Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
Franklin's production surely won't be replicated
The one player that UCLA will have a very difficult time at replacing is Johnathan Franklin. Quite frankly, he is the heart and soul of this team.
From a statistical standpoint, Franklin has rushed for 1,700 yards and 13 touchdowns on the season. He's also accrued 319 yards receiving and two touchdowns in the air. Due to a stellar senior season, the Second Team All-American became UCLA's all-time leading rusher.
There's no question that Franklin's production on the field will be missed. He's been the workhorse this season, and undoubtedly is a huge reason as to why UCLA's had a successful season up to this point.
His impact off the field could be just as important. When watching Franklin speak, it's quite apparent how charismatic he is. Although not cocky by any stretch, his confidence radiates throughout the team. He's not only a motivator, but is also a leader, and the captain of the team.
That aspect could ultimately prove to be the hardest to replace with Franklin's departure.
From a personnel standpoint, the team could choose to employ a running back by committee initially, until one back can break away from the pack and take a hold of the starting spot.
Damien Thigpen would have been the natural choice to take over for Franklin, but Thigpen suffered a torn ACL against Southern Cal. It's not known when he will be fully healthy.
Jordon James has looked decent in spurts, but the Corona, Calif. native seems too tentative when running the football. It remains to be seen whether he can develop into an every down back, or whether he'll be used in a complementary manner.
With that in mind, the two possible X-factors come in the form of current freshman Paul Perkins and incoming freshman Craig Lee.
Perkins has impressed during practice, and brings a physical nature to the position. He runs with good balance, and has a good burst as well.
Lee is a talented 4-star prospect with offers from all over the country. He has great top end speed, and isn't afraid of running through contact.
Steven Manfro is another option at the position, and UCLA is also heavily pursuing 4-star running back Terrell Newby.