SEC East, division champ Gators take stage at media days

HOOVER, Ala. (AP) — The Southeastern Conference’s Eastern Division will take center stage on Tuesday at the league’s annual media gathering.

Florida, Georgia, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State are the four teams making the trek to SEC media days. The Gators are led by coach Jim McElwain, who has pushed the program to two Eastern Division titles in his first two seasons.

Florida appears to have a decent shot to make it three straight. The Gators return nine offensive starters, including Jordan Scarlett, who ran for 907 yards and six touchdowns last season.

Georgia enters its second season under coach Kirby Smart. The Bulldogs had an 8-5 record last year and hope to be better this fall thanks to 18 returning starters, including 10 on the defensive side. Georgia also has two stellar running backs in Nick Chubb and Sony Michel. Chubb ran for 1,130 yards and eight touchdowns last season while Michel added 840 yards and four touchdowns.

Vanderbilt coach Derek Mason has some momentum after leading the program to the Independence Bowl in 2016. The Commodores won back-to-back games over Ole Miss and Tennessee to close the regular season and become bowl eligible.

Mississippi State is the only team from the Western Division in Hoover on Tuesday. Coach Dan Mullen enters his ninth season with the program and has led the Bulldogs to seven consecutive bowl games.

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