ATHENS — Georgia’s defense will apparently begin the 2020 season where it left off last season, in terms of its “No-Name” status.
This, despite returning 80 percent of the production off a defense that led the nation in scoring defense and rushing defense, and ranked third in total defense and No. 8 in pass efficiency defense.
Athlon Magazine, based in Nashville, includes only UGA safety Richard LeCounte on its preseason first team list.
Alabama, which ranked 13th in scoring defense and 20th in total defense, has three preseason first-team picks per Athlon.
Last year at the SEC Media Days, only J.R. Reed was selected as a first-team preseason All-SEC pick.
Amazingly, no UGA players off the league’s leading defense were named to the postseason All-SEC Associated Press team.
“We build our mantra on kind of being the no‑name defense,” Lanning said in New Orleans two days before the Sugar Bowl. “It’s not really about the players, it’s about us.
“Our guys have gone out constantly and performed, tried to play to a standard regardless of who the opponent is. It’s been exciting to see our guys embrace that this year.”
Reed predicted at the NFL combine last February that UGA defenders would soon get their due.
“The next defensive star, if he’s not already a star, is Richard LeCounte,” Reed told DawgNation in Indianapolis. “After him, you have Azeez Ojulari, and a bunch of guys that are going to step up.
“You’ve got a great corner in Tyson Campbell, Eric Stokes, Malik Herring and Monty Rice,” he said. “I don’t think it’s going to be a no-name defense any more.”
Stokes, Herring, Rice and defensive tackle Jordan Davis were named preseason second-team picks by Athlon.
But Ojulari and Campbell were totally overlooked, not even making the third team.
Here’s a look at Athlon’s preseason first-team defense and second-team defense:
DL Tyler Shelvin, LSU
DL Big Kat Bryant, Auburn
DL LaBryan Ray, Alabama
DL Bobby Brown, Texas A&M
LB Dylan Moses, Alabama
LB Nick Bolton, Missouri
LB K.J. Britt, Auburn
CB Derek Stingley Jr., LSU
CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama
S Richard LeCounte, Georgia
S JaCoby Stevens, LSU
DL Kobie Whiteside, Missouri
DL Jordan Davis, Georgia
DL Malik Herring, Georgia
DL Aaron Sterling, South Carolina
LB Monty Rice, Georgia
LB Henry To’o-To’o, Tennessee
LB Boogie Watson, Kentucky
CB Eric Stokes, Georgia
CB Kaiir Elam, Florida
S Demani Richardson, Texas A&M
S Tyree Gillespie, Missouri
DL Zachary Carter, Florida
DL Christian Barmore, Alabama
DL DeMarvin Leal, Texas A&M
DL Dayo Odeyingbo, Vanderbilt
LB Erroll Thompson, Mississippi State
LB Buddy Johnson, Texas A&M
LB Ernest Jones, South Carolina
CB Jaycee Horn, South Carolina
CB Marco Wilson, Florida
S Shawn Davis, Florida
S Jammie Robinson, South Carolina