The Georgia Bulldogs‘ front seven will be one of the toughest in the SEC during the 2014 season. The defense will look to its linebackers and defensive linemen to carry the team in the first few games of the season until the secondary can find its identity. Linebackers Amarlo Herrera and Ramik Wilson will return after finishing last season as the Bulldogs’ leading tacklers.
Wilson finished last season with 133 total tackles, which led the SEC. He looks to have another great season for the Bulldogs, who will rely heavily on Wilson to help a defense that has been very inconsistent in the secondary. Wilson is great at moving sideline to sideline, but he can also move downhill and attack the ball carrier. I expect him to be at the top of the SEC in tackles again in 2014.
As for Herrera, the senior will likely be the player who has the task of calling the plays and getting the defense lined up. He finished last season with 112 tackles, second on the team to Wilson. Herrera is the vocal leader of the defense and has the prototypical size you look for in an SEC linebacker. Look for him to have a big year in his final season with the Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs’ defensive line will also be a strength of the defense. Although the Bulldogs lost Garrison Smith, the team’s most productive lineman, they will return most of their rotation from last season. Sterling Bailey, Chris Mayes and Ray Drew are a few of the names to look out for during the season. Drew is a deadly force coming off the edge from the defensive end position. Last season, he finally showed a glimpse of what he is really capable of. He came out of high school as one of the most coveted prospects in the 2011 recruiting class.
Most Bulldog fans are excited about the return of LB Leonard Floyd, who was one the most athletic defensive players in the conference last season. The 6-foot-4, 225-pounder earned SEC All-Freshman honors in his first season with the Bulldogs. He wreaked havoc on opposing offenses and will likely continue to as he gets a little bigger. Don’t be surprised if Floyd ends up as the SEC’s leader in sacks.
It is going to be important that the front seven be the anchor of the Bulldogs’ defense, especially at the beginning of the season. The secondary still has a lot to prove and will need all the help they can get. Luckily for the Bulldogs, it looks like they will have a very strong defensive line and linebacker corps.