We continue our look at the SEC's best tag teams by staying on the defensive side of the ball. Today, we take a look at the top linebacker duos.
1. Alabama: Shaun Dion Hamilton and Rashaan Evans. It's going to be tough to find two more athletic middle linebackers together on the same defense. Hamilton had 64 tackles, including 9.5 for loss, and two interceptions last year; he will be coming off an ACL injury, but should be ready for the season. Evans did well when needed in the middle, registering 53 tackles and four sacks. Both are sideline-to-sideline players who hit like freight trains.
2. Georgia: Lorenzo Carter and Roquan Smith. Carter flirted with the NFL after getting back to the destructive ways that made him a budding star as a freshman. After his five-sack, 44-tackle junior year, Carter looks rejuvenated and poised for a big senior season as a top pass-rusher. He has the potential to be an early-round pick next year. Smith could actually be a better pro prospect and Georgia's best defender. He led the Dawgs with 95 tackles last year and forced two fumbles with 6.5 TFLs. Smith is already built like an NFL linebacker.
3. Kentucky: Jordan Jones and Josh Allen. Quietly, this tandem combined for almost 200 tackles last year. Jones had 109 on the season, along with 15.5 TFLs and four sacks. Allen had more than 60 tackles last year but really excelled at getting to the quarterback with his seven sacks. He also had 8.5 TFLs. Denzil Ware will help out as a hybrid Buck, too. Jones and Allen work so well together, it could get scary for offenses this fall.
4. Auburn: Tre' Williams and Deshaun Davis. The Tigers found out last year that these two could more than hold down both linebacker spots in the defense's 4-2-5 look. Williams was second on the team with 67 tackles, but has 138 at Auburn with only 10 starts. Davis was right behind Williams with 63 tackles as a full-time starter last year. Both should be even better this fall when you consider their development and comfort heading into camp.
5. South Carolina: Skai Moore and Bryson Allen-Williams. With Moore out last year with a neck injury, Allen-Williams was second on the team with 75 tackles (46 solo) and 8.5 TFLs. He played in every game, but started just seven. He should take the Sam linebacker spot this year, and should be even better with Moore back on the field. All Moore had done before his neck injury was lead the team in tackles in three consecutive seasons.
Others to watch
Florida: David Reese and Vosean Joseph
LSU: Donnie Alexander and Devin White
Ole Miss: DeMarquis Gates and Detric Bing-Dukes
Tennessee: Darrin Kirkland and Cortez McDowell