SEC teams with most returning starters in 2014

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Although 28 underclassmen declared for the NFL Draft, several teams return a slew of starters on offense, defense and special teams. Phil Steele computed every returning starter for every team in 2014, and the numbers were quite fascinating. Steele didn’t count special teams’ punters or kickers returning, and I did.

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Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi State and Texas A&M all return 17 starters, the most in the SEC. Interestingly, Tennessee returns the least with 10, and they are the only team not to return a starter along the offensive or defensive lines. In fact, they’re the only team in college football to lose all five starting offensive linemen. That’s a mind-blowing statistic.

Here are the SEC’s returning starters for 2014, according to Steele:

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Georgia Bulldogs

Total: 17
Offense: 5
Defense: 10
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: RB Todd Gurley, RB Keith Marshall, WR Michael Bennett, WR Chris Conley, C David Andrews, DE Ray Drew, LB Ramik Wilson, OLB Jordan Jenkins, OLB Leonard Floyd, CB Damian Swann, DB Josh Harvey-Clemons

Key losses: QB Aaron Murray, OL Chris Burnette, LT Kenarious Gates, TE Arthur Lynch, DE Garrison Smith

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Kentucky Wildcats

Total: 17
Offense: 8
Defense: 8
Special Teams: 1

Key returnees: QB Max Smith, QB Jalen Whitlow, RB Jojo Kemp, WR Ryan Timmons, WR Javess Blue, OG Zach West, OL Darrian Miller, DE Alvin Dupree, DE Za’Darius Smith, DB Blake McClain, DB Ashley Lowery, DB Eric Dixon

Key losses: RB Raymond Sanders, DT Donte Rumph, Mister Cobble, MLB Avery Williamson

Mississippi State Bulldogs

Total: 17
Offense: 8
Defense: 8
Special Teams: 1

Key returnees: QB Dak Prescott, RB Josh Robinson, WR Jameon Lewis, TE Malcolm Johnson, WR Robert Johnson, DL Chris Jones, DE Preston Brown, DL Kaleb Eulls, LB Benardrick McKinney, LB Matthew Wells, CB Jamerson Love, CB Justin Cox

Key losses: QB Tyler Russell, RB LaDarius Perkins, OG Gabe Jackson, DE Denico Autry, LB Deonte Skinner, Nickoe Whitley

Texas A&M Aggies

Total: 17
Offense: 6
Defense: 9
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: OT Cedric Ogbuehi, C Mike Matthews, OG Jarvis Harrison, WR Malcome Kennedy, RB Trey Williams, RB Tra Carson, DE Julien Obioha, DL Gavin Stansbury, LB Darian Claiborne, DB Howard Matthews, DB Deshazor Everett, DB De’Vante Harris, DB Floyd Raven

Key losses: QB Johnny Manziel, RB Ben Malena, WR Mike Evans, WR Derel Walker, OT Jake Matthews, LB Steven Jenkins, DB Toney Hurd

Arkansas Razorbacks

Total: 16
Offense: 7
Defense: 8
Special Teams: 1

Key returnees: QB Brandon Allen, RB Alex Collins, RB Jonathan Williams, TE Hunter Henry, OL Brey Cook, OL Denver Kirkland, DE Trey Flowers, DT Darius Philon, LB Braylon Mitchell, S Alan Turner, CB Telvin Mitchell, S Rohan Gaines

Key losses: C Travis Swanson, WR Javontee Herndon, WR Julian Horton, FB Kiero Small, DE Chris Smith, DT Robert Thomas, DT Bryan Jones, DB Eric Bennett, K Zach Hocker

Florida Gators

Total: 16
Offense: 7
Defense: 7
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: QB Jeff Driskel, RB Kelvin Taylor, RB Matt Jones, OT DJ Humphries, OL Max Garcia, DE Dante Fowler, DL Jonathan Bullard, LB Antonio Morrison, LB Michael Taylor, CB Vernon Hargreaves, DB Cody Riggs

Key losses: C Jonotthan Harrison, OG Jon Halapio, DT Dominique Easley, LB Ronald Powell, CB Marcus Roberson, CB Loucheiz Purifoy, DB Jaylen Watkins

South Carolina Gamecocks

Total: 16
Offense: 8
Defense: 6
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: RB Mike Davis, WR Shaq Roland, QB Dylan Thompson, OL AJ Cann, OL Brandon Shell, OL Corey Robinson, LB Skai Moore, Spur Sharrod Golightly, DB Brison Williams, DB Kadetrix Marcus

Key losses: QB Connor Shaw, WR Bruce Ellington, DE Jadeveon Clowney, DT Kelcy Quarles, CB Jimmy Legree, CB Vic Hampton

Ole Miss Rebels

Total: 15
Offense: 6
Defense: 9
Special Teams: 0

Key returnees: QB Bo Wallace, RB I’Tavius Mathers, WR Laquon Treadwell, OT Laremy Tunsil, DE CJ Johnson, DT Robert Nkemdiche, DL Isaac Gross, DL Lavon Hooks, LB Denzel Nkemdiche, LB Serderius Bryant, DB Tony Conner, CB Senquez Golson, DB Trae Elston, DB Cody Prewitt

Key losses: RB Jeff Scott, WR Donte Moncrief, OT Pierce Burton, WR Ja-Mes Logan, LB Mike Marry

Auburn Tigers

Total: 14
Offense: 8
Defense: 6
Special Teams: 0

Key returnees: QB Nick Marshall, RB Corey Grant, RB Cameron Artis-Payne, C Reese Dismukes, WR Sammie Coates, DE Carl Lawson, DT Ben Bradley, DT Gabe Wright, DT Montravius Adams, LB Roninson Therezie, LB Cassanova McKinzy, LB Chris Frost, CB Jonathon Mincy, DB Jermaine Whitehead

Key losses: RB Tre Mason, OT Greg Robinson, DE Dee Ford, MLB Jake Holland, CB Chris Davis, DB Ryan Smith

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LSU Tigers

Total: 14
Offense: 5
Defense: 7
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: QB Anthony Jennings, OL La’El Collins, OL Vadal Alexander, WR Travin Dural, DE Jermauria Rasco, DE Danielle Hunter, LB Kwon Alexander, CB TreDavious White, CB Jalen Collins, CB Jalen Mills, DB Ronald Martin

Key losses: QB Zach Mettenberger, RB Jeremy Hill, RB Alfred Blue, WR Jarvis Landry, WR Odell Beckham, OL Trai Turner, DT Anthony Jennings, DT Ego Ferguson, LB Lamin Barrow, DB Craig Loston

Missouri Tigers

Total: 14
Offense: 8
Defense: 4
Special Teams: 2

Key returnees: QB Maty Mauk, RB Russell Hansbrough, WR Bud Sasser, C Evan Boehm, DL Shane Ray, DL Matt Hoch, OLB/DE Markus Golden, DB Braylon Webb

Key losses: QB James Franklin, RB Henry Josey, WR L’Damian Washington, WR Marcus Lucas, OL Max Copeland, OL Justin Britt, DE Michael Sam, DE Kony Ealy, LB Andrew Wilson, CB EJ Gaines

Alabama Crimson Tide

Total: 12
Offense: 7
Defense: 5
Special Teams: 0

Key returnees: RB TJ Yeldon, RB Derrick Henry, WR Amari Cooper, WR DeAndrew White, TE OJ Howard, OL Arie Kouandjio, OL Austin Shepherd, DT A’Shawn Robinson, LB Trey DePriest, DB Landon Collins

Key losses: QB AJ McCarron, WR Kevin Norwood, OT Cyrus Kouandjio, OG Anthony Steen, DE Jeoffrey Pagan, DE Ed Stinson, LB CJ Mosley, OLB Adrian Hubbard, DB HaHa Clinton-Dix, DB Vinnie Sunseri

Vanderbilt Commodores

Total: 11
Offense: 7
Defense: 3
Special Teams: 1

Key returnees: QB Patton Robinette, RB Brian Kimbrow, RB Jerron Seymour, C Joe Townsend, DE Caleb Azubike, LB Darreon Herring, LB Jake Sealand, DE Kyle Woestmann

Key losses: QB Austyn Carta-Samuels, WR Jordan Matthews, WR Jonathan Krause, OT Wesley Johnson, DE Walker May, MLB Chase Garnham, LB Karl Butler, CB Andre Hal, SS Javon Marshall, FS Kenny Ladler, K Carey Spear

Tennessee Volunteers

Total: 10
Offense: 5
Defense: 5
Special Teams: 0

Key returnees: QB Josh Dobbs, RB Marlin Lane, WR Marquez North, WR Pig Howard, LB AJ Johnson, LB Curt Maggitt, DB Brian Randolph, CB Cam Sutton

Key losses: RB Rajion Neal, OT Ja’Wuan James, OT Tiny Richardson, OG James Stone, OG Zach Fulton, DT Daniel McCullers, DE Jacques Smith

Photo Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

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COMMENTS

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  • You forgot 2 on UGA offense. You left off WR Justin-Scott Wesley and WR Malcolm Mitchell…as well as 3 game starting QB Hutson Mason. so definitely 7 starters…but really 8

  • John Theus also returns to UGA. So with JSW & MM that is a true 8 on offense.

  • Thankfully (I think?), we play all 5 teams that return fewer players than we do….

  • Heard rumor RB Keith Marshall may rehab torn ACL knee the entire year next year.

  • Ok, everybody is wrong about UGA’s returning starters on offense. We lose 5, so we have to return 6, there only 11 spots. Those 5 are Chris Burnette, Dallas Lee, Kenarious Gates, Arthur Lynch, and Aaron Murray.

    I’m not sure if SDS is including a FB in the 11 starters or a 3rd WR, but our returning starters are David Andrews (C), John Theus (RT), Michael Bennett (WR), Malcolm Mitchell (WR), Todd Gurley, and Quayvon Hicks (FB) or Chris Conley if you want 3 WRs and no fullbacks.

    Returning starters doesn’t tell the whole story though, UGA returns 17 of 22 in the 2 deep whether you use the 3 WR or 2WR/1FB model. The 5 starters are all we lose in the 2 deep and we went 3 deep at a few of these positions.

    One other thing, if you are counting the P and K in the specialist category, why not count the LS too?

  • Florida’s one returner that have shouldn’t, Muschamp. The Gators season depends on Muschamp’s ability to learn how to be a head coach.

  • I’ve heard a ton of analysts and fans talk about “all of the players” A&M lost…this proves they don’t know what they are talking about. USC and A&M had the two youngest teams in the SEC last year. A&M’s future is really bright, especially if they continue to recruit the way they have been.

    The new changes among the power conferences could benefit A&M too. The 12 Division I teams in Texas have always “watered down” the talent. Texas, A&M, Baylor, Texas Tech, and TCU should benefit. A&M would have probably not lost QB Jameill Showers, QB Matt Davis, and DE Gavin Stansbury to transfers to non-Power 5 schools.

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