In the 85-scholarship era of college football, depth is as important as ever.
Gone are the days when the likes of Bear Bryant, Barry Switzer or Darrell Royal could stockpile talented players, stacking every key position at the depth chart if only to keep players away from their closest competitors.
The Football Bowl Subdivision’s 85-scholarship limit has evened the field in college football, allowing the likes of Boise State, Central Florida and Utah to win Bowl Championship Series games while competing in non-power leagues like the American Athletic Conference or Mountain West.
Finding players who can step in and duplicate a starter’s production when injuries inevitably happen is not easy, which makes having depth and solid backups so important.
Here is a look at a select group of players across college football who have emerged as the most talented backups. These men are capable of stepping in and making an impact should a starter be sidelined, or even if he stays healthy the entire season.