ESPN ranks Georgia’s secondary fourth best in the conference.
4. Georgia: Defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt really turned this unit around in Year 1, ranking fifth nationally in pass defense (170.4 ypg). Georgia defensive backs had 15 interceptions last season and four guys with starting experience return. Leader Damian Swann is gone, but sophomore safety Dominick Sanders could be a big-play star. Aside from Swann, all the other cornerbacks from the two-deep return.
And the front seven as the SEC’s second best.
Georgia: The Bulldogs added Trenton Thompson — ESPN’s No. 3 overall prospect for 2015 — to a veteran group up front. They lost two key linebackers in Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson, but appear to have serviceable replacements in the middle — plus the best collection of outside linebackers in the SEC. Jordan Jenkins, Leonard Floyd and Lorenzo Carter will all play on Sundays.
For comparison’s sake, Alabama’s defense, which I would call the gold standard for SEC defense, was credited with the top front seven unit and the eighth best secondary. In other words, it’s a more than credible standing for Georgia.
Throw in my expectation that a defense usually makes great strides in the second year of a coordinator’s term – even Grantham got that bounce in 2011 – and it’s hard not to get a little excited about what might be in store this season.