SEC well-represented among elite teams in Athlon's early 2019 top 25 rankings
Despite expected departures to graduation and the NFL, familiar names are at the top of the heap in one of the first top 25 rankings for the 2019 season.
Recruiting classes are largely set, but the NFL Draft’s early entry deadline is Jan. 14, and even after that, there will be a series of changes, from coaching moves, to transfers and other offseason events like injuries and arrests.
But Athlon Sports has released its way-to-early top 25 ranking, and it includes five SEC teams in the top 10, including three from the SEC West. Missouri and Auburn rounded out the SEC members in the top 25.
“Nick Saban’s team will lose some key pieces off its 2018 team, but the Crimson Tide opens the offseason as the favorite to win it all once again,” Athlon’s Steven Lassan wrote about Alabama. “Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa returns after a prolific season, and the sophomore should be the preseason pick to win the Heisman Trophy after a runner-up finish in 2018. Tagovailoa’s receiving corps should be the best in college football next season. DeVonta Smith, Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs and Jaylen Waddle are back, and tight end Irv Smith has one more season of eligibility if he chooses to return to Tuscaloosa.”
Georgia also returns many of its key players, and checks in at No. 3.
“Center Lamont Gaillard is a big loss, but the offensive line should be among the best in college football,” Lassan wrote. “Georgia’s retooled defense ranked near the top of the SEC in 2018 and will be elite once again in ’19.”
Here are the rankings:
5. Ohio State
10. Texas A&M
11. Notre Dame
13. Penn State
21. Virginia Tech
22. Iowa State
25. Washington State