College Football Players Who Could Lose Their Starting Jobs in Spring Practice

Michael Carroll@mjcarroll531Featured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2015

College Football Players Who Could Lose Their Starting Jobs in Spring Practice

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    Gerald Herbert/Associated Press

    During spring practice, some players move up the depth chart into starting positions. The most common reason for this is because the previous starters have left their programs.

    Another reason is because the previous starters aren't the best options for their programs anymore. We'll take a look at a few situations in which the latter may apply.

    The players in this slideshow were starters for their teams in 2014. Therefore, players who could be considered starters heading into 2015 but did not start in 2014 are not included.

    If there are other cases in college football where you believe this will happen, please include them in the comments section below.

    With that, here's the list.

Everett Golson, Notre Dame

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    Nam Y. Huh/Associated Press

    Notre Dame quarterback Everett Golson could lose his starting job to Malik Zaire.

    Golson had a better year, statistically, than he did during Notre Dame's run to the national championship game in 2012. Even so, Golson isn't the overwhelming favorite to remain the No. 1 quarterback for the Irish in 2015.

    Zaire led the Golden Domers to a win in the Music City Bowl over LSU with 96 yards passing and 96 yards rushing. He also scored a passing touchdown and a rushing touchdown.

    Pay close attention to this battle, as it's the biggest of its kind in college football this spring.

Anthony Jennings, LSU

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    Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

    LSU quarterback Anthony Jennings could lose his starting job to Brandon Harris.

    The Tigers didn't play like their usual selves in 2014, as the team dropped five games for the first time since 2008. One of the reasons was poor quarterbacking.

    Jennings completed less than half his passes last season. Harris, meanwhile, played much better when he got the opportunity, but such opportunities were infrequent.

    If running back Leonard Fournette plays to his Heisman-worthy potential in 2015, LSU won't need a superstar performance under center. Neither Jennings nor Harris is a superstar right now, but Harris made fewer mistakes last season.

Trevor Knight, Oklahoma

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    Sue Ogrocki/Associated Press

    Oklahoma quarterback Trevor Knight could lose his starting job to Baker Mayfield.

    Mayfield sat out last season for the Sooners, but he could be the better fit for new offensive coordinator Lincoln Riley's system.

    Knight's ratio of 14 touchdown passes to 12 interceptions in 2014 isn't something the Sooners want to risk again in 2015.

    Oklahoma is trying to win its first national championship since 2000, and to do that, the quarterback with the best chance of having an excellent season will have to start. That appears to be Mayfield.

Isaiah Robinson, Wake Forest

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    Chuck Burton/Associated Press

    Wake Forest had the second-worst scoring offense in the nation in 2014, so it's not totally the fault of Isaiah Robinson. The running back was pretty ineffective, though, and the Demon Deacons might want to consider a change at the position to spark the offense.

    Robinson had the fewest yards per carry (1.8) in 2014 of all qualified running backs.

    Dezmond Wortham had 2.9 yards per carry, and he's returning to the lineup, so why not try him out?

Wes Brown, Maryland

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    Nick Wass/Associated Press

    In its first season in the Big Ten, Maryland wasn't bad. Randy Edsall has this program trending up for sure. If Edsall wants to take the Terrapins to the next level, though, he'll need more production out of his running game.

    At least to start the season, the ground game will have to carry the Terps offense. Quarterback C.J. Brown, as well as leading receivers Stefon Diggs and Deon Long, has moved on.

    Wes Brown can't be Maryland's best option at running backright?

    Brown had the most carries in 2014 of any running back on the team, but his 3.5 yards per carry were weak. Brandon Ross had better numbers on fewer carries, so maybe Maryland could go with Ross outright rather than a two-back system.

Devin Fuller, UCLA

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    Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

    UCLA wide receiver Devin Fuller hasn't lived up to the potential he had coming out of New Jersey in 2012. In fact, Fuller had worse numbers across the board in 2014 than he did in 2013.

    Though Fuller had the second-most receptions on the team in 2014, his 7.6 yards per reception were 13th on the team overall (and the worst among the seven players with at least 13 receptions).

    With a new quarterback starting in 2015, the Bruins need to have their best receivers out there to help in the passing game. Fuller isn't performing like he should be one of the top targets.

Jonathan "Rudy" Ford, Auburn

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    Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

    Auburn safety Rudy Ford shouldn't worry about his position within the program due to his play. Ford should worry because there are forces outside of his control that could be invading his space.

    Will Muschamp is the new defensive coordinator for the Tigers. Barrett Sallee of B/R suggests Muschamp will play as many of his recruits as possible, and Ford, of course, was at Auburn before Muschamp and his people came in.

    Nicholas Ian Allen of Fly War Eagle thinks Ford would have better success playing at cornerback in 2015.

    Whatever the case, don't assume Ford will keep his starting safety spot from last season.

    As always, thanks for reading, and check me out on Twitter (@mjcarroll531).