We continue our look at statistical benchmarks in the SEC by checking in on the defensive side of the ball. It's time to find out which defenders will reach the coveted triple-figure number in tackles.
Last year, six players registered at least 100 tackles in the SEC -- Vanderbilt's Zach Cunningham (125), Alabama's Reuben Foster (115), Kentucky's Jordan Jones (109), Texas A&M's Shaan Washington (104), Mississippi State's Richie Brown (102) and Kentucky's Mike Edwards (100). Four of those guys are gone, leaving the Kentucky duo of Jones and Edwards.
Six was a decent number, but the league hit double-digit numbers in the two previous seasons.
So how many players will hit the 100-tackle mark this fall? I'm going to go with a healthy eight.
Here's a look at the guys who have the best chance of reaching 100 tackles this year:
1. LB Jordan Jones, Kentucky: One of the SEC's most underrated players, Jones led the Wildcats with 109 tackles. He should be even more of a threat in Kentucky's defense as a second-year starter at the weakside linebacker spot.
2. LB Skai Moore, South Carolina: After missing all of last year with a neck injury, Moore bypassed the NFL to return to the Gamecocks. He might have become a forgotten member of this defense, but he led the Gamecocks in tackles in the three previous seasons, including having 111 in 2015.
3. LB Roquan Smith, Georgia: Talent is just spilling from this guy's ears, and he led the Bulldogs with 95 tackles last year. Smith is only getting better, and as a very rangy middle linebacker, Smith will yet again be involved in a ton of plays this fall.
4. LB Shaun Dion-Hamilton, Alabama: He's coming off on an ACL injury from late last year, but the expectation is that he'll be fine by this fall. Dion-Hamilton has a ton of experience and he's the ultimate sideline-to-sideline middle linebacker. He registered 64 tackles playing alongside Reuben Foster last year.
5. S Mike Edwards, Kentucky: It's tough to have two players hit 100 tackles on one team, but Kentucky hit a double with Jones and Edwards last year. Edwards hit 100 tackles right on the head last year. It'll be tough for this duo to duplicate that, so we had to drop Edwards down the list a little.
6. LB Oren Burks, Vanderbilt: With SEC leading tackler Zach Cunningham gone, Burks becomes the Commodores' top middle linebacker. Burks has played safety and linebacker in his career, and he finished last season with 59 tackles. Burks is one of the SEC's most athletic linebackers, and he'll be able to play all over the field for the Dores.
7. LB Leo Lewis, Mississippi State: Lewis will be looked at as a leader of the Bulldogs defense in 2017, especially with Richie Brown gone. Lewis registered 79 tackles last year, but his role will only expand without Brown. Lewis really has a chance to break out this fall.
8. S Ronnie Harrison, Alabama: Again, it's tough for teams to have multiple 100-tackle guys, but Harrison came close to getting to triple digits with 85 in 2016. Harrison can drop in coverage when needed, but he's a beast to handle in the box too. Range and strength certainly help in the tackling department.
9. LB Devin White, LSU: The Tigers' top five tacklers are all gone, and relatively new blood is taking over at the middle linebacker spots. Donnie Alexander might have the most experience of the group, but White has the most upside. He had 30 tackles last year, but he's being looked at as a leader for the LSU defense. White has a chance to have a really special year for the Tigers this fall.
10. LB David Reese, Florida: Playing on and off as a backup and a starter for the Gators last year, Reese collected 49 tackles. With him taking over Jarrad Davis' spot in the middle full time, Reese could be a tackling machine. He isn't the biggest middle linebacker out there, but he's definitely one of the toughest.