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Monty Rice figures to be one of the leaders for the Georgia defense in 2020.

National media continues to hype up Georgia football 2020 defense

Connor Riley

The Georgia Bulldogs had the No. 1 ranked scoring defense in 2019. Georgia also boasted the No. 1 rushing defense in the country.

And based on what returns for the 2020 season, there are some in the national media that seem to think this year’s defense could possibly be even better.

First, there’s the defensive back talent. Jim Nagy, the Executive Director of the Senior Bowl, sent out a tweet highlighting the Georgia secondary.

“Hard to imagine any team having more upperclassmen DB talent than @Georgiafootball,” Nagy’s tweet said.

Nagy added that safety Richard LeCounte, and cornerbacks D.J. Daniel and Mark Webb as NFL players. LeCounte is the clear leader of the group as his 2020 season will be his third as a starter for the Bulldogs. He elected to return for his senior season after intercepting four passes a season ago. LeCounte had perhaps his best game as a Bulldog in the Sugar Bowl win over Baylor, as he picked off two passes in the 26-14 win.

Nagy also highlighted junior Eric Stokes as someone who could qualify for the Senior Bowl, one of the biggest pre-draft events in the NFL draft cycle. Stokes has been mentioned as a first-round talent in some early 2021 NFL mock drafts. Fellow junior Tyson Campbell has also garnered similar praise ahead of his third season in Athens.

One thing Stokes and Campbell will need to show during this coming season is that they possess ball skills at the next level. For all that Stokes and Campbell have accomplished at Georgia, neither have recorded an interception at Georgia.

Related: Eric Stokes, Tommy Bush the latest Bulldogs to highlight their offseason workouts

For as great as the secondary could be, the front seven isn’t exactly a bunch of slouches either. Pro Football Focus sent out a reminder of how strong that group was Georgia last season, as the Bulldogs surrender just two rushing touchdowns all season. And both those were to quarterbacks.

Linebacker Monty Rice suggested that even that number was too high.

If there is one thing the group can improve upon this coming season, it will be creating more negative plays. Georgia ranked 46th in the country in sacks and 60th in tackles for loss. The four teams that made the College Football Playoff last year all ranked in the top-25 in both categories.

Georgia does bring its top pass rusher in Azeez Ojulari who racked up 5.5 sacks a season ago. But the Bulldogs do have to replace Tyler Clark, who led the team in tackles for loss last season. Clark is one of five defensive linemen Georgia has to replace, but the Bulldogs are expecting to get bigger contributions from the likes of Julian Rochester and Travon Walker this coming season.

While Georgia figures to have perhaps the best defense in the nation for this coming season, ESPN doesn’t think this will be a one-year wonder. In Adam Rittenberg’s future power rankings, where he projects how teams will look over the next three seasons, he had the Bulldogs in the top spot among the future defenses.

The Bulldogs are still set to open the 2020 season on Sept. 7, when they take on Virginia. The Cavilers will be breaking in a new starting quarterback, which does not seem ideal when facing a defense like Georgia’s.

Related:Ā BetMGM early odds: Georgia football favored in 5 of 6 games, SEC surprises

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