2013 SEC team position rankings: Defensive backs

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Talented defensive backs are nothing new to the SEC. The conference is strong in all three phases on defense, but particularly, secondaries have excelled in recent years.

And that certainly won’t change for 2013, as four stand out above the rest.

Drum roll, please…

Best SEC has to offer

1. Florida
2. Vanderbilt
3. Alabama
4. LSU

Florida has the top secondary in the SEC. Corners Loucheiz Purifoy and Marcus Roberson combine with converted corner-safeties Cody Riggs and Jaylen Watkins to form a nasty secondary. Don’t forget about sophomore corner Brian Poole, freshman corner Vernon Hargreaves or freshman safety Marcus Maye…Vanderbilt’s secondary is better than you think. They have arguably the top corner in Andre Hal, as well as returning two safeties Kenny Ladler and Javon Marshall. Steven Clark should slide in and replace Trey Wilson…Alabama’s most vulnerable position replaces two starters. HaHa Clinton-Dix returns, as does corner Deion Belue, but Robert Lester and Dee Milliner are both gone. Vinnie Sunseri and Landon Collins will both play safety, and John Fulton and Geno Smith will battle to start at corner…LSU returns safety Craig Loston and corners Jalen Mills and Jalen Collins. Even though Eric Reid and Tharold Simon are both gone, this roster is stacked with talent, and the secondary will be strong again under John Chavis’ tutelage.

Returning several starters

5. Ole Miss
6. South Carolina
7. Texas A&M
8. Auburn

Ole Miss returns all four key starters in the secondary. Corners Senquez Golson and Charles Sawyer return to combine with safeties Trae Elston and Cody Prewitt to form a seasoned and experienced secondary. The D-line should get much more push in 2013, making way for a better overall secondary. The Rebels finished 11th in pass defense in 2012… Yes, South Carolina replaces all-star DJ Swearinger, but corners Jimmy Legree and Victor Hampton both return, along with safety Brison Williams. Safety Kadetrix Marcus will replace Swearinger, making this an experienced and underrated position group…Texas A&M returns three starters in the secondary. Corner Deshazor Everett returns, along with safeties Howard Matthews and Floyd Raven. De’Vante Harris will fill Dustin Harris’ vacant corner slot. The Aggies’ defense will be headlined by the experienced secondary….Auburn returns four starters from an above-average secondary in 2012. Sure the Tigers were altogether forgettable, but the secondary wasn’t that bad. The Tigers finished 8th in the SEC. Corners Chris Davis and Jonathon Mincy will improve, along with returning safeties Demetruce McNeil and Jermaine Whitehead.

One returner

9. Georgia

Georgia replaces three main members of one of the best secondaries in the country in Shawn Williams, Bacarri Rambo and Sanders Commings, but they return a top-four corner in Damian Swann. Freshmen safeties Tray Matthews and Josh Harvey-Clemons will have a major impact, while the Bulldogs work to fill that corner slot opposite Swann.

Returning some experience

10. Tennessee
11. Arkansas
12. Missouri

Tennessee returns some talent in the secondary. Corner Justin Coleman returns, along with safeties Byron Moore and Brian Randolph. But don’t forget about sophomore LaDarrell McNeil, who will have a major impact. JUCO transfer Riyahd Jones should start at corner opposite Coleman…Arkansas returns a slew of defensive backs and adds a few others in the recruiting cycle. Corners Will Hines and Tevin Mitchell return, along with safeties Rohan Gaines and Eric Bennett. Watch out for newcomer Carroll Washington to make an impact at corner, too. The SEC’s worst secondary must improve in 2013…Missouri loses corner Kip Edwards and safety Kenronte Walker, but they return a top-five caliber corner in EJ Gaines and safety Braylon Webb. Randy Ponder should win the No. 2 corner job, and Duron Singleton should replace Walker. The Tigers finished 10th in the SEC in pass defense in 2012.

Replacing key components

13. Mississippi State
14. Kentucky

MSU loses 75 percent of its secondary in corners Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay, as well as safety Corey Broomfield. Now, only Nickoe Whitley returns, who has All-SEC potential. Look out for corners Justin Cox and Jamerson Love to be the next Bulldogs’ corner tandem, as well as safety Jay Hughes to replace Broomfield…The Cats return one starting corner in Cody Quinn, but they replace the No. 2 corner and both safeties. Fred Tiller should start opposite Quinn, and Nate Willis, Ashley Lowery and Glenn Faulkner will battle it out for the two safety spots. Kentucky finished 9th in pass defense in 2012.

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