Others Considered (Alphabetical): Auburn, Boston College, Florida, Florida Atlantic, Georgia, Notre Dame, Penn State, Texas, UCLA, Utah, Washington
#10 – Alabama
The Tide just barely make the cut for this list after losing all four starters from last year’s #1 overall ranked defense. You know Nick Saban has recruited well enough to keep the Tide here though. A pair of upperclassmen four stars will start on the outside in Savion Smith and Trevon Diggs, and it will be interesting to see how much playing time true freshman and #1 cornerback in the class of 2018 Patrick Surtain Jr. gets.
#9 – Michigan State
All four starters return from a group that helped lead the Spartans to a top-ten ranked defense nationally including sophomore star Josiah Scott who was one of the most impressive freshmen in the country last season. This team has expierence as well in the form of senior Mark McLaurin who picked off five passes in 2017.
#8 – Florida State
Former five-star recruit and now junior sensation Levonta Taylor is the new king of the FSU secondary now that Derwin James and Tarvarus McFadden are playing on Sundays. He’ll be joined by a trio of highly touted sophomores in CB Stanford Samuels, SS Cyrus Fagan, and FS Hamsah Nasirildeen.
#7 – Clemson
The Tigers return just two starters from this group, but both Tanner Muse and Trayvon Mullen have All-ACC potential. The other two starting spots will be contested between a variety of highly touted recruits and experienced backups in K’Von Wallace, AJ Terrell, Mark Fields, and Isaiah Simmons. The depth that this Tigers secondary possesses is second to none.
#6 – Miami
Get ready for another thousand ESPN pieces on the turnover chain, because this group returns three of four starters from a unit that helped the Canes rank 8th nationally in opponent pypg. Joquan Johnson racked up 96 tackles and four interceptions from the safety spot last year, so watch for him on your All-American radars.
#5 – USC
Four of five starters are back from this group, including potential All-American Marvell Tell at the free safety spot. Iman Marshall, a very highly touted recruit, is just starting to develop into his full potential and will look to impress NFL scouts as the #1 corner for the Trojans this year. He’ll be joined on the outside by junior Jack Jones.
#4 – LSU
Three of the four starters are back from a group that held opponents to just 187.6 pypg last year, including sophomore corner Greedy Williams, who got very greedy with opposing quarterbacks last year, snagging six interceptions last year. Williams may be the best corner in the country, and he will be joined by a duo of proven safeties in John Battle and Grant Delpit.
#3 – Ohio State
Denzel Ward may be gone, but the Buckeyes have a wealth of talent to replace him with. Damon Arnette and Jordan Fuller are both All-Big Ten caliber players back, with the latter a contender for All-American honors. Jeffery Okudah, the #1 cornerback in the class of 2017 will start opposite Arnette on the outside, and the free safety spot will be filled by another highly touted sophomore in Isaiah Pryor.
#2 – Washington
All five starters (Washington normally runs a 3-3-5) return from a DB group that helped make Washington one of the top ten defenses in the nation last year. Bryan Murphy and Jordan Miller have recovered from their respective injuries and the best in the nation safety duo of JoJo McIntosh and Taylor Rapp are each back as well.
#1 – Michigan
Welp, this one was obvious. All four starters return from what was the best defense in the country against the pass last year, allowing just 150 pypg in 2017. The crown jewel of the group is All-Big Ten caliber cornerback Lavert Hill, who was great last year while not dealing with injuries. He will start alongside another lockdown guy on the outside in David Long.