It just might be returning tacklers.
Tennessee leads the division with eight of its top ten guys coming back. The bad news for the Vols is that magic didn’t work last season.
Tennessee returned 12 of its top 15 tacklers from 2011 and proceeded to have its worst defensive showing in school history last season. The Vols finished 107th nationally in total defense and gave up 37 or more points in eight of their 12 games.
And UT will be on its third defensive coordinator in as many years. That doesn’t bode well.
Meanwhile, none of the three presumed division leaders bring back many of their top tacklers: Florida will miss five of its top six, Georgia loses its top four and South Carolina loses the top four and six of the top eight.
Maybe it’s Vanderbilt by default. The Commodores weren’t bad last year and their top three tacklers and six of their top seven are coming back.