SEC Power Rankings: Eastern division defenses

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Nov 9, 2013; Gainesville, FL, USA; Florida Gators defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. (6) sacks Vanderbilt Commodores quarterback Patton Robinette (4) during the second quarter at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Florida Gators

Defensive Coordinator: D.J. Durkin (2nd year, 5th with team)
2013 ranks – 33rd vs. run, 7th vs. pass

The Gators (as usual) will have a lot of skilled, athletic players on defense. The team’s leading tacklers last season – linebackers Michael Taylor and Antonio Morrison – are returning, as well as shutdown corner Vernon Hargreaves III, who ranked third in the SEC with 14 passes defended and had three interceptions.

The front seven will be even better than last season, and the return of Alex Anzalone, who spent most of last season nursing injuries (as did a lot of the Gators) will make their linebacker corps a nightmare.

Head coach Will Muschamp may be blamed or ridiculed for a lot of things, but fielding a poor defense will never be one of them, and this year’s Gator defense might well end up being the best one in the nation.