Winners and losers from SEC football spring practices: A team-by-team look
Spring has sprung and fall's not here yet, but that's no excuse for not taking a look at how SEC football teams came out of spring practice.
Just as it is on fall Saturdays, there are winners and losers in spring football practice. The USA TODAY Network's team of experts who cover SEC teams take a look at who won and lost big this spring.
Here are their takes:
2021 record and finish: 13-2 overall, 7-1 SEC (won West, won SEC championship)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 Utah State
Winner: Jahmyr Gibbs transferred from Georgia Tech after Alabama starting running back Brian Robinson Jr. went to the NFL Draft. Gibbs showed on A-Day that he can be an electric addition for this offense.
Loser: Agiye Hall had a prime opportunity to play in 2022 with Alabama needing two new starting receivers, but he couldn’t take advantage. Hall was suspended for violating team rules before he entered the transfer portal, landing at Texas.
— Nick Kelly
2021 record and finish: 9-4 overall, 4-4 SEC (third in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 Cincinnati
Winner: Linebacker Drew Sanders, who transferred from Alabama, was a standout on defense in the open spring scrimmage. Sanders and returning star Bumper Pool look like a strong duo in the middle of the defense.
Loser: Receiver Warren Thompson struggled with drops in some spring practices, and coach Sam Pittman said transfer Jadon Haselwood looks likely to become Arkansas’ new “bell cow” in place of NFL Draft prospect Treylon Burks.
— Christina Long
2021 record and finish: 6-7 overall, 3-5 SEC (sixth in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 Mercer
Winner: Running backs coach Cadillac Williams kept Tank Bigsby around after the offense's best player considered entering (but never did enter) the transfer portal. Now Williams gets to coach him in an even bigger role as the Tigers shifted their emphasis to Tank-first this spring.
Loser: Transfer quarterback Zach Calzada didn't play in the spring game (shoulder). He'll be healthy soon with a chance to start, but the injury left room for Robby Ashford's impressive A-Day.
— Bennett Durando
2021 record and finish: 6-7 overall, 2-6 SEC (sixth in East)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 vs. Utah
Winner: Anthony Richardson emerged as the team’s starting quarterback at the conclusion of spring. Coach Billy Napier said the Gators, despite losing two quarterbacks to the NCAA’s transfer portal, won’t pursue another quarterback – a sign UF is content with Richardson at signal-caller.
Loser: Tight end Keon Zipperer, who didn’t capitalize on a rash of injuries to the position. Instead, the Gators heaped praise on Dante Zanders, who made the move from defensive lineman to tight end early into camp.
— Graham Hall
2021 record and finish: 14-1 overall, 8-0 SEC (won East, lost SEC championship)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 Oregon (Atlanta)
Winner: Tight end Arik Gilbert took advantage of Brock Bowers and Darnell Washington missing the spring due to injuries. The LSU transfer returned from missing last season to have a big spring, capped by a two-touchdown showing at G-Day.
Loser: Offensive lineman Amarius Mims. The former five-star missed valuable practice time after entering the transfer portal. He withdrew his name but will have to rise from a backup role to beat out other starters this fall.
— Marc Weiszer
2021 record and finish: 10-3 overall, 5-3 SEC (second in East)
2022 first game: Sept. 4 Miami (Ohio)
Winner: Kentucky must break in three new starters on the offensive line. Tackle remains a question, but the open guard spot now looks like a strength thanks to the early play of Auburn transfer Tashawn Manning.
Loser: Nickelback Vito Tisdale was experimenting at cornerback in hopes of getting one of the defense’s most athletic players on the field more, but he suffered a season-ending knee injury in the second week of spring practice.
— Jon Hale
2021 record and finish: 6-7 overall, 3-5 SEC (seventh in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 4 Florida State (New Orleans)
Winner: As an early-enrollee freshman, left tackle Will Campbell, holds the starting left tackle spot on an LSU offensive line that started to come into shape this spring.
Loser: Fifth-year senior linebacker Micah Baskerville played with the second team during spring practice after starting in all 12 regular-season matchups last season. Getting back his spot in the starting rotation won't be much easier in the fall, as five-star freshman Harold Perkins will be with the team by then.
— Koki Riley
2021 record and finish: 7-6 overall, 4-4 SEC (fourth in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 vs Memphis
Winner: It's clear MSU wants Caleb Ducking to take the next step at outside receiver to help replace Makai Polk. It's a deep room, but Ducking showed when consistent he is among Will Rogers' top targets.
Loser: Nobody has emerged as the No. 2 safety. Jalen Green has been solid as he moved from corner to safety last season, but behind him experienced guys Shawn Preston Jr. and Collin Duncan leave more to be desired.
— Stefan Krajisnik
2021 record and finish: 6-7 overall, 3-5 SEC (fourth in East)
2022 first game: Sept. 1 Louisiana Tech
Winner: Receiver Luther Burden came to MU billed as a five-star receiver and lived up to his hype. He’s done everything asked of him and showed out in the spring game with 81 receiving yards and a touchdown.
Offensive lineman Hyrin White suffered a leg injury that held him out of the end of spring camp and into some of the summer due to a lower leg injury. That gave other linemen, like Zeke Powell, a chance to show their versatility and set up a position battle in fall camp.
— Chris Kwiecinski
2021 record and finish: 10-3 overall, 6-2 SEC (second in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 vs. Troy
Winner: Tight end and Southern Cal transfer Michael Trigg was unstoppable when healthy this spring, culminating in a three-touchdown performance in the Grove Bowl where he also caught two 2-point conversions.
Loser: The linebacker room didn't get very much love. With last year's top four linebackers gone, this spring was a showcase of the Rebels' lack of depth, and proof of how important it will be to get the three freshmen coming in this summer acclimated quick.
— Nick Suss
2021 record and finish: 7-6 overall, 3-5 SEC (fifth in East)
2022 first game: Sept. 4 Georgia State
Winner: Defensive back Cam Smith utilized an unexpected position change from cornerback to nickelback to put together the best spring of any South Carolina player. His performance sets him up for a monster 2022, where he could solidified a first-round NFL Draft selection.
Loser: Nickelback David Spaulding looks to have lost his position due to Smith's position change. Spaulding started last season and with the departure of Carlins Platel was going to be the frontrunner to be USC's starting nickel.
— Cory Diaz
2021 record and finish: 7-6 overall, 4-4 SEC (third in East)
2022 first game: Sept. 1 Ball State
Winner: Jalin Hyatt showed increased strength, consistency in route-running and everything needed to lock up the starting spot at slot receiver. He replaces NFL-bound Velus Jones Jr.
Loser: Kamal Hadden was one of four cornerbacks out with an injury. It’s bad timing since the Vols must improve on the SEC’s worst pass defense.
— Adam Sparks
2021 record and finish: 8-4 overall, 4-4 SEC (fifth in West)
2022 first game: Sept. 3 Sam Houston State
Winner: With all the roster talent, it was walk-on defensive back Avery Hughes who made his presence known in the spring game with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. We'll see if he has a role in the fall.
Loser: No quarterback separated himself from the pack as the Aggies signal callers combined to go 31-for-84 for 373 yards with three touchdowns and four interceptions in the spring scrimmage.
— Max Donaldson
2021 record and finish: 2-10 overall, 0-8 SEC (seventh in East)
2022 first game: Aug. 27 at Hawaii
Winner: The freshmen early enrollees on offense showed out in the spring game. Wide receiver Jayden McGowan was involved in both the running and passing game and quarterback AJ Swann threw a nice deep ball.
Loser: The offensive line could struggle once again after losing a few key contributors. Even if the quarterback play is improved, it may not look like it.
— Aria Gerson