As the Alabama Crimson Tide go into their BCS title defense this fall, many names and faces will be different. Gone are a handful of first-round draft picks to the NFL. Gone are offensive and defensive leaders. Gone are the dependable superstars that 'Bama fans knew they could count on week after week as the Tide finished off the 2011 season with its second national title in three years.
But with change comes opportunity. It is no secret that Nick Saban's team is loaded with talent—deep talent. In 2012, Alabama will see a new crop of future first-rounders emerge. Some of them played vital roles last season and others barely saw the playing field.
With the extended losses that the Tide suffered in the offseason, coach Nick Saban is going to turn to these youngsters, expecting them to deliver on the promise that brought them to Tuscaloosa in the first place.
Here are a few that can be expected to break out of the pack and become household names in 2012.