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Old 06-19-2014, 10:13 AM   #1
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Default ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

http://espn.go.com/blog/sec/post/_/i...gs-secondary-2

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1. Ole Miss: Talent and experience. Both are worth their weight in gold, and Ole Miss has loads of each. Weíre probably not giving anything away when we say that both Cody Prewitt and Tony Conner will make the list of the leagueís top 10 safeties later today. Prewitt led the league in interceptions last season, and Conner, a former four-star recruit, has barely scratched the surface on what he can do. Trae Elston and Senquez Golson, meanwhile, are potential impact players, along with Mike Hilton and Derrick Jones. If C.J. Hampton lives up to the hype, he could be a true freshman to keep an eye on.

2. Florida: The Gators have plenty of issues. Defensive back is not one of them, however. Despite losing Cody Riggs to transfer and Loucheiz Purifoy, Jaylen Watkins and Marcus Roberson to the NFL, Florida has plenty of talent remaining in the secondary. Only a sophomore, Vernon Hargreaves III is arguably the best corner in the SEC. If either Jalen Tabor or Duke Dawson emerges opposite him, youíre talking about a good one-two punch. And with three experienced safeties to lean on -- Jabari Gorman, Marcus Maye and Brian Poole -- coach Will Muschamp should like what he sees from the secondary as a whole.

3. LSU: Getting Jalen Mills to safety would have been huge. But with his status up in the air, LSU must move on. It's still DBU -- Defensive Back University -- and thankfully for coach Les Miles, heís got plenty more to work with. Ronald Martin has experience at safety, along with Corey Thompson, who missed the spring with an injury. At corner, LSU is in good shape with Tre'Davious White and Rashard Robinson in position to start, not to mention Jalen Collins, a former Freshman All-SEC choice in 2012. And since this is LSU and someone always emerges from nowhere, be sure to keep an eye on Jamal Adams. The former No. 2-rated safety in the ESPN 300 didn't enroll early but should have every chance to play as a true freshman. If Mills is able to return and some the young talent on LSU's roster develops as expected, the Tigers could have an argument for the top secondary in the league.

4. Alabama: Talent and experience. Alabama has one but not the other, and you can probably guess which. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Vinnie Sunseri and Deion Belue are all gone. That fourth spot in the secondary? It was never settled to begin with. Getting Landon Collins back at safety, however, is huge, as the former five-star prospect has All-SEC potential. But who starts opposite him is up in the air with Nick Perry coming off an injury, Jarrick Williams entrenched at nickel corner/star and Laurence "Hootie" Jones early in his development. At corner, Alabamaís hopes are pinned to two freshmen -- Tony Brown and Marlon Humphrey -- along with a slew of unproven prospects such as Maurice Smith, Jonathan Cook and Bradley Sylve.

5. Mississippi State: Dan Mullen loves his defense heading into this season, and considering what he has at defensive back itís easy to see why. The Bulldogs are in the enviable position of having five legitimate SEC-caliber players at both safety and cornerback. Jamerson Love and Taveze Calhoun are two rock-solid corners, and Will Redmond is a good third off the bench. Kendrick Market and Deontay Evans might start at safety today, but Jay Hughes is back from injury and Justin Cox could very well be the most talented of the bunch after transitioning from corner this spring.

6. Auburn: The Tigers secondary was atrocious for most of last season, surrendering 260.2 passing yards per game through Jan. 1 (No. 104 nationally). Really, it wasnít until the BCS title game that we saw some fight out of them. So was that first half against Florida State a mirage or a glimpse of the future? Defensive coordinator Ellis Johnson has to hope itís the latter. With Jonathon Mincy at corner, Jermaine Whitehead at safety and Robenson Therezie playing the star, heís got some experienced parts to build around. Meanwhile, juco transfer Derrick Moncrief has the look of an impact player at safety. If Joshua Holsey is back to 100 percent, Johnson will have a better deck of cards to play with than last season.

7. Georgia: The good news is that the two main culprits from last seasonís heartbreaking loss to Auburn -- Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons -- are gone. The bad news is that those same players were expected to start this season. Throw in the loss of Shaq Wiggins and youíre looking at Georgia, under new defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt, essentially starting over in the secondary. Itís not all bad, though. There might not be much depth at cornerback, but veteran Damian Swann is a good place to start. And the same can be said of safety, where Corey Moore and Quincy Mauger have some experience.

8. Tennessee: The Volunteers have one of the deeper secondaries in the SEC, returning all four starters, but itís a group that received its fair share of criticism last season after giving up 283 yards per game. Thereís still talent back there, though, with safety Brian Randolph and cornerback Cameron Sutton. In particular, Randolph led the team in interceptions (4) and finished second in tackles (75), and though he missed the majority of spring due to injury, heís expected back for fall camp. At cornerback, freshman Emmanuel Moseley arrived in January and could make a push for playing time after a strong spring.

9. South Carolina: You have to fear the unknown if youíre a Gamecocks fan. Brison Williams is a solid safety, but both of your starting corners from last season -- Victor Hampton and Jimmy Legree -- are gone, and the senior you expected to be starting by now, Kadetrix Marcus, is trailing sophomore Chaz Elder on the depth chart. Rico McWilliams, the corner with the most returning experience, isnít even a sure thing to start. A redshirt freshman, Ali Groves, is in line to start at the second cornerback spot, but keep an eye on two talented true freshmen who could play early: Wesley Green and Chris Lammons.

10. Texas A&M: The Aggies return plenty of experience in the secondary this season. That's good in the sense that they have a defensive backfield with a lot of SEC football under its belt but make no mistake, this unit has a lot of room for improvement. Cornerback Deshazor Everett is the best player of the group and could be headed for an all-conference season, while junior corner De'Vante Harris continues to grow as a player. The safeties -- Howard Matthews, Floyd Raven and Clay Honeycutt -- must show improvement this season after last year's performance. The nickel position is open and a number of candidates could step in, including sophomore Noel Ellis or junior Devonta Burns.

11. Missouri: Much of the attention has been paid to reloading on the defensive line after the departures of Kony Ealy and Michael Sam, but Missouri should be fine there. The real concern, however, is the secondary, as three of last yearís starters (E.J. Gaines, Randy Ponder and Matt White) are gone. Getting Braylon Webb back at safety is huge, but heíll need help. Ian Simon and Duron Singleton should vie for the second safety spot, and John Gibson and Aarion Penton are two of the more experienced options at corner. The wild card in all of this, though, is an incoming class that featured seven defensive backs.

12. Kentucky: With two of the better pass rushers in the league, one would think that Kentucky could force the opposing quarterback into throwing some interceptions. That didnít happen last season. The Wildcats were dead last in the SEC with just three interceptions. Mark Stoops and his staff are hoping to turn that around this season, and they have plenty of capable bodies to work with on the back end. All four starters are back, five if you include nickel back Blake McClain -- who was third on the team in tackles as a freshman -- and junior college transfer A.J. Stamps might be the most talented defensive back on the roster.

13. Arkansas: Depth is going to be a concern for new secondary coach Clay Jennings, who is stressing turnovers this spring after the Razorbacks came in dead last in that category in the SEC in 2013. But in terms of front-line starters, heís got some experience to work with, as every projected starter at safety and corner is a junior or senior. The most reliable of the bunch is safety Alan Turner, who led the team in tackles last season and should continue to play a pivotal role on defense. Another one to watch is cornerback Tevin Mitchell. It wasnít that long ago that the 6-foot senior was an SEC All-Freshman selection. For Arkansas to take the next step, heíll need to fulfill the early promise of his career.

14. Vanderbilt: The Commodores were spoiled last season with four seniors starting in the secondary. You donít replace the talent and experience of an Andre Hal and a Kenny Ladler overnight. And you certainly will have a hard time doing so when the entire coaching staff has changed. But such is new head coach Derek Masonís task. The good news for him is that the cupboard wasnít left entirely bare as the entire second string of the secondary -- Paris Head, Jahmel McIntosh, Andrew Williamson and Torren McGaster -- returns after having played in a combined 50 games last season.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:42 AM   #2
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

This is fair, but I recall a day when we had some really good depth and experience in the secondary and it didn't pan out well for us that year. The secondary seems to be the most volatile of units for some reason.
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:46 AM   #3
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

More bias. We have more starters and guys returning from the two deep than bama, but they're ranked 5 spots higher. I didn't expect us to be in the Top 5 for DB, but I disagree with how they ranked. florida lost both CB's also, and they're #2, really?
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Old 06-19-2014, 10:51 AM   #4
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I hope our young talent surprises this year. Between Wes Green, Chris Lammons, and DJ Smith I think we should have an early impact player emerge.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:29 AM   #5
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

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Originally Posted by MWard View Post
More bias. We have more starters and guys returning from the two deep than bama, but they're ranked 5 spots higher. I didn't expect us to be in the Top 5 for DB, but I disagree with how they ranked. florida lost both CB's also, and they're #2, really?
You may be right about your two-deep. I don't know how much playing time there is in the secondary at UofSC.

It's worth noting that Scarborough left three corners off of his description of the Tide. Those three combined for 15 starts last season. All three had more individual starts that Maurice Smith; a player he mentions. All three had more starts than Sylve. Johnathan Cook 'shirted last season.

There are six corners competing for two spotsóall with significant playing time in 2013.

Bias? No. Poor research? Most definitely.
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Old 06-19-2014, 11:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

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More bias. We have more starters and guys returning from the two deep than bama, but they're ranked 5 spots higher. I didn't expect us to be in the Top 5 for DB, but I disagree with how they ranked. florida lost both CB's also, and they're #2, really?
I dunno if #2 is fair, but Hargreaves is a beast....he's the reason they're getting respect.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:08 PM   #7
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I can agree with that.
Brison is proven...Chaz has shown flashes.

Corner is an unknown.

But I don't see how UGA is ranked higher than us.
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Old 06-19-2014, 12:34 PM   #8
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I think it is a fair spot for us.

He lacks knowledge though....as he fails to mention our depth at Safety and Brison probably playing CB. Also somehow getting a dig in at Marcus, but Elder is just a good player.

Also Doesn't mention Gurley who will likely be starting at SS.
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Old 06-19-2014, 01:10 PM   #9
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

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I hope our young talent surprises this year. Between Wes Green, Chris Lammons, and DJ Smith I think we should have an early impact player emerge.
They keep bringing up Al Harris Jr. as potentially the best immediate contributor of the bunch. That'd be a pleasant surprise.
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Old 06-19-2014, 09:20 PM   #10
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

Hard to disagree with where we're ranked, but the assessment is pretty poor IMO. Lammons and Green aren't even on campus yet, while Harris, Jr. is here and has a strong chance to play this year. He couldn't possibly be any more off in his assessment of the safety position, especially when he speaks of Elder and Marcus. Elder and Williams/Gurley has a chance to be a pretty strong safety tandem, and Marcus is a reliable backup. Gurley being back to pre-injury speed would be huge. Seems like McWilliams had a very good spring, for what that's worth. The depth and talent are there, just very little experience.

Combine this unit with the DL and it could be UGLY on defense.
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Old 06-20-2014, 04:55 AM   #11
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I think we can all agree that ESPN has made plenty of judgmental errors on their rankings of all the positions for these things they did.

That being said. I'll take #9 right now. I'm not even going to read anybody else's so I don't have anything to complain about lol.
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Old 06-20-2014, 08:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

Actually pretty surprised that we're ranked ahead of 5 schools. I figured we would be around last with the holes at corner.

That said, these lists mean nothing and the writer is a hack.
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Old 06-20-2014, 09:24 AM   #13
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I thought that we might at the bottom. We essentially have a group of corners that is 100% unknown. 0 playing time. Not even a guy that played a few snaps every game last year. The safety spot should be OK.

BTW, Harris Jr. will be the freshmen from the secondary group that gets the most playing time. You can't overstate the importance of him being trained by NFL coaching. And him practicing with NFL players. He's not big, but I expect him to have amazing fundamentals, and get a quick grasp of the playbook.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:31 AM   #14
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

Terrible research so this is pretty useless. He is criticizing Marcus for not beating out Elder at Corner?? Right now, the Williams brothers (Brison and Rico Mc) are the CBs and the safeties (in no particular order) are Gurley, Marcus and Elder. That is a strong group with experience and talent, and we are solid even when we go to a nickel package. My concern is depth - who are the safeties behind the top three? Chris Moody is th only guy on the current roster unless they move Brison back or one of the Freshmen corners fits better at Safety. Who will step up as back-up corners - the returning players (Jamari Smith, Jasper Sasser, Ali Groves) or one of the the incoming Freshmen?

I think we will be more than fine - just like the linebackers worked out last year - and we will have a solid secondary, but Whammy has some things to sort out.
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Old 06-20-2014, 10:37 AM   #15
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

I'm far from an expert on the subject, but I have a hard time believing that Brison Williams is going to stay at corner the entire season.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:19 PM   #16
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

This ranking is crazy. They still treat us as the team 4-5 years ago before we just reloaded.
We have Wes Green, Chris Lammons, and DJ Smith no way we are not top three. We will surprise some teams and be ready for clemmons!!!
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:25 PM   #17
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

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I'm far from an expert on the subject, but I have a hard time believing that Brison Williams is going to stay at corner the entire season.
I think that works a couple of ways. First, if he does stay, it could be because it worked out and Gurley is playing well at the other safety spot opposite Elder, which gives us some versatility in the secondary. On the other hand, he could also stay there because none of the other corners are playing well and Ward and Brown have no other options.

Either way, I still think things are going to be scary on defense.
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Old 06-22-2014, 04:27 PM   #18
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

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This ranking is crazy. They still treat us as the team 4-5 years ago before we just reloaded.
We have Wes Green, Chris Lammons, and DJ Smith no way we are not top three. We will surprise some teams and be ready for clemmons!!!
*facepalm
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:27 PM   #19
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*facepalm
There really is nothing else you can contribute to a thread is there?
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Old 06-22-2014, 05:42 PM   #20
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Default Re: ESPN Ranks the SEC's Secondaries

Quote:
Originally Posted by garnet_black215 View Post
I think that works a couple of ways. First, if he does stay, it could be because it worked out and Gurley is playing well at the other safety spot opposite Elder, which gives us some versatility in the secondary. On the other hand, he could also stay there because none of the other corners are playing well and Ward and Brown have no other options.

Either way, I still think things are going to be scary on defense.
Right, basically how long Brison stays at CB just comes down to how well the inexperienced and true Freshmen CBs progress.

I think Rico will be a solid starter at one CB spot. Also, this idiot writer fails to even mention Jamari's name, who could be the starter at the other CB or probably at the very least the nickelback.

Basically who out of Jamari, Groves, Harris Jr., Green, Lammons, and DJ Smith will step up and allow Brison to move back to S. If 2 of those 6 step up to fill the 2nd CB spot and the nickel back spot then we should be solid with Brison moving back to S.

By the UGA game I expect it to look like this.

CB Rico/ Green or Lammons
CB Jamari/ Groves
SS Brison/ Gurley
FS Elder/Marcus

Another interesting point is that in the nickel package Brison can play the nickel back and Gurley can come in to play the SS spot to get our best 5 on the field.
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