Finishing up ‘Defensive Backs Week’ at SDS, let’s look at the SEC’s five best secondary units heading into spring practice:

5. Tennessee: The Vols’ front seven deservedly gets most of the headlines thanks to returning star pass rushers Curt Maggitt and Derek Barnett, but Tennessee’s solid at the last level of defense as well. Cam Sutton’s the shutdown corner and safety Brian Randolph is a guy who should have a huge season as a senior. LaDarrell McNeil is also back, another veteran. The coaching staff’s expecting a big splash from JUCO signee Justin Martin, a hard-hitter with instant impact potential.

  • Star player: CB Cam Sutton

4. Georgia: Jeremy Pruitt’s core of pass-rushing linebackers is his only strength this season. Dominick Sanders started an unprecedented 13 games as a true freshman last season and begins spring as the team’s best cover corner while junior Quincy Mauger, with 14 career starts under his belt, claims the ballhawk role at free safety. He picked off a team-best four passes last fall and lays the wood as one of the division’s fiercest hitters.

  • Star player: CB Dominick Sanders

3. Ole Miss: Surprised to see the Rebels in the No. 3 spot? Don’t be. Ole Miss might be the only team in the SEC that will be able to absorb losing high-profile players like Senquez Golson and Cody Prewitt. Wait until JUCO transfers Tony Bridges and Tee Shepard hit the field, two sticky corners with good size and athleticism. Rover Tony Conner has a chance to lead the SEC in tackles at his position. He’s that talented. The stingy Rebels gave up just 12 touchdown passes last season and reaching that number again is the goal.

  • Star player: S (Husky) Tony Conner

2. Florida: It’s hard to argue any player over two-time All-SEC standout Vernon Hargreaves as the league’s top shutdown corner, but he’s not the only player at Geoff Collins’ disposal capable of big plays in the secondary this season. The Gators only lose Jabari Gorman from their deepest position group and welcome back notable vets Marcus Maye and Brian Poole. One of spring practice’s most intriguing battles comes at the corner spot opposite of Hargreaves. Sophomores Jalen Tabor and Quincy Wilson will fight for it after sharing starts last fall. If Florida can avoid injury (a real challenge considering the last two seasons), the Gators should have the top secondary in the East.

  • Star player: CB Vernon Hargreaves

1. LSU: On the corners, LSU is the Western Division’s best and we’re not even referring to five-star early enrollee Kevin Toliver who will definitely see extensive playing time this fall. Multi-year starter Tre’Davious White has one of the spots locked up. Dwayne Thomas and Ed Paris will compete for other, along with Toliver. There’s depth in centerfield, too. Safety Jalen Mills is the leader at the back end and Jamal Adams is prepared to show out despite perhaps unrealistic expectations from former LSU great, Tyrann Mathieu. The Tigers lost two central pieces — Jalen Collins and Rashard Robinson — off last year’s league-best unit, but it’s not going to matter thanks to the depth coming back.

  • Star player: S Jalen Mills