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Who returns the touchdown-makers?

One way to gauge how a team might fare offensively heading into the next season is to determine what percentage of the players who scored touchdowns the previous season will be back.

In the case of Vanderbilt, every player who rushed for a touchdown or caught a touchdown pass a year ago is back for the 2011 season.

Of course, the Commodores only scored 24 touchdowns all season long in finishing 2-10 and have a new coaching staff.

So looking purely at the number of touchdown-makers returning is anything but a foolproof way to predict success that next season.

Still, it provides a few hints.

Kentucky, for instance, scored 52 offensive touchdowns last season. The Wildcats don’t return a single player who threw any of their 26 touchdown passes a year ago, and 37 of their 52 touchdown runs or receptions were scored by players who won’t be around in 2011.

Only one of Mississippi State’s 46 offensive touchdowns a year ago was accounted for by a player who won’t be on the roster in 2011.

And then there’s Georgia. The Bulldogs return quarterbacks Aaron Murray and Hutson Mason, who combined for all 25 touchdown passes a year ago. Murray threw 24 and Mason one. But with receivers A.J. Green and Kris Durham departing, only nine of those 25 touchdown passes were caught by players returning.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown in the SEC of who returns the most scoring firepower:

1. Vanderbilt: 100 percent

24 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (24 are back)

11 passing touchdowns in 2010 (6 are back)

11 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (11 are back)

13 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (13 are back)

2. Mississippi State: 97.8 percent

46 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (45 are back)

18 passing touchdowns in 2010 (18 are back)

18 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (17 are back)

28 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (28 are back)

3. Florida: 95.3 percent

43 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (41 are back)

12 passing touchdowns in 2010 (12 are back)

12 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (11 are back)

31 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (30 are back)

4. South Carolina: 79.6 percent

49 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (39 are back)

23 passing touchdowns in 2010 (23 are back)

23 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (16 are back)

26 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (23 are back)

5. Arkansas: 77.6 percent

58 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (45 are back)

36 passing touchdowns in 2010 (4 are back)

36 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (30 are back)

22 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (15 are back)

6. Ole Miss: 68.9 percent

45 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (31 are back)

17 passing touchdowns in 2010 (0 are back)

17 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (10 are back)

28 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (21 are back)

7. Tennessee: 57.5 percent

40 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (23 are back)

26 passing touchdowns in 2010 (26 are back)

26 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (11 are back)

14 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (12 are back)

8. Alabama: 50 percent

54 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (27 are back)

24 passing touchdowns in 2010 (4 are back)

24 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (13 are back)

30 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (14 are back)

9. LSU: 48.7 percent

39 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (19 are back)

10 passing touchdowns in 2010 (10 are back)

10 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (5 are back)

29 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (14 are back)

10. Auburn: 43 percent

72 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (31 are back)

31 passing touchdowns in 2010 (0 are back)

31 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (16 are back)

41 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (15 are back)

11. Georgia: 36.9 percent

46 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (17 are back)

25 passing touchdowns in 2010 (25 are back)

25 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (9 are back)

21 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (8 are back)

12. Kentucky: 28.8 percent

52 offensive touchdowns in 2010 (15 are back)

26 passing touchdowns in 2010 (0 are back)

26 receiving touchdowns in 2010 (8 are back)

26 rushing touchdowns in 2010 (7 are back)