Several teams have built incredible defensive staffs in the SEC.

Having an elite defensive staff consists of a nice balance of top recruiters and top developers. It’s rare one coach is great at both. A good mixture of talent gatherers and talent developers is what every head coach is looking for.

Defense needs to return in the SEC; it’s been down the last few years. However, several teams have rebuilt their defensive staffs ahead of the 2015 season.

Who has the best defensive staff in the SEC for 2015?

Brad Crawford (@BCrawfordSDS): Auburn

The addition of Will Muschamp and Tavaris Robinson at Auburn gives Gus Malzahn a complete star-studded cast capable of winning the SEC West next season. The Muschamp upgrade (along with freshman Byron Cowart) strengthens a much-needed pass rush on the Plains. Robinson, an Auburn alum, is a fantastic recruiter.

Jon Cooper (@JonSDS): Alabama

It may be cliche, but the Crimson Tide have the SEC’s best defensive coaching staff. Starting with the head coach, Nick Saban, and defensive coordinator, Kirby Smart, the Tide have a fundamental foundation of proven success. And when you add in defensive line coach Bo Davis, new outside linebackers coach Tosh Lupoi and new defensive secondary coach Mel Tucker, this staff has everything want. Lupoi is an ace recruiter who signed top classes in the Pac-12 at Cal and Washington, and Tucker brings a whole new element to the secondary, allowing Smart and Saban to be hands off and focus on other issues. Davis is also a good coach and a good recruiter. The Crimson Tide have no weaknesses on its defensive coaching staff.

Ethan Levine (@EthanLevineSDS): Alabama

I believe Kirby Smart has had the title of SEC’s best defensive coordinator locked down for the last handful of years, and nothing has changed that since the end of the 2014 season. Smart is really a head coach tasked solely with managing one unit on one of the best teams year in and year out in college football, and as a result his defenses have produced some earth-shattering numbers and a slew of pro prospects through the years. Smart’s staff now features a position coach who served as an NFL defensive coordinator just last year (Mel Tucker, secondary coach) as well as some other reputable coaches. Losing Kevin Steele’s recruiting prowess as the linebackers coach doesn’t count for nothing, but it doesn’t count for enough to knock Alabama’s defensive staff off its pedestal, either.

Christopher Smith (@CSmithSDS): Auburn

To be honest, I have no clue on this one. If anyone who isn’t getting paid to be an SEC assistant coach knows how to properly rank every linebackers, defensive line and secondary coach in the conference, congratulations to them. I don’t. (Wait, maybe we shouldn’t congratulate them, because they definitely have no life.) I mostly went with the best defensive coordinator here. Alabama has a case with Kirby Smart, but the Tide defense has fallen from intimidating and dominant to merely very good most of the time. Muschamp can recruit as well as coach as well as the best coordinators in the country.

Brett Weisband (@WeisbandSDS): Auburn

Last year, this was an easy answer: Alabama. The Tide had a former head coach coaching linebackers and a defensive coordinator that just about every school would take as its head coach. After a handful of defections from the staff, though, Auburn has surged into the lead. Will Muschamp has consistently had top-10 defenses as a coordinator, and he brings with him up-and-coming defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson. Add in that the Tigers swiped recruiting ace Lance Thompson from Alabama to coach linebackers to go with veteran defensive line coach Rodney Garner and you’re looking at the best defensive staff in the conference.