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SEC Secondary Rankings

By Southern Pigskin Staff
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Southern Pigskin's ranking of the top five SEC defensive backfields for 2018

1. Georgia: There is star power all over in the defensive backfield, starting with a veteran shutdown corner in DeAndre Baker. His emergence helped solidify the Bulldogs as a national championship contender a season ago. Walker intercepted Tua Tagovailoa in the College Football Playoff Final. With 21 career starts, Baker has considerable big game experience. Safety J.R. Reed is very effective in run support and is Georgia's leading returning tackler with 79 stops. He is a versatile enforcer on the back-end. Former five-star recruit Richard LeCounte appears ready to break out at safety and incoming blue-chip cornerback Tyson Campbell is 6'2'', 180 pounds and a state champion track star.

2. LSU: Greedy Williams is the top cornerback in the country and the next headliner in the secondary for the Tigers. In his college football debut, Williams tied for the SEC lead with six interceptions, including picks in three of LSU's final four games; his eleven pass break ups are also the most amongst returning conference defenders. A rangy prototype at 6'2'', 182 pounds, Williams is a consensus pre-season All-American and should only be better with a year of experience now under his belt. Senior safety John Battle is a heady, reliable veteran with 100 tackles the past two seasons.

3. Florida: The cornerback rotation is elite with sophomores Marco Wilson and C.J. Henderson, both of whom played extremely well as freshmen, and the versatile Chauncey Gardner-Johnson, who the Gators plan to use in the slot. Florida will be able to match personnel, and arguably be at their best defensively, when opposing offenses bring an extra wide receiver onto the field. Having played both corner and safety throughout his career, Gardner-Johnson is an All-SEC talent, the MVP of the 2017 Outback Bowl, and has five interceptions over his last 14 games. Healthy, Jeawon Taylor is poised to make an impact at safety.

4. Auburn: Normally, matchup problems are framed as wide receivers who have physical advantages over cornerbacks; with Jamel Dean, at 6'2'', 208 pounds, the distinction works the other way around. The former Ohio State-transfer gives the Tigers an imposing presence on the perimeter and a defender capable of going one-on-one with the top targets in the league. Jeremiah Dinson is an active and multi-faceted defensive back who can play most positions in the secondary. Even with some notable attrition, Auburn is still talented and flexible here.

5. Alabama: Get ready to be introduced to a new collection of skilled playmakers. Deionte Thompson, who started in the postseason last year, is ready to take on a leadership role. On the outside, Travon Diggs, formerly a wide receiver, and Saivion Smith, formerly of LSU, have earned starting opportunities. Smith settles in on the roster as the nation's top-ranked junior college transfer, while highly-touted Patrick Surtain, Jr. arrives as the number one cornerback recruit in the country. Though young, the Crimson Tide defensive backfield is as talented as any.