Spring football has come and gone for the SEC, and as we brace for the heat of the summer in the south, I’mYourHuckleberry takes a look at the SEC East post-spring power rankings.
#1 – Tennessee Volunteers
The Volunteers are loaded with playmakers and may have the most dynamic backfield in the country with Josh Dobbs, Jalen Hurd and Alvin Kamara all big time threats with the ball in their hands. Also, with the likes of Josh Malone and Preston Williams on the outside stretching the field that makes the Vols rushing attack even more lethal. On the defensive side of the ball the Volunteers may have the deepest, most talented, defensive line in the SEC. Also, with Jalen Reeves-Maybin, Cameron Sutton, Justin Martin, Evan Berry and Todd Kelly, Jr. on the back end the defense should be excellent. The concerns with the Volunteers come with the lack of overall depth, Josh Dobb’s consistency as a passer and their offensive lines ability to protect Dobbs and open holes for Hurd and Kamara. This is the Vol’s year to get to the Georgia Dome.
#2 – Georgia Bulldogs
The spring went about as well as the Bulldogs could have hoped. Nick Chubb showed progress in his recovery from knee surgery, Jacob Eason surpassed expectations and there were no major injuries. In Coach Smart’s debut as a head coach he brought renewed energy and enthusiasm to the program and the Bulldogs players bought in. If Nick Chubb can be 100% by the beginning of SEC play and Coach Pittman can elevate the play of the offensive line the Bulldogs should have a very powerful rushing attack. On defense, the Dawgs will rely heavily upon youth but with Coach Smart’s history they should develop into a fundamentally sound squad.
#3 – Florida Gators
2016 is going to be a season of transition for the Gators. Gone are defensive stalwarts Jonathan Bullard, Antonio Morrison and Vernon Hargreaves. Also gone are offensive playmakers Kelvin Taylor and Demetris Robertson. A great deal of their season will depend on the play of either Luke Del Rio or Feleipe Franks at the quarterback position. Also, the eligibility of their biggest weapon on offense Antonio Callaway is a major factor. That said, Florida is Florida and they have excellent athletes on both sides of the ball and are well coached by McElwain.
#4 – Kentucky Wildcats
The Wildcats had a very nice spring and 2016 looks like a season where the Wildcats could make some strides in a division with a lot of question marks. With Boom Williams poised to return at full strength this fall, Drew Barker looking the part at QB and an impressive group of young receivers they should be able to put points on the board. On defense there are still question marks but with Matt Elam in better shape and clogging the middle he serves as a solid foundation.
#5 – South Carolina Gamecocks
There are question marks abound with the Gamecocks in 2016. With a new head coach arriving and the loss of the heart and soul of both on the offense and defense with Pharoh Cooper and Skai Moore nobody knows what to truly expect from the Gamecocks. With Coach Muschamp they are likely to play with a big chip on their shoulder and with a very aggressive mentality. However, with their lack of overall talent and playmakers they will likely struggle to put points on the board.
#6 – Vanderbilt Commodores
The Commodores are once again a team with more questions than answers but Coach Mason has made some strides with them. They have become more and more fundamentally sound and their defense should be stout.
#7 – Missouri Tigers
Mizzou was absolutely hammered on offense and defense by graduation. The Tigers will be replacing 4/5 offensive lineman, their best tailback, leading tackler and their best defensive backs. While the Tigers should once again have a very good defensive line but not much more.