A new Way-Too-Early Top 25

For more on how the Gamecocks will look in 2014, check out South Carolina's recruiting profile Insider and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.

12. LSU Tigers

Can LSU coach Les Miles work his magic again? The Tigers lost 11 underclassmen to the NFL draft before this past season but still finished 10-3, their fourth consecutive season with at least 10 wins. Now, six LSU underclassmen are leaving early for the pros, including receivers Odell Beckham Jr. and Jarvis Landry, guard Trai Turner, tailback Jeremy Hill and defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Anthony Johnson. Ouch. But the Tigers have recruited exceptionally well under Miles and the incoming class will be no different. Rising seniors Kenny Hilliard and Terrence Magee will step in at tailback, and the Tigers might get immediate help from Leonard Fournette, the No. 1 overall prospect in the ESPN 300, who has verbally committed to them. Rising sophomore Anthony Jennings will also take over at quarterback, replacing departing senior Zach Mettenberger.

For more on how the Tigers will look in 2014, check out LSU's recruiting profile Insider and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.

13. Ohio State Buckeyes

After a disappointing end to the 2013 season, losing to Michigan State 34-24 in the Big Ten championship game and Clemson 40-35 in the Discover Orange Bowl, Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer made some not-so-subtle changes to his coaching staff. He poached Chris Ash from Arkansas' staff to serve as co-defensive coordinator and secondary coach and hired longtime Penn State assistant/recruiting coordinator Larry Johnson Sr. to coach the defensive line. OSU allowed 34 points or more in four of its last five games this past season. The Buckeyes will bring back seven starters on defense, but they lost junior cornerback Bradley Roby and junior linebacker Ryan Shazier to the NFL draft. Also, rising junior end Noah Spence, the team's best pass rusher, will miss the first two games of the 2014 season while serving a Big Ten suspension for using a banned substance. Five starters are coming back on offense, including quarterback Braxton Miller. But OSU will have to replace four starting offensive linemen and tailback Carlos Hyde.

For more on how the Buckeyes will look in 2014, check out Ohio State's recruiting profile Insider and ESPN RecruitingNation's class rankings.

14. Wisconsin Badgers

If Wisconsin can somehow defeat LSU in its 2014 opener in Houston, it might have a chance to go unbeaten. The Badgers don't play Michigan, Michigan State or Ohio State during the regular season and their most difficult tests are probably a home game against Nebraska and road trip at Iowa. Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen will have to rebuild his defense, with each of the starting down linemen and three of four linebackers departing. Tailback Melvin Gordon, who ran for 1,609 yards with 12 touchdowns this past season, is coming back for his junior season, along with quarterback Joel Stave. But the Badgers will miss receiver Jared Abbrederis, who caught 78 passes for 1,081 yards with seven touchdowns in 2013.

Page
Join the Discussion
You are using an outdated version of Internet Explorer. Please click here to upgrade your browser in order to comment.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Firefighters rescue a woman who got stuck in a chimney in Thousand Oaks, Calif.
Ventura County Fire Department
PHOTO: Apple Pay is demonstrated at Apple headquarters on Oct. 16, 2014 in Cupertino, Calif.
Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PHOTO: Up in Ash: Mount Sinabung Erupting
Tibt Nangin/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
PHOTO: Defendant Jodi Arias testifies about killing Travis Alexander in 2008 during her murder trial in Phoenix, Feb. 20, 2013.
Charlie Leight/The Arizona Republic/AP Photo
PHOTO: Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, their daughter North West and Delphine Arnault attend the Givenchy show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2015, Sept. 28, 2014 in Paris.
Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/French Select/Getty Images