College football rosters are in flux year after year, thanks to several talented players going to the NFL draft. Last year, Alabama and Georgia led the way with each having 10 prospects selected.
As more players make their decisions about entering the draft or returning to play another year, some schools are losing more talented guys than others.
Let’s take a look at which schools will have to replace the most NFL talent next season, with an emphasis on colleges that have a handful of high-end prospects. Since players have until Jan. 15 to formally declare for the draft, some on this list haven’t announced their draft intentions just yet but are expected to go pro.
Noles head coach Mike Norvell will have to rebuild a good bit in 2024. Florida State has several big-time prospects expected to go off draft boards early.
The biggest name is FSU edge-rusher Jared Verse, who is the No. 8 overall prospect on B/R’s 2024 big board. Verse, who transferred to FSU from FCS Albany before the 2022 season, accounted for 89 tackles, including 29.5 for loss and 18 total sacks over the last two seasons in Tallahassee.
B/R’s latest mock has Verse landing at No. 8 overall to the Atlanta Falcons, and CBS Sports projects him to land 11th overall to the Minnesota Vikings.
Norvell will also have to replace wide receiver Keon Coleman, who led the Noles with 50 receptions for 658 yards and 11 touchdowns. B/R ranks Coleman as the No. 16 overall prospect for 2024 and mocks him to land at No. 21 overall to the Arizona Cardinals. CBS Sports has him going to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at 20th overall. Fellow wideout Johnny Wilson, ranked No. 87 overall by B/R, has also declared for the draft. He had 617 yards and two touchdowns in 2023.
Also departing for the league is standout running back Trey Benson, who had 906 yards with 14 touchdowns on the ground this season. He’s ranked No. 47 overall by B/R, and he is the 11th overall running back in the 2024 draft, per CBS Sports.
The Noles will also need to replace star quarterback Jordan Travis, who suffered a season-ending leg injury late in the year.
LSU head coach Brian Kelly looks like he’ll have produced an impressive draft class this cycle. It’s led by Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jayden Daniels, who accounted for 4,946 total yards of offense and 50 total touchdowns during his 2023 season. B/R ranks Daniels as the No. 24 overall prospect for 2024 and projects him to go No. 11 overall to the Minnesota Vikings.
Daniels’ leading receiver and Biletnikoff Award finalist Malik Nabers is ranked No. 7 overall by B/R. The latest mocks have him going quite high in the first round—CBS Sports’ Ryan Wilson slots him at No. 10 overall to the New York Jets, with B/R putting him at No. 9 overall to the Chicago Bears.
Fellow Tigers wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. is also high on draft boards. He finished second on the team with 1,177 yards receiving and first with 17 touchdowns in 2023. B/R ranks him No. 21 overall and has him landing at No. 29 overall to the Buffalo Bills. CBS Sports has him going higher at No. 15 overall to the Indianapolis Colts.
Defensive lineman Maason Smith declared for the draft on Wednesday. He’s ranked No. 71 overall in B/R’s big board, and CBS Sports has him as the No. 5-ranked defensive lineman for 2024. He tore his ACL during LSU’s Week 1 game against Florida State in 2022. But he had his best season in 2023 for the Tigers, getting 28 total tackles and 2.5 sacks.
Although several Wolverines stars from Monday night’s CFB title game have yet to formally declare for the draft, Michigan is expected to have to reload in 2024.
Quarterback J.J. McCarthy is an intriguing draft prospect—he has a smaller frame for a quarterback and wasn’t asked to shoulder much of the load for Michigan’s offense. Still, he is a quick runner, and he showed an impressive ability throwing the ball on the run.
He’s currently not on B/R’s or CBS Sports’ first-round mock, but ESPN’s Jordan Reid has him going No. 12 overall to the Denver Broncos. CBS Sports also ranks him as the No. 22 overall prospect for 2024.
Running back Blake Corum could have declared for the NFL draft following the 2022 season, but he opted to return to Ann Arbor in 2023. Michigan’s all-time leading touchdown scorer ranks 120th overall and seventh among RBs, per B/R. His backup, Donovan Edwards, is 2024’s fifth-best running back, per CBS Sports.
Wolverines offensive lineman Zak Zinter, who tore his ACL in the regular-season finale against Ohio State, is the No. 4-ranked interior offensive lineman, per CBS Sports.
Keep an eye on Michigan defensive players like safety Rod Moore, B/R’s No. 53-ranked prospect, as well as cornerback Mike Sainristil and linebacker and leading tackler Junior Colson, whom CBS ranks 56th and 57th overall, respectively.
Alabama head coach Nick Saban
Alabama head coach Nick SabanKevork Djansezian/Getty Images
The college football world experienced shockwaves on Wednesday afternoon, as news broke that Alabama head coach Nick Saban would be retiring. After six national titles over the course of 17 seasons in Tuscaloosa, it marks the end of one of the greatest runs in college football history. Saban’s potential list of replacements includes Oregon’s Dan Lanning, Ole Miss’ Lane Kiffin, Texas’ Steve Sarkisian and DeMeco Ryans of the Houston Texans, among others.
For whoever takes over in Tuscaloosa, most of the big-name departures come on defense.
The Tide have three guys likely to land in the first round. The highest is offensive tackle JC Latham, mocked by both CBS Sports and B/R to land at No. 7 overall to the Tennessee Titans.
Edge-rusher Dallas Turner, who led the Tide with 10 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss in 2023, is ranked 11th overall per B/R. CBS Sports has him going No. 9 overall to the Chicago Bears, with B/R putting him with the Jacksonville Jaguars at No. 17 overall.
Cornerback Kool-Aid McKinstry, who’s accounted for 93 total tackles, two sacks and 23 passes defended over three seasons with the Tide, ranks 14th overall per B/R. He is projected to go No. 22 overall to the Los Angeles Rams by B/R and 19th to the Green Bay Packers by CBS Sports.
Fellow cornerback Terrion Arnold has also declared for the NFL draft, ranked 66th overall by CBS Sports. Alabama’s fourth-leading tackler, Justin Eboigbe, is the ninth-ranked defensive lineman per CBS Sports, as well.
Alabama leading receiver Jermaine Burton, who finished 2023 with 798 yards and eight touchdowns, is ranked 78th overall per B/R.
The Buckeyes had a down season in 2023, finishing with back-to-back losses to Michigan and Missouri. Unfortunately for head coach Ryan Day, a lot of his most talented players are headed to the NFL draft.
Even after Denzel Burke announced his return on Wednesday, Ohio State has five players ranked inside B/R’s top 50 list of prospects, including wide receiver Marvin Harrison Jr. (No. 1 overall), receiver Emeka Egbuka (No. 27), edge-rusher JT Tuimoloau (No. 34), tight end Cade Stover (No. 44) and running back TreVeyon Henderson (No. 45).
Harrison Jr., the son of former longtime Indianapolis Colts wide receiver Marvin Harrison, is slated to go the highest. B/R has him going No. 4 overall to the Arizona Cardinals, and CBS Sports has him at No. 2 overall to the Chicago Bears. He had two marvelous seasons with the Buckeyes, accounting for 2,474 yards and 28 total touchdowns.
B/R likes Egbuka landing with Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs with the 26th pick. Tuimoloau, who had 38 total tackles and five sacks with seven tackles for loss, shows strength stopping the run and setting the edge.
Stover finished second on the team in receptions with 41 receptions for 576 yards and five scores. The tight end actually started his OSU career as a pass-rusher and can potentially have a big upside with coaching and development at the next level. Henderson, who hasn’t played a full season since his true freshman year in 2021, is CBS Sports’ No. 2 running back for 2024.
Washington had an undefeated regular season for the first time since 1991 this season. Heading into 2024, third-year head coach Kalen DeBoer will have to replace a ton of talented guys from the 2023 team.
One of the biggest names is quarterback Michael Penix Jr., who has a high draft stock despite a poor showing against Michigan in the title game. CBS Sports likes him to be the new quarterback in Atlanta with the Falcons at No. 8 overall, with B/R mocking him to the Denver Broncos at No. 12 overall. Penix is CBS Sports’ No. 4-ranked QB.
The Huskies have a few other guys projected to be first-round picks. Standout wide receiver Rome Odunze, who had back-to-back 1,000-yard seasons for the Huskies, is going to the New Orleans Saints with the 12th pick of CBS Sports’ mock, and B/R is slotting him 13th to the Raiders. Washington offensive lineman Troy Fautanu is projected to be picked by Seattle at 16th overall by B/R and Miami at 24th overall by CBS Sports.
Edge-rusher Bralen Trice led Washington with 11.5 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2023. Both CBS Sports and B/R like Trice getting picked by the Detroit Lions at No. 28 overall.
Although they aren’t projected first-rounders, receiver Ja’Lynn Polk, ranked 47th by B/R, and running back Dillon Johnson should be picked up, as well.