Recruiting? Over. NFL Draft? Complete. Full rosters? Done.
Newsflash, folks, it’s June! Our time of patiently awaiting the college football season is shortening and football is on the horizon! This means that it’s time to really begin scoping out the teams that are showing a lot of promise here in the preseason.
There’s no denying that the large amount of underclassmen who entered the 2014 NFL Draft has caused a major backfill issue. Scouting and recruiting had to be taken to a whole new level this year as a lot of team’s top talent made their way up to the big leagues.
But what about the teams that managed to maintain their skilled underclassmen at least for another season? Well, that’s what we’re looking at – the teams with top returning talent.
All recruiting, scouting and freshman aside, which teams hold the top returning talent for the 2014 college football season?
Let’s take a look:
5. Georgia Bulldogs
Let’s talk defense. Sure the Bulldogs lacked the defensive skills needed to go far in the 2013 season, but with a new coach, things could be looking up. Defensive Coordinator, Jeremy Pruitt, has taken over and this Georgia defense is improving.
Offensively, the loss of Aaron Murray will be a doozy, but with these tacklers stepping up to the plate and Todd Gurley making strides, these guys alone just might be enough to take Georgia far.
Players to watch: Josh Harvey-Clemons (after his suspension), Ramik Wilson, Leonard Floyd, Jordan Jenkins, Amarlo Herrera, and Todd Gurley
4. Auburn Tigers
Everyone saw Auburn take a hit from the NFL Draft this year. Greg Robinson, Dee Ford and Tre Mason all joined the big leagues leaving huge deficits in the line-up. However, Auburn’s filling the holes quite nicely.
Offensively, Nick Marshall is only getting better at quarterback, and players on the offensive line such as Corey Grant and Cameron Artis-Payne could manage to fill the shoes of Mason. Defensively, the Tigers were young last season and with age comes growth. Expect Carl Lawson, Montravius Adams and Robenson Therezie to become key components.
Players to watch: Montravius Adams, Nick Marshall, Corey Grant, Robenson Therezie, Cameron Artis-Payne, and Carl Lawson
3. Oregon Ducks
Oregon really doesn’t seem too affected by their Draft losses. The Ducks will still boast a strong defensive line come the start of the season. Sure, they lost some of their stars, but their defensive has been pretty stacked from the beginning and these guys are simply moving up in the ranks.
Players to watch: Byron Marshall, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Thomas Tyner, Bralon Addison, Alex Balducci, DeForest Buckner, and Arik Armstead
2. Florida State Seminoles
The 2014 BCS National Champions don’t seem to be hurting much. Jameis Winston is stepping up to the plate, Florida State has a strong offensive line returning, and defensively, not only is the starting line looking great, but so is the secondary team!
The pair of Winston and receiver Rashad Greene will be a pair to look out for, and backed by the Seminoles line, we’d say FSU is in pretty good shape.
Players to watch: Jameis Winston, Nick O’Leary, Rashad Greene
1. Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama has lost a lot. However, the talent the Crimson Tide still has within its team is almost unbelievable. If this team gets all of its components in the right positions with the right guys on the field at the same time – look out! ‘Bama will hit hard.
For instance, the Crimson Tide still has T.J. Yeldon and Derrick Henry in the running back position, O.J. Howard at tight end, Amari Cooper at receiver, A’Shawn Robinson at tackle, Trey DePriest at line back, and Landon Collins at safety.
Pair these known-threats will the top inexperienced talent that Alabama is bringing in, and these guys will whip the freshmen into shape!
Players to watch: A’Shawn Robinson, T.J Yeldon, Trey DePriest, Landon Collins, Amari Coopers, O.J. Howard, and Derrick Henry
Will These Teams Make it to the College Football Playoff?
It’s still too soon to predict who will make the first-ever College Football Playoff – the 2014 season hasn’t even started! However, there’s no denying these teams are packing the heat and that’s not even looking at the new guys they’ve brought in.
Will we see FSU in the College Football Playoff National Championship? What about Alabama? Who’s knows! But the journey to get there is looking fantastic and it’s going to be a great 2014 college football season, that’s for sure!
What teams do you believe have the most returning talent? Which teams do you believe will make the College Football Playoff? Share with us in the comments below.
YOU Can Go Too!
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College football season is coming, will you be ready?