Strongest position: Defensive line
Key returnees: DaQuan Bowers, Jarvis Jenkins, Brandon Thompson
Key departures: DE Ricky Sapp
The skinny: Not only do the Tigers return three starters up front, they also welcome back Jamie Cumbie, who was like a fifth starter at defensive tackle, and Andre Branch, who played well at defensive end. Overall, nine defensive linemen return. Not bad for a defense that had a 4-0 record against the ACC’s top four passers and finished 13th in the nation in tackles for loss and second in the ACC in sacks.
Weakest position: Wide receiver
Key returnees: Xavier Dye
Key departures: Jacoby Ford, TE Michael Palmer and RB C.J. Spiller
The skinny: It’s not good when your leading returning receiver has 14 catches, but Dye is the veteran now. Terrence Ashe started some last year and Marquan Jones was Ford’s backup, but didn’t get many opportunities. Two newcomers who might have the chance to play right away are Martavis Bryant and DeAndre Hopkins. One under the radar player is Jaron Brown, who only had three catches last year but has shown the ability for more in practice.
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