The depth of LSU's backfield may have lessened, but the talent pool remains just as strong.
Spencer Ware and Michael Ford are no longer options in the backfield, but the Tigers return Jeremy Hill, Kenny Hilliard and Alfred Blue.
Hill became the starter after he emerged from Blue's injury last season. He took the SEC by storm with 755 rushing yards and 12 rushing touchdowns.
But is he better than a healthy Blue? Will Hilliard regain a prominent role in the backfield in 2013? The cream will rise to the top, but which of these three is truly LSU's best running back?
Terrence Magee is the forgotten back.
Though he runs aggressively through tacklers and has a strong burst of speed, he is overshadowed by the rest of the running backs.
In fact, last season, Magee received only one handoff from the backfield and was moved to wide receiver. With the Tigers losing both Ware and Ford, Magee could very well transition back into a running back.
In 2011, Magee was able to showcase some of his skills, as the Tigers blew out the competition more often than not.
In that season, Magee rushed for 133 yards and a touchdown. We all know how LSU loves to rotate backs, and with the unsuspecting departures of two main contributing backs, Magee could very easily see the field in 2013.
Kenny Hilliard is the bruiser.
Hilliard may have taken a step backward in 2012, but that doesn't mean he won't take a step forward in 2013.
Though it may seem like Hilliard's stats and playing time dropped last season, it actually didn't. Hilliard accumulated 20 more rush attempts and 128 more rushing yards, but that was over the span of a full season.
In his freshman campaign, Hilliard started to receive playing time at the midway point of the season, and he exploded onto the scene, much like Hill did a year ago.
In 2012, Hilliard was just another back in the stable. In 2013, he needs to return to that explosive style of running.
Alfred Blue is the smooth one.
Before suffering a season-ending injury, Blue was on pace for a 1,000-yard rushing season. Through three games, one in which he was injured, Blue rushed for 270 yards and two touchdowns.
Finally healthy again, Blue sets out to finish what he started this season. Oh, and he's more than capable of reaching that 1,000-yard mark.
Blue, who seems to run through tacklers with ease, possesses that coveted breakaway speed. It allows him to hit another gear once he passes the second level, which creates long runs.
Blue's long runs in his LSU career makes him LSU's home run hitter in the backfield; but when it comes to talent alone, he's second behind LSU's breakout star from a year ago.
Jeremy Hill is the superstar.
At 6'2", 225 pounds, Hill has the size and strength to run through tacklers, but his lateral movement and breakaway speed makes him irreplaceable.
Like Blue, Hill has that remarkable home-run threat ability, but he also has a durable frame that allows him to take control in the fourth quarter.
The best running backs shine brightest in the fourth quarter, and that's exactly what Hill did last year (when the LSU coaching staff decided to give him the ball).
LSU rode Hill to victory against South Carolina and Texas A&M last year, and with Hill returning to the offense, it's safe to say the Tigers will implement that same game plan more often in 2013.