It's an annual cycle for college teams: The departure of big-name upperclassmen leaves glaring holes in key spots on the roster. Here's a look at a few of the guys who will be toughest to replace and who might step up. (For a more complete list, check out SI.com/mag.)
This is an article from the March 4, 2013 issue
Who's gone: 1. QB Landry Jones
Who's next: A four-year starter, Jones set a Big 12 record with 16,646 career passing yards. The leader to fill his shoes is Blake Bell, a rising redshirt junior who's short on game experience—he has yet to throw a touchdown pass—but has studied the offense for two years.
Who's gone: 2. RB Montee Ball
Who's next: Wisconsin loses the NCAA's career touchdown leader, but James White has the experience. As a junior last year he rushed for 806 yards and 12 touchdowns behind Ball, averaging 6.4 yards per carry—more than Ball did in any of his four seasons for the Badgers.
Who's gone: 3. QB Collin Klein
Who's next: Rising redshirt sophomore Daniel Sams will get the first shot at replacing the Heisman finalist, but Sams has only thrown eight passes in his career. All eyes will be on junior college All-America Jake Waters, who led Iowa Western to a national title last season.
Who's gone: 4. LB Jarvis Jones, LB Alec Ogletree
Who's next: Jones led the nation with 14½ sacks and 24½ tackles for loss, while Ogletree paced the Bulldogs with 111 tackles despite missing four games for violating the team's substance abuse policy. Early enrollees Ryne Rankin and Reggie Carter and new signee Tim Kimbrough will look to fill out a young linebacking corps.
Who's gone: 5. DT Sharrif Floyd, SS Matt Elam
Who's next: Floyd led the team with 13 tackles for loss and three sacks. His exit could mean more movement across the line for tackle-end Dominique Easley, who'll be back for his senior season. In the secondary, Elam was a first-team All-America after led the Gators with four interceptions, and was second with 76 tackles. Junior-to-be Jabari Gorman will get a shot at replacing Elam.