As the bulk of the nation watched for offensive fireworks, the young men on the other side of the ball were putting together quality years as well in 2013.
Cornerbacks like Michigan State's Darqueze Dennard and Oklahoma State's Justin Gilbert caused problems for receivers, showing that defense can still be played in today's college football world.
Safeties such as Louisville's Calvin Pryor and Washington State's Deone Bucannon proved to be assertive forces, delivering punishment and helping put their defenses in the position to succeed. These guys played against the run and the pass—something that is required more from safeties than ever before.
Now with those players transitioning to the next level, 2014 will see a new crop of secondary players step up to take their places. Here is a list, in alphabetical order, of the defensive backs to watch heading into next season.