The SEC's returning starters in 2012

January, 25, 2012
1/25/12
5:00
PM ET
It’s never too early to start looking at returning starters for the next season.

Phil Steele has compiled the returning starters for all FBS teams in 2012, and here’s a look at how the SEC stacks up:

1. Tennessee (total of 20)
  • Offense: 10 (QB included)
  • Defense: 8
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-2nd
T-2. Auburn (total of 18)
  • Offense: 7 (QB included)
  • Defense: 9
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-8th
T-2. Florida (total of 18)
  • Offense: 7
  • Defense: 10
  • Special teams: 1
  • National rank: T-8th
T-2. Vanderbilt (total of 18)
  • Offense: 9 (QB included)
  • Defense: 7
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-8th
5. Ole Miss (total of 17)
  • Offense: 8 (QB included)
  • Defense: 7
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-20th
6. Texas A&M (total of 16)
  • Offense: 9
  • Defense: 6
  • Special teams: 1
  • National rank: T-29th
T-7. Arkansas (total of 15)
  • Offense: 7 (QB included)
  • Defense: 6
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-44th
T-7. Georgia (total of 15)
  • Offense: 6 (QB included)
  • Defense: 9
  • Special teams: 0
  • National rank: T-44th
T-9. LSU (total of 14)
  • Offense: 7
  • Defense: 5
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-64th
T-9. South Carolina (total of 14)
  • Offense: 7 (QB included)
  • Defense: 6
  • Special teams: 1
  • National rank: T-64th
T-11. Alabama (total of 13)
  • Offense: 7 (QB included)
  • Defense: 4
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-81st
T-11. Kentucky (total of 13)
  • Offense: 6 (QB included)
  • Defense: 6
  • Special teams: 1
  • National rank: T-81st
T-11. Mississippi State (total of 13)
  • Offense: 5
  • Defense: 7
  • Special teams: 1
  • National rank: T-81st
T-11. Missouri (total of 13)
  • Offense: 5 (QB included)
  • Defense: 6
  • Special teams: 2
  • National rank: T-81st
Of note:
  • Vanderbilt had the most returning starters (21) in the country coming into the 2011 season, wound up winning more games than each of the previous two seasons combined, and also made its fifth bowl appearance in history.
  • Even though LSU returns only five defensive starters in 2012, the Tigers return 12 of their top 22 in the two-deep.
  • Auburn returns 18 starters in 2012. That's after returning just seven starters entering the 2011 season, which was the fewest in the country.
  • National champion Alabama returns the fewest starters on defense (four), while Florida has the most returning starters on defense (10).
  • Ten of the 14 SEC teams return their starting quarterback.

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