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ESPN Names "Most-Improved" Team Entering 2018 Season

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The most-improved team.

Earlier this week ESPN released its new FPI rankings for the upcoming 2018 season. Following the 2017 season, Alabama sat on top, but after recruiting and NFL draft declarations, there's a new team at No. 1.

Clemson earned the top spot after several defensive linemen revealed they're returning for another season. Alabama and Georgia, the two national title contenders in 2017, rounded out the top three.

One team that disappointed during the 2017 season earned a special designation from ESPN. The Florida Gators are the most-improved team from the end of last season to the preseason of 2018.

The Gators finished the 2017 season with a 4-7 record. With a new head coach in Dan Mullen, Florida looks to build off of a strong recruiting class and start competing in the SEC East.

Here's what ESPN had to say about the Gators entering 2018.

No team in FPI's top 25 improved its ranking from the end of last season to the preseason more than Florida, which bumped up 28 spots to No. 22. Florida is bringing back 19 starters and has had four-year recruiting ranks in the teens.

The Gators also are bringing back Feleipe Franks at quarterback, though after last season Florida fans are probably hoping that new head coach Dan Mullen finds another option to start instead.

Florida landed star quarterback recruit Emory Jones, who many believe could become the starter by the end of the 2018 season. After not making a bowl game in 2017, fans in Gainesville have a lot to look forward to with a proven head coach in Dan Mullen.

Mullen competed in the SEC with Mississippi State, but will have the opportunity to build a monster at Florida, much like Kirby Smart at Georgia. Florida develops more talent at the high school level than Mississippi State, and Mullen should be able to take advantage of that recruiting base.

[ESPN]