Predicting Georgia's Defensive Stat Leaders in 2024

Georgia is in a good defensive position heading into the 2024 season. Who will lead this group on the stat sheet?

After a (relatively) poor year on defense in 2023, Kirby Smart and his defensive staff are looking to return to their run-heavy, soul-crushing, suffocating style of defense this fall. Luckily, they have a strong and talented group of playmakers to rely on on Saturdays.

A few leaders always seem to emerge from this depth. Here's a look at who we think will statistically lead Georgia's defense in 2024.

Tackles: Smael Mondon – LB

In fact, it was the defensive backs, not the linebackers, who led Georgia in tackles in two of the last three seasons. Lewis Cine led the team in rushing in 2021 and Tykee Smith was first last season. In 2022 it was Mondon. He was also second to Smith last year. With 144 tackles over the last two seasons, Mondon has the experience and talent to lead this Georgia team again.

Tackles for defeat – Joenel Aguero – S

Mykel Williams seems like the easy choice here, but due to the way Georgia rotates players on the defensive line, it's rare to see any of their defensive linemen fill up the stat sheet. Tykee Smith led Georgia with 8.5 tackles for loss last season and Aguero replaces him. Since there are so many quick passes behind the line of scrimmage in today's game, Aguero will have plenty of opportunities to get guys behind the line.

Sacks: Jalon Walker – LB

Georgia will unleash Walker in 2024. He led the team in sacks with 5.0 last season, but Georgia struggled to get him a consistent spot on the field. This fall he will be a third-down attacker. Consider LSU freshman Harold Perkins. Don't think, just chase the quarterback.

Interceptions: Malaki Starks – S

Georgia often plays with Cover 2 and Cover 4 defensive players and leaves two safeties up, and teams usually try to avoid a throw to the sideline with Malaki Starks. That being said, we may see a revolving door at the safety spot opposite Starks, so he should still be your favorite to lead the Dawgs in picks. He had five in his career, just eight fewer than his head coach Kirby Smart with 13 and sixth all-time at Georgia.

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