Ranking teams losing the most talent
With 70-plus underclassmen having announced they're turning pro, it got us thinking: Which programs are losing the most talent, both to the NFL and to, well, more natural causes, like graduation? (Spoiler alert: LSU leads the way, with a jaw-dropping 10 juniors leaving. Even so, Les Miles doesn't exactly sound panicked.)
Let's get something straight from the outset: This post isn't to say these teams will struggle in 2013; rather, it's just pointing out how much they'll have to replace next season. Alabama, for instance, is the ranked second in this assessment and yet, last week, I wrote that it would be the clear-cut favorite to win the national title in 2013.
In many cases, Alabama being the prime example, the teams losing the most talent are also the teams gaining the most talent. Recruiting well, in part, is a by-product of success. Four of the 10 teams detailed below are in the top 10 of the current RecruitingNation class rankings and the rest aren't far behind. All of the teams included are "brand-name" programs.
And as a disclaimer, I had an extremely difficult time ordering the final five or six teams in this list; they could really be reassembled in a number of ways. So file that away if you start thinking, "No, my team lost more!" And remember that, in the end, this isn't necessarily a good poll to "win."
Here's my ranking of the 10 college football teams losing the most talent from their 2012 rosters.
1. LSU Tigers
The four names above are just a portion of the 10 LSU underclassmen who filed for the NFL draft. I didn't realize this until I read a story from the Times-Picayune's website, but the most underclassmen LSU previously lost in a season was three (2003, 2011).
To read Travis Haney's full list of teams with the most talent to replace heading into the 2013 season, you must be an ESPN Insider.