College Football 2011: 10 Teams That Will Suffer From the Loss of One Player
The college football season begins just over six months from now, and spring practices are just around the corner.
Coaches need to begin to come up with plans and plays with the teams that will be running out onto the field for the 2011 season.
Some coaches and teams, though, have more troubles than others, as they lost their top players to graduation and the NFL Draft.
There are teams who need to replace running backs and quarterbacks, while others look to replace players on the defensive side of the ball.
When a team loses its best player and needs to then turn around a replace him with a freshman or sophomore, it could turn a team's great season the previous year to a tough go-round for the current year.
What teams in college football are going to be hit worse with the departure of just one player?
Can that team rebound and show that good recruiting and coaching can be a lot stronger than the loss of an All American or NFL first round draft choice?
Lets take a look and see just who is going to be hit the hardest in 2011 by the departure of one player.
Da'Quan Bowers, Clemson
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
The Tigers are losing a monster at the defensive end in the All-American Da'Quan Bowers.
Bowers finished his career at Clemson with 61 tackles, a forced fumble and interception.
In 2010, he was awarded the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, which is awarded to the best overall defensive player in college football voted on by the Football Writers Association of America.
Bowers was also rewarded the Ted Hendricks Award. This award is given to the top defensive end in college football.
Clemson is coming off of a down year where they posted a record of only 6-7 and did not play in a bowl game.
With the 2011 season just around the corner, and the departure of Bowers, Clemson is going to get hit hard with his loss.
The Clemson defense is going to feel empty without an All-American, award winning defensive end, and have trouble competing in the ACC with his absence.
Jake Locker, Washington
Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Locker was once a top prospect for the NFL Draft, but the offseason has seen his stock drop for the 2011 draft year.
Locker had a great career at Washington, who played in a tough Pacific-10 Conference.
In Locker's career, he threw for over 7,600 yards and had 53 touchdowns.
He also threw 35 interceptions in his four years on the football field and threw no interceptions in the 2008 campaign.
Locker finished his career at Washington, beating a largely favored Nebraska team in the Holiday Bowl
Locker became the leader and face of the Washington Huskies football team, and his absence come next season leaves a large gap and question for the Huskies coaching staff as to how they are going to deal with him no longer behind center.
Locker's successor is sophomore Keith Price, who threw two touchdowns last season and had a completion percentage of just over 51 percent.
With such a great quarterback like Locker, it is going to be hard to put faith in such a young quarterback to come in and perform at the same level.
Prince Amukamara, Nebraska
Eric Francis/Getty Images
Nebraska had a strong go to cornerback in Prince Amukamara, who had a great 2010 season.
Amukamara finished the season with 58 tackles.
He was awarded with the 2010 Big 12 Defensive Player of the year award.
Amukamara was the leader in the secondary for the Cornhuskers, and with his departure, that hole is going to be hard to fill with an underclassmen.
Nebraska had a strong year on defense ranking as the No. 9 team in the country in points allowed per game at 17.4 points.
Nebraska is going to have to rely on the rest of the returning defensive secondary to pick up for the loss of Prince in the 2011 season
Von Miller, Texas A&M
Chris Graythen/Getty Images
Von Miller was the backbone and force behind the Texas A&M defense for the past few years.
Miller was elected to the freshman All Big-12 team in 2007 and led the nation in sacks in 2009 with 17 sacks.
In 2009 and 2010, he was elected to the First Team All-America as well as the First Team All Big-12.
In 2010 he was awarded with the coveted Butkus Award, which is awarded to the country's best linebacker.
This past season, he recorded 59 tackles and had one interception.
With the loss of such a dominant force on defense, it is not hard to see that the Aggies are going to take a big hit as a team and will have a big impact on the 2011 season.
A.J. Green, Georgia
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
A.J. has been toted as the best receiver in college football, as well as the top receiver in the upcoming NFL Draft.
His dominance and ability could best be seen when he was not playing for Georgia during his suspension.
The Bulldogs struggled on offense greatly when Green was out of the lineup for the first four games. Georgia went 1-3 and lost its first three games in SEC play.
In his last year at Georgia, Green still put up good numbers in a shortened season, catching 57 balls for 848 yards and nine touchdowns.
The Bulldogs were ranked No. 40 in passing yards per game last season with only 242.4 per game.
That average is likely to take a big hit and leave the offensive coaching staff changing their pass play with the absence of such a top notch athlete like Green.
Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Missouri is going to miss the arm and athleticism of quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
Gabbert finished the 2010 with impressive numbers, throwing for 3,186 yards and 16 touchdowns.
In his three year playing career at Missouri, Gabbert threw for 6,822 yards and 40 touchdowns.
Gabbert has rose up the draft board as the past college football season progressed. The Tigers quarterback has found his name as the top quarterback prospect for this years draft.
With Missouri coming off a season where they finished in the top 15 in the country, the Tigers must look to upcoming sophomore James Franklin.
The departure of Gabbert is going to turn out to be a very large blow to Missouri and the team as a whole.
Losing a quarterback of his ability and talent is not something that can be easily turned around changed.
The Tigers are going to have to take a year to help build and teach new quarterback Franklin to lead their team back to the way the Tigers were when Gabbert was leading the offense.
Nick Fairley, Auburn
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Nick Fairley was the keystone to the 2010 Auburn National Championship defense.
Fairley was the 2010 Lombardi Award Winner, given to the best defensive linemen or linebacker in all of college football.
In 2010, Fairley recorded 56 tackles; 32 of them were solo.
He also got to the quarterback and sacked him 12 times this past year, a very big jump from 2009 where he only had one sack.
Fairley showed his great talent on the national stage during the 2011 National Championship game against the Oregon Ducks, where he showed a solid defensive game and helped to solidify him as the possible No. 1 draft pick in the 2011 NFL Draft.
His departure from Auburn early is going to affect the Auburn defense and team substantially.
The biggest question is if Auburn can win the SEC West and make it to the SEC Championship game again.
Trying to fill that big of a hole on defense, however, could turn out to be a harder task than coaches may think, and the loss of Fairley is going to turn out to be the biggest loss for Auburn in 2011.
Muhammad Wilkerson, Temple
Wilkerson worked his way to become one of the top defensive ends in the country.
He may not gain a lot of national news, and people have not had the opportunity to watch Wilkerson play due to the lack of televised games Temple football receives, but this player is a great defensive athlete.
In his three years at Temple, Wilkerson recorded 139 total tackles and accumulated 17 total sacks.
Muhammad and the rest of the Temple defense ranked as the No. 16 team in points allowed per game, giving up, on average, only 19.1 points per game.
Muhammad is going to be deeply missed come the start of the 2011 season, especially when you take away such a force on defense.
The Temple coaching staff and fans are going to wish that Wilkerson returned to school and helped in Temple football regaining national attention.
Without his presence on the field, the Temple Owls are going to have a tough time keeping teams moving the ball on the ground.
Marcell Dareus, Alabama
Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
A talented athletic defensive end, Marcell is surely going to be a big hit for an Alabama team who has come to be known for its stout run stopping defense.
He ended his shortened college career with 71 total tackles and 11 sacks.
He also managed to grab one interception, which he returned for 28 yards.
The Crimson Tide defense ranked as the No. 3 team in the nation, only giving up 13.5 points per game.
Alabama, as well as the rest of the SEC, has been known to produce great defensive talents, and Dareus is an example of a defensive talent.
Alabama has a strong and talented team coming back in 2011, but the Alabama defense is going to take a big hit when they lineup for the first time next season and there is no No. 57 playing at defensive end.
Mike Pouncey, Florida
Eliot J. Schechter/Getty Images
Florida had it pretty good when they first had Maurkice Pouncey play under center and help Florida lineup with a very good offensive front line.
Then after the departure of Maurkice, Florida did not have to worry when twin brother Mike moved into the empty hole on the offensive line.
Well, Florida is not lucky enough that they were not the Pouncey triplets and now have a big hole to fill when the 2011 season begins.
Having two solid centers come back to back like Florida had is not something that every college team gets to experience every year.
The Florida running game and pass protection is going to take a hit this coming year due to the loss of such a talented player like Pouncey.
With Pouncey out of the lineup and headed to the NFL, the Florida Gators are going to be struggling to bring any center into the offense and have them play at the level that Mike brought when he wore Florida colors.