Below are some key points that stood out to me going into this season for each team in the SEC Western Division. The teams are listed in order of how I expect them to finish.
• Tua is back after a Heisman Trophy campaign in 2018 (3,966 yards and 43 TDs)
• Najee Harris’ time to shine
• Brian Robinson Jr emerging as the other RB, but who will be the 3rd option?
• Jerry Jeudy, Jaylen Waddle, Henry Ruggs III, and DeVonta Smith combined for 3,597 yards and 38 TDs. They averaged 17.65 yards per catch. If that’s not enough, should they need a little extra, freshman John Metchie can step in. If you’re not familiar, go watch the A-Day Game. He exploded onto the scene catching 5 passes for 133 yards and MVP of the game honors.
• Dylan Moses, Terrell Lewis, Anfernee Jennings, Raekwon Davis, Trevon Diggs, and Xavier McKinney all return to wreak havoc against those brave enough to cross their path.
• Terrell Lewis and Trevon Diggs are the two most anticipated returnees after missing all or some of the 2018 season.
• Focus on ILB position. 5th year senior Josh McMillon out. 4-star Christian Harris started last few preseason scrimmages. Jaylen Moody and Shane Lee strong during spring.
• Will have great contributions from young guys led by DJ Dale and Antonio Alfano
• Will Coach O finally go to the next level?
• Boasting of dynamic offense with the hire of Joe Brady, but has to prove it
• Will Joe Burrow be elite? WR Justin Jefferson can help his case
• Who will replace Nick Brossette? Clyde Edwards-Helaire is the most talented RB. Talented freshman John Emery will share duties
• Great defense as usual led by Grant Delpit, Rashard Lawrence, Jacob Phillips, and Michael Divinty Jr
• The Aggies will go as far as Kellen Mond will take them. Will this be his year?
• Hardest schedule in the nation other than South Carolina •
Who will replace Trayveon Williams at RB? Jashaun Corbin very young, but averaged 5.7 yards per carry last year
• WR Quartney Davis will have to make up for departure TE Jace Sternberger
• Justin Madubuike is one of the best DL in the country
• Very good DC in Mike Elko
• Will start freshman Bo Nix. Very talented, but how long will it take him to adapt to the SEC?
• A bit of a wildcard
• Return an experienced offensive line and great skill guys
• No. 1 ranked defensive line led by Derrick Brown
• Tommy Stevens wins QB battle. He has the best grasp on the Joe Moorhead offense. Keytaon Thompson enters transfer portal.
• Kylin Hill is one of the better RBs in the SEC, very underrated
• Eroll Thompson, Willie Gay, and Leo Lewis all return at LB. Eroll and Willie top LBs in the conference, NFL bound
• Cam Dantzler great CB, should be in the NFL next season
• Don’t have a big play WR and they’re not reliable catchers
• Matt Corral showed flashes of being a breakout player
• Added Rich Rodriguez (OC) and Mike MacIntyre (DC)
• Lost top 3 WRs
• RB Scottie Phillips returns
• MUST improve on horrible defense
• One highlight on defense is LB Momo Sanogo returns (112 tackles, sack, 2 FF in 2018)
• Has something to play for now that bowl ban is removed
• Finished 2-10 under Chad Morris
• Upgraded at QB with transfers Nick Starkel (Texas A&M) and Ben Hicks(SMU)
I am a 2003 graduate from the University of Alabama with a degree in Exercise Science. While at the Capstone, I served as a student assistant with the head strength and conditioning coach of the Crimson Tide football team. I have competed in both powerlifting and bodybuilding for several years. In addition, I have served athletes and people through the arena of personal training. Jesus is my Lord and Savior. I am a passionate fan of Alabama, but do not make other fan bases miserable because of it. College football has my heart first, but I cover all areas of sports. Follow me on Twitter: @justinriley7!