Position Groups That Must Be Productive For SEC Teams Going Into The 2019 Season
By: Tony Thomas
August 22, 2019
Below are the critical position groups that will need to produce positive results this season for their teams to be successful in 2019:
LSU-Running Back. Why? Experience and production are reduced with the loss of Nick Brossette (1039 yards, 14 TD’s). Clyde Edwards–Helaire (677 yards, 7 TD’s) returns, as does Sr. Lanard Fournette (12 carries for 106 yards). The rest of the RB unit consists of true freshman John Emery, who most certainly will press for playing time; Fr. Tyrion Davis-Prince, and redshirt freshman Chris Curry. LSU is ranked #6 in the preseason AP Poll.
Georgia-Wide Receiver. Why? The Bulldogs lose their top 3 receivers and Jermiah Holliman was dismissed from the team. That leaves Tyler Simmons as the leading returning receiver, with only 9 catches in 2018. Lawrence Cager transfers in from Miami. Georgia is ranked #3 in the preseason AP Poll.
Texas A&M-Linebacker. Why? Only 2 players with any experience return on this unit, and they had a combined 58 tackles between them in 2018. Texas A&M is ranked #12 in the preseason AP Poll.
Ole Miss-Wide Receiver. Why? The Rebels lose A.J. Brown, DeMarkus Lodge, and D.K. Metcalf, who combined for 176 catches, 2766 yards, and 15 TD’s last year. Elijah Moore is top returning receiver with 36 receptions for 398 yards in 2018.
Arkansas-Quarterback. Why? The Razorbacks lost both Cole Kelley and Ty Storey to the transfer portal. Ben Hicks (transfer from SMU) and Nick Starkel (transfer from Texas A&M) will compete for the starting job.
Florida-Offensive Line. Why? Only 1 starter returns on this unit for the Gators. Florida is ranked #8 in the preseason AP Poll.
Missouri-The defense. Why? There is significantly less experience on the D-line, at linebacker, and in the secondary this year.
Kentucky-Running Back. Why? The Wildcats must replace Benny Snell (1449 yards, 16 TD’s in 2018; 3873 yards, 48 TD’s in his career). The leading returning rusher is Asim Rose with 442 yards.
Mississippi State-Defensive Line. Why? The Bulldogs lose All Americans Jeffrey Simmons (63 tackles, 15 TFL’s) and Montez Sweat (53 tackles, 11.5 sacks).
Alabama-Running Back. Why? Bama loses Damien Harris and Josh Jacobs. Najee Harris (783 yards, 4 TD’s) returns. But depth at the position took a big hit with Fr. RB Trey Sanders missing all of this season due to a injury suffered in fall camp. The Crimson Tide is ranked #2 in the preseason AP Poll.
Vanderbilt-The Defense. Why? Only 5 starters return on defense for the ‘Dores.
Tennessee-The Defensive Line. Why? The D-line will be completely overhauled this year.
Auburn-Quarterback. Why? The Tigers will start a true freshman QB (Bo Nix) for the first time since 1946, with R-FR QB Joey Gatewood presumably as his backup. Auburn will open the season vs Oregon at Jerry’s World (AT&T Stadium) in Arlington, TX. Auburn is ranked #16 in the preseason AP Poll.
South Carolina-Offensive Line. The Gamecocks return only 3 starters on this unit, with less career starts and with less depth than last year.
Thanks for reading.
Material for this article sourced from: Phil Steele’s 2019 College Football Preview, vol.25, pages 1-352.