Sure, the Aggies are going to miss departing quarterback Johnny Manziel, the 2012 Heisman Trophy winner, who is leaving after only two college seasons. Texas A&M also loses All-American left tackle Jake Matthews and receiver Mike Evans, another draft-eligible sophomore, but it's hard to imagine coach Kevin Sumlin's program falling off the map. Look at the last two unknown quarterbacks who ran Sumlin's offense: Houston's Case Keenum and Manziel. The QB job will be a competition between rising senior Matt Joeckel, sophomore Kenny Hill or incoming freshman Kyle Allen, and the Aggies are going to have plenty of weapons around them. Plus, Texas A&M's recruiting class is currently ranked No. 2 in the country by ESPN's RecruitingNation, and there's a lot of help coming for coordinator Mark Snyder's much-maligned defense, led by Myles Garrett, the No. 1 defensive end prospect in the country.
The Tar Heels flourished in the second half of the 2013 season, winning six of their final seven games, including a 39-17 victory over Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl. The Tar Heels were one of the country's youngest teams this past season, starting 10 freshmen and sophomores on offense and defense, and they should begin to benefit from their early lumps in coach Larry Fedora's tenure. UNC will miss departing tight end Eric Ebron and center Russell Bodine, who left for the draft as juniors, but quarterback Marquise Williams is coming back, along with three rising juniors at wide receiver. Fedora hasn't yet named a successor to former offensive coordinator Blake Anderson, who was named Arkansas State's coach, or tight ends coach/recruiting coordinator Walt Bell, who was hired as the Red Wolves' offensive coordinator.
Former Boise State coach Chris Petersen inherits a pretty good situation in Seattle, as the Huskies are expected to bring back seven starters on both offense and defense. UW will undoubtedly miss departing quarterback Keith Price, junior tailback Bishop Sankey and junior tight end Austin Seferian-Jenkins, who are entering the NFL draft. But rising sophomore Cyler Miles has shown signs of being a big-time quarterback, and the Huskies will bring back a solid corps of receivers, especially if rising senior Kasen Williams recovers quickly from a broken leg. The Huskies will have to replace three of their starting defensive backs, but returning linebacker Shaq Thompson, cornerback Marcus Peters and defensive end Hau'oli Kikaha are three of the best defenders in the Pac-12.