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Monday, February 27, 2012
Who returns the touchdown-makers?

By ESPN.com staff
ESPN.com

Who returns the most touchdown-makers in the SEC next season?

The answer is one of the newbies.

Missouri scored 53 offensive touchdowns last season, and the players who scored 44 of those touchdowns are slated to return for the 2012 season. In fact, the Tigers return 100 percent of the players who scored their 30 rushing touchdowns in 2011.

They also return 22 of their 23 passing touchdowns. Rising junior James Franklin threw 21 of those touchdowns.

LSU is the only other team in the SEC with players returning that accounted for more than 40 touchdowns a year ago.

As we found out this past season, looking at the returning touchdown-makers is hardly an exact science when it comes to predicting who will have the most firepower on offense.

It was certainly an indicator for Vanderbilt, which returned every player who’d scored an offensive touchdown in the previous season and improved immeasurably on offense in 2011.

But Florida and Mississippi State both returned more than 95 percent of their touchdown-makers entering the 2011 season, and both endured some massive struggles on offense.

What’s more, Alabama, Georgia and LSU were all in the bottom five of the league last year in terms of returning players who scored the touchdowns the previous season, and all three produced potent offenses.

Vanderbilt once again tops the list as far as having the highest percentage of offensive touchdowns returning (92.7 percent). Kentucky is also over the 90 percent mark, but the Wildcats only scored 21 offensive touchdowns last season.

Here’s a team-by-team breakdown of who returns the most scoring firepower in 2012:

1. Vanderbilt: 92.7 percent 2. Kentucky: 90.5 percent 3. Missouri: 83 percent 4. LSU: 75 percent 5. Georgia: 75 percent 6. South Carolina: 74.5 percent 7. Tennessee: 72.4 percent 8. Ole Miss: 71.4 percent 9. Auburn: 70.3 percent 10. Florida: 60 percent 11. Mississippi State: 57.9 percent 12. Texas A&M: 56.9 percent 13. Arkansas: 54.9 percent 14. Alabama: 38 percent