Big East faces severe talent drain

January, 9, 2009
1/09/09
11:22
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett

Pittsburgh running back LeSean McCoy is expected to meet with coach Dave Wannstedt today and inform him of his decision to leave for the NFL.

McCoy becomes the latest star to leave the league. Of course, college football loses great players every year and always replenishes them with a new batch of talent. Still the amount of accomplished players exiting the Big East this year is a little staggering, if you think about it. Here's who's gone:

Pat White, West Virginia: Maybe the greatest Big East player of all time, he leaves as the league's all-time leader in career yardage and as the NCAA's all-time rusher among quarterbacks. He was a two-time Big East offensive player of the year.

Donald Brown, Connecticut: Brown had one of the best seasons of any back in NCAA history in 2008, rushing for a Big East record 2,083 yards. This year's Big East offensive player of the year will forego his senior season to enter the NFL draft and is UConn's all-time rushing leader.

LeSean McCoy, Pitt: One of the most gifted tailbacks the league has ever seen, McCoy rushed for 2,816 yards combined as a freshman and sophomore and led the nation in scoring this season. He would have been a serious Heisman Trophy candidate next season.

Kenny Britt, Rutgers: Another junior who is leaving early, Britt finished as the Big East's all-time leader in receiving yards (3,043) after setting the Rutgers single-season record this year with 87 catches and 1,371 yards.

Mike Teel, Rutgers: The quarterback had his ups and downs, but the senior had two straight 3,000-yard passing years and holds most of the Scarlet Knights' passing records.

Scott McKillop, Pittsburgh: The senior linebacker led the nation in tackles last season and topped the Big East in that category the past two years. He was the 2008 Big East defensive player of the year.

That's quite a list, and it doesn't even include Syracuse running back Curtis Brinkley, who set the school record for most 100-yard rushing games in a season; Louisville center Eric Wood, who started ever game for four years and is one of the best linemen in school history; two-time All-American punter Kevin Huber of Cincinnati; Big East sacks leader Connor Barwin, or likely NFL-bound cornerback Mike Mickens, also of the Bearcats.

There are still some stars on campus, such as South Florida's Matt Grothe and George Selvie, West Virginia's Noel Devine, Louisville's Victor Anderson and Cincinnati's Tony Pike and Mardy Gilyard, to name a few. And there will surely be new names surface that we don't know much about yet.

Still, we're talking about some of the best players in Big East history leaving the stage. They won't easily be forgotten -- or replaced.

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BIG EAST TEAM COVERAGE