UCLA Football: Projecting Stats for the Bruins' Rushing Leaders in 2013

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UCLA Football: Projecting Stats for the Bruins' Rushing Leaders in 2013
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Damien Thigpen's health will be paramount to UCLA's success

As the UCLA Bruins enter winter workouts in preparation for the 2013 season, there is plenty of excitement and anticipation for the second year of the Jim Mora era.

After showing marked improvement as a program in 2012, UCLA is armed with a solid core of returning starters and a stacked recruiting class, so expectations are elevated.

But there are still a number of questions left unanswered, the most notable of which comes in the wake of RB Johnathan Franklin's graduation.

Who is going to step up to replace The Mayor's production?

Franklin was UCLA's heart and soul last season, leading the way on the field, in the locker room and just about anywhere the Bruins needed leading. The senior captain compiled 1,734 yards and 13 TDs en route to becoming the program's all-time leader in rushing and all-purpose yards.

Needless to say, Franklin's departure raises serious doubts about the depth and experience in the UCLA backfield.

There are a few returning Bruins plenty capable of shouldering the burden, but only time will tell if any of them can handle being the go-to guy week in and week out.

As we move forward in this slideshow, it's important to consider the framework for these way-too-early stat projections.

Returning (or incoming) personnel, production lost to graduation and individual player statistics from previous seasons will each weigh heavily in the decision to divvy up touches.

Read on for complete statistical projections of UCLA's most likely leading rushers for the 2013 college football season. 

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