2015 College Football Preview: The SEC
University of Alabama Crimson Tide
Nick Saban's Alabama has to reload their offense. They lost The single-season passing record holder, Blake Sims, the receivers Amari Cooper, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones, and the school’s fourth all-time leading rusher, T.J. Yeldon. They also lost three of the five starting linemen. Luckily for them, Alabama recruits very well and have plenty of candidates to fill those positions. Quarterback Jake Coker is the most likely starter, but redshirt freshman David Cornwell looks to make an impact. Receivers Chris Black and Robert Foster will give him plenty of targets and the running game will be helped by Derrick Henry. Kenyan Drake returns from his broken leg suffered last year. Inside linebacker Reggie Ragland, who had 95 tackles last season decided to return for his final year. The secondary loses their starting safeties Landon Collins and Nick Perry.
University of Auburn Tigers
Auburn is also having to replace six starters on offense. Departing quarterback Nick Marshall will be replaced by his backup Jeremy Johnson. D’haquille Williams Who had 45 catches, 730 yards, and five touchdowns is returning for the receiving team. Former Florida head coach and Fred Flintsone look alike Will Muschamp arrives as defensive coordinator. Carl Lawson returns from a torn ACL that cost him last season. The top three tacklers from 2014: safety Johnathan Ford, linebacker Cassanova McKinzy and linebacker Kris Frost all return as well as Jonathan Jones, who had six interceptions.
Louisiana State University Tigers
LSU coach Les Miles has yet to clarify who will start at quarterback: Anthony Jennings or Brandon Harris. Tailback Leonard Fournette is returning as well as Travin Dural, who had 37 receptions for 758 yards last season. New coordinator defensive coordinator Kevin Steele will most likely run a 3-4 base defense. Cornerback Tre’Davious White also returns.
University of Mississippi Rebels
Ole Miss replaces quarterback Bo Wallace with Chad Kelly. Although he's the nation’s No. 1 junior college quarterback, he was dismissed from Clemson last spring and was later arrested after a bar fight. Ryan Buchanan and DeVante Kincade are also potential signal callers. All five starters return on the offensive line and wide receiver Laquon Treadwell returns from injury. Robert Nkemdiche returns at defensive tackle. Defensive coordinator Dave Wommack shuffled the secondary around, moving returning starter Mike Hilton to safety and will start Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard at corner.
Mississippi State University Bulldogs
Mississippi State has only seven returning starters but one of them is Dak Prescott, who set a dozen single-season records last season. They have to replace Josh Robinson who ran for 1,203 yards. Receiver De’Runnya Wilson returns. He caught 47 passes for 680 yards. The team will have new starters at tackle, guard and center. The defense loses three starters on the line and hey also allowed the most passing yards in the conference last year. Unfortunately they lost three starters from the secondary, including both safeties.
Texas A&M University Aggies
Texas A&M coach Kevin Sumlin hired LSU defensive coordinator John Chavis for a team that allowed 27 sacks last year. Quarterback Kyle Allen had a good showing at the end of the season.
University of Georgia Bulldogs
Last season Georgia's Nick Chubb rushed for 1,547 yards as a true freshman, also backing up Todd Gurley. He's back, as well as Sony Michel and Keith Marshall. Four starters are back from the offensive line, but the quarterback position has still not been determined. Both outside linebackers Leonard Floyd and Jordan Jenkins decided to return for one more year.
University of Florida Gators
Florida replaced the aforementioned Will Muschamp with Colorado State coach Jim McElwain. He has to make a decision between quarterbacks Will Grier and Treon Harris. Last year their offensive line was riddled with injuries. Linebackers Antonio Morrison and Jarrad Davis continue to recover from knee injuries sustained late last season. However their secondary retains four starters.
University of Missouri Tigers
Missouri's quarterback Maty Mauk returns, but lost all three starters at receiver. Last year, Russell Hansbrough rushed for 1,084 yards and 10 touchdowns. Although the defensive line is inexperienced, the linebackers look strong and three experienced cornerbacks and senior safety Ian Simon returns.
University of South Carolina Gamecocks
South Carolina's coach Steve Spurrier needs to find a quarterback to replace Dylan Thompson, who set the school’s single-season passing record last year with 3,564 yards. Brandon Wilds and David Williams will do the heavy lifting in the backfield after Mike Davis’ departure for the draft. The offensive line must also replace A.J. Cann. Defensive coordinator Jon Hoke, who coordinated defense for Spurrier at Florida and spent the last thirteen years in the NFL as a defensive backs coach will switch to a base 4-3 for defense and they have recruited seven defensive linemen.
University of Tennessee Volunteers
Tennessee is in their third year under coach Butch Jones. He'll have the return of quarterback Joshua Dobbs. Also returning is Marquez North from a shoulder injury. Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara look to take on the running game for the Volunteers. Back for the defensive are Derek Barnett and Curt Maggitt, who combined for 21 sacks last season. The Volunteer's secondary also looks strong.
If Alabama is able to reload their offensive, then they will be the team to beat in the SEC. Unless another team steps up, look for them to play Georgia for the championship, providing that Georgia can stay healthy.