgia |
Kentucky | South Carolina | Tennessee | Vanderbilt

West
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Alabama | Arkansas | Auburn | LSU | Ole Miss | Miss State

- 2009 CFN SEC Preview
- SEC Team-by-Team Capsules

- CFN All-SEC Team & Top 30 Players
-
SEC Unit Rankings
- SEC Schedules & Predictions

- 2008 CFN SEC Preview

Offenses

1. Florida
The offense will be missing the sure-thing receiving stars with Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy gone, but there's speed to burn at running back, the line should grow into something terrific, and the quarterback situation is special. Tim Tebow makes everyone around him better, while John Brantley is a strong backup who'll be a superstar next year. New offensive coordinator Steve Addazio will use a little I-formation to go along with the normal spread attack, but no matter what the scheme, the offense will be balanced after running for 231 yards per game and throwing for 214. The offense finished fourth in the country in scoring and 15th in total yards, and while it won't be quite as good with the shake-up at receiver, it'll still be one of the nation's most efficient attacks thanks to Tebow. He'll try to be used more as a pro-style passer, but when push comes to shove, he'll use his running skills to do some pushing and shoving.

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

Quarterbacks

1. Florida
Tim Tebow will be the front-runner for the Heisman, John Brantley is a superstar waiting to bust out, and the passing game should be special even with some new starters at receiver. On the way is Jordan Reed, a 6-3, 225-pound dual-threat player with great mobility for his size and a phenomenal arm. New quarterback coach Scott Loeffler will try to tweak things to get even more out the air attack, but there's no need to mess with what has worked so well.

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

Running Backs

1. Georgia
The running game will be relied on more now that Matthew Stafford is gone, and Georgia has more than enough backs to handle the work even without Knowshon Moreno. If Caleb King isn't getting the job done, then Richard Samuel will step in. If Samuel is having problems, then Carlton Thomas, Dontavius Thomas, or Washaun Ealey will step in. The backfield is loaded and will blow up behind the great Bulldog O line.

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

Receivers

1. LSU
Having a tight end like Richard Dickson is a huge plus and there's more than enough speed and quickness to keep defensive backs on their heels, but it's Brandon LaFell that makes this group. It's LSU, so there's a track team in the receiving corps, and with the expected improved play from the quarterbacks, this should be a better, more consistent group.

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

Offensive Line

1. Georgia
If everyone is healthy, this might be the nation's best offensive line and it might not even be close. Assuming Trinton Studivant is back to being the 2007 version at left tackle, everything else will fall into place with depth, versatility, and a whole bunch of big-time talent. The line only allowed 17 sacks and paved the way for 148 yards per game, and now it should be even better with eight players returning with starting experience. The rest of the offense will look a whole bunch better because of this group. And here's the scary part; Vince Vance is the only senior on the three-deep.

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

Defenses

1. Florida
The defense had to all but start from scratch two years ago with nine new starters thrown into the fire. After a fantastic year when everyone seemed to grow up at once, this should be a brick wall of a D with 11 starters back, all the top reserves returning, and enough overall talent to keep the NFL stocked for years. The stars are at linebacker where Brandon Spikes should be off to the big league with tens of millions in his back account. The ends, Jermaine Cunningham and Carlos Dunlap, will be ten-year NFL starters while the tackles should have a tremendous rotation. Corner Joe Haden makes a ton of tackles and can lock down on any receiver, while the safeties are ball-hawkers who make every play possible. The overall stats might not be quite as good as last year, mainly because teams will put up garbage-time numbers in blowouts, but the defense will be better.

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

Defensive Line


1. Ole Miss
The call went out to start getting into the backfield more, and Ole Miss answered in a huge way. New defensive line coach Terry Price has a loaded front four with depth, athleticism, options, and next level talent, like ends Greg Hardy, Kentrell Lockett, and Marcus Tillman to play around with. Only injuries and bone-headedness off the field could keep this group from being fantastic.

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

Linebackers

1. Florida
This group could do more to get into the backfield, and they could stand to make a few most big plays against the pass, but that's trying to come up with a negative. If this isn't the nation's best linebacking corps, it's a close No. 2 with Brandon Spikes the favorite for the Butkus Award and A.J. Jones and Ryan Stamper productive veterans who should be terrific. The second team would start at most places.

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

Defensive Backs

1. Florida
The secondary took its lumps in a big way two years ago getting ripped apart by just about everyone who could throw a forward pass. Last year, Florida was third in the nation in pass efficiency defense and gave up 180 yards per game mostly because teams had to bomb away to try to keep up the pace. This year's secondary is loaded and should be among the strongest in America, if not the best, with a great safety tandem in Ahmad Black and Major Wright along with shutdown corner Joe Haden.

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

Special Teams

1. Florida
Jonathan Phillips nailed 12-of-13 field goals, Chas Henry averaged 43.4 yards per punt, Brandon James averaged 13.8 yards per punt return and 23.1 yards per kickoff return, and the punt coverage team allowed 5.6 yards per try. Everyone's back, meaning it'll be a stunner if the Gators don't have the SEC's best special teams.

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