The first thing that catches my eye there is at the very bottom — the average for 2021 is much higher than it’s been in the previous seven seasons. I would think a big reason for that is the NCAA’s decision to give players an eligibility mulligan for last year.
The second thing of note is that eight SEC teams, including Georgia, rank 105th or lower. Now, there’s returning production and then there’s returning production. Nobody’s arguing that Vanderbilt and Alabama are even close to being on the same footing. Even so, returning to the first point, note that only one of those eight teams, South Carolina, returns less than 50% of its 2020 production. A rising eligibility tide lifts all boats. (Except maybe BYU’s. 32%? Yeesh.)
Also, remember that besides the issue of overall roster quality, Bill has always maintained that returning production matters more at some positions than others ($$). For example,
As it turns out, continuity up front, as measured by your percentage of snaps returning, has a pretty hefty impact on your year-to-year progression or regression.
… Returning production in the secondary ends up accounting for about 59% of your overall statistical change, a monstrous amount compared to linebackers (minus-33%) and defensive linemen (minus-8%).
That last point might make you a little nervous about Georgia’s fate this season, but it’s worth keeping in mind that it’s unlikely Kirby Smart is done fishing in the transfer portal. I presume Bill’s numbers will be revised at some point once final rosters have been assembled for August camp; it will be interesting to see how those shake out, now that the NCAA has approved free one-time transfers.