Sean Renfree was considered the most likely replacement for four-year starter Thaddeus Lewis, but Renfree tore an anterior cruciate ligament in November and will miss spring practice. Renfree's injury gives Schroeder and early enrollee Brandon Connette a chance to show they deserve a shot at the job. Schroeder is a former three-star prospect from Dana Point (Calif.) Dana Hills.
The departure of Javarris James and the health status of Graig Cooper could leave the Hurricanes with holes to fill at running back. That may create an opportunity for the speedy Miller, a four-star recruit who was rated the No. 80 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class out of Miami Killian.
Incumbent starting quarterback T.J. Yates threw 15 interceptions with 14 touchdowns while ranking 97th in the nation in passing efficiency last year. Yates' struggles could result in a challenge from Renner, a four-star prospect who was the No. 5 pro-style quarterback prospect in the 2009 recruiting class. Renner, from West Springfield (Va.) High, will play baseball, but he won't miss any spring football sessions.
Although he certainly won't be unseating Tyrod Taylor as the Hokies' starting quarterback, Thomas has enough versatility that Virginia Tech will find a way to get him on the field. Maybe he'll be playing quarterback for a few snaps. Maybe he'll line up at tight end. Maybe they'll find some other use for him. Thomas was a four-star prospect and the No. 71 overall prospect in the 2009 recruiting class, and his upside demands that he not spend the entire season on the sideline.
The last time Wake Forest took a chance on a redshirt freshman starting quarterback, Riley Skinner led the Demon Deacons to an ACC title. Now that Skinner has departed, Cross has emerged as a front-runner to replace the four-year starter. Cross, the son of former San Francisco 49ers center Randy Cross, is a former three-star recruit from Alpharetta (Ga.) Chattahoochee. He will be competing with sophomore Ted Stachitas for the starting job.
The Panthers return Jonathan Baldwin, but they still need to improve their receiving depth. Besides Baldwin, no returning Pitt receiver caught more than 15 passes this past season. Street is a former two-star prospect from Bethlehem (Pa.) Liberty.
For the first time in four years, Rutgers won't have a McCourty at cornerback. The thought here is that Ryan will be a more-than-capable replacement. Ryan is a former four-star prospect from Voorhees (N.J.) Eastern.
The Bulls look to reload without George Selvie and Jason Pierre-Paul at defensive end. The process might not take too long with Giddins and Forte in the mix. Giddins is the more highly touted of the two; he's a former four-star recruit from Seffner (Fla.) Armwood who was the No. 61 player in the Rivals100 in 2009. Forte was a three-star recruit out of St. Petersburg (Fla.) Boca Ciega.
The Mountaineers don't have many holes on defense. One exception is at middle linebacker, where senior Reed Williams started last year. Busick could compete for playing time. As the son of a WWF wrestler named "Big Bully Busick" and with a name like Branko, it's a good bet Busick -- a former three-star prospect from Steubenville (Ohio) High -- will be an aggressive player.
With three openings on the offensive line, including both tackle spots, help is needed. Hawkeyes coaches are excited about MacMillan, a Toronto native who spent his senior season at The Hun School in Princeton, N.J. He was a three-star prospect.
Wildcats staffers have compared Proby (6 feet/240 pounds) to former Northwestern linebacking star Barry Gardner. Proby is a former three-star prospect from North Las Vegas Cheyenne who has gained 30 pounds since signing with the Wildcats.
The Nittany Lions need help at receiver, so both these guys will be in the spotlight in spring drills. Kersey is a former three-star prospect from Woodbury (N.J.) High; Moseby-Felder, who was known as Brandon Felder when he signed, is a former three-star recruit from Oxon Hill (Md.) High.
The Badgers have some big needs on the interior of their defensive line, and Kohout will get every opportunity to prove he can be the type of run-stuffer needed. He is a former four-star signee from Waupun (Wis.) High.
The Cyclones have a starting spot open at end, and Moore should make a run at the job. Originally committed to Auburn as a center, he switched to Iowa State and then changed positions. Moore -- a former three-star recruit from Frisco (Texas) Centennial -- impressed so much in practice that he was named scout team defensive player of the year.
The Cowboys need help at receiver, where only one player managed more than 20 catches last season. Harrison -- a former two-star prospect from Dallas Hillcrest -- performed so well in practice that Oklahoma State coaches planned to take off his redshirt. But he had a season-ending injury in practice before he could get into a game.
Jamie McCoy's departure makes tight end a position of need. If not for an injury, Prioleau -- a former three-star player from Fort Worth All Saints Academy -- may have played last season. He's a talented receiver and has the size (6-4/253) to be an effective blocker, too.
That Graves -- a former four-star recruit from Tulsa (Okla.) East Central -- didn't play in 2009 was something of a surprise. It's a good bet he'll move into the starting lineup to ease the loss of Brandon Sharpe, who posted 15 sacks last season.
A new staff coming in from Texas Tech means there will be a much stronger emphasis on the pass, and that means each member of this trio will have a chance to produce this fall. Hunt, who is 5-8, is a slot receiver candidate; he is a former two-star prospect from Durham (N.C.) Jordan. Price is a former two-star prospect from New Bern (N.C.) High, and Wilson is a former three-star prospect from Durham (N.C.) Southern Durham.
Owls K Clark Fangmeier was a senior, and it's expected that Boswell -- a former three-star prospect from Keller (Texas) Fossil Ridge -- will assume the job. He was the No. 5 kicker in the 2009 recruiting class.
Scott is a former three-star prospect from Houston Strake Jesuit. While he has the size (6-2/190) and athleticism of a free safety, the Mustangs have an opening at strong safety that Scott could fill. He was considered one of the crown jewels of SMU's '09 class, and he will get a chance to show off his skills this fall.
Southern Miss' top two tailbacks were seniors, meaning Hardy -- a former four-star prospect from Monticello (Miss.) Lawrence County -- has a chance to nail down the starting job. Hardy scored 46 touchdowns in his final two seasons in high school.
UCF is looking for a new starting quarterback, and Flores -- a former three-star prospect from North Miami Beach (Fla.) High -- will be in the thick of the battle in spring ball. Flores is an excellent athlete and spent some time as a wide receiver on UCF's scout team last season. He will be vying with true freshman Jeffrey Godfrey, who already has enrolled, and Stanford transfer L.D. Crow.
With Tyler Sheehan gone, the Falcons need a quarterback. The top contenders look to be Schilz, a former three-star prospect from Pasadena (Calif.) Maranatha, and Pagel, a former two-star prospect from Strongsville (Ohio) High. He is the son of former NFL quarterback Mike Pagel.
With all-purpose threat Brandon West gone, the Broncos need some running backs to emerge. Fields, a former two-star signee from New Castle (Del.) William Penn, and Scriven, a former two-star prospect from Inverness (Fla.) Citrus County, will have a chance to make their marks during spring drills. Fields (5-9/190) is a darter, while Scriven (5-11/200) is more of a between-the-tackles runner.
BYU loves utilizing the tight end in its passing attack. Dennis Pitta and Andrew George combined to catch 92 passes for 1,237 yards and 13 touchdowns this past season, but both were seniors. Wilson, a three-star prospect from Spanish Fork (Utah) High, was the No. 13 tight end in the 2009 recruiting class.
Farrell -- a former two-star prospect from Baton Rouge (La.) Christian Life Academy -- enters spring practice as the most likely candidate to replace first-team All-MWC selection Erik Cook as the Lobos' starting center. The last redshirt freshman to emerge as a starting center at New Mexico was Ryan Cook, the older brother of Erik Cook. Ryan Cook went on to earn first-team All-MWC honors three times before the Minnesota Vikings selected him in the second round of the 2006 NFL draft.
The Horned Frogs need someone to step in for Jerry Hughes, who won the Ted Hendricks Award as the nation's top defensive end. Nobody expects Maponga to replace Hughes' production, but he has a chance to fill Hughes' spot in the starting lineup. Maponga -- a former three-star prospect from Lewisville (Texas) Hebron -- is expected to compete with junior Braylon Broughton for the job.
Heimuli, a former Rivals250 selection, signed with Utah as the No. 22 defensive tackle prospect in the 2009 recruiting class. Heimuli, a four-star player from Salt Lake City Highland, likely would have earned plenty of playing time in 2009 if an early season injury hadn't caused him to be redshirted. Heimuli should emerge as a key contributor in Utah's front four this season.
Harris was expected to contribute on special teams and even earn some playing time at linebacker this past season, but a preseason knee injury led to him being redshirted. Harris' speed and athleticism should allow him to compete for a spot in the lineup as the Cowboys look to replace departed outside linebacker Weston Johnson. Harris is a former two-star prospect from Fountain (Colo.) Fountain-Fort Carson.
Coyle -- a former three-star prospect from powerhouse Westlake Village (Calif.) Oaks Christian -- would've played this past season had he not been injured in fall camp. He has the ability and size to produce at a position that has been a problem area.
An ankle injury prevented Toilolo (6-6/268) from playing this past season. But when he was cleared to practice, he was a dominant force on the scout team and created major mismatches as a tight end. Coach Jim Harbaugh plans to experiment with two-way players, so Toilolo -- a former four-star prospect from La Mesa (Calif.) Helix -- also will see action at defensive end, which may be his best position.
The Bruins need to bolster their pass rush. A defensive end position is open, and Graham, who recorded 22 sacks in his final two years of high school, has a great chance to move into the starting lineup and make an impact. Graham is a former four-star prospect from Las Vegas Silverado.
Washington State needs a feature back. The leading veteran contender is James Montgomery, who is coming off surgery. The Cougars may look to Burns, a former three-star prospect from Corona (Calif.) Centennial who rushed for more than 1,800 yards as a high school senior.
The Cougars need all the help they can get up front. Last season, Washington State ranked 118th in the nation in rushing offense and 119th in sacks allowed with 53. Valenzuela is a former three-star prospect from Burbank (Calif.) John Burroughs.
Fluker, a former five-star prospect from Foley (Ala.) High, will have a chance to challenge for a spot in the 2010 starting lineup. Alabama is looking for a new right tackle to replace departing senior Drew Davis, so Fluker will be on the spot in spring drills.
The coaching staff thinks Bailey -- a former three-star prospect from Broken Arrow (Okla.) High -- has the potential to be a star. Coaches almost decided to play him this past season, but each of the players on the two-deep stayed healthy.
The starting quarterback job is vacant, and it's a good bet one of these guys wins the competition. Mettenberger, a former four-star prospect from Watkinsville (Ga.) Oconee County, is more of a pure passer. Murray, a former four-star player from Tampa (Fla.) Plant, is the more mobile of the two and ran a variation of the spread in high school.
The Bulldogs need to upgrade their passing attack, and Sanders -- a former three-star prospect from Duncan (S.C.) Byrnes -- has a chance to play a big role this fall. Another redshirt freshman to watch for Mississippi State is QB Tyler Russell, a former four-star player from Meridian (Miss.) High.
Butterfield, a three-star prospect from Hot Springs (Ark.) Lake Hamilton, was one of the headliners in the Red Wolves' 2009 class. He'll have a chance to compete with sophomore Ryan Aplin for Arkansas State's vacant quarterback job.
FAU needs to rebuild its receiving corps, and Davis is a guy who will get a chance to make an impact. He's a former two-star signee from Coral Springs (Fla.) Coral Springs Charter School with good size (6-3/190) and speed.
The Warhawks lose All-Sun Belt performer LaGregory Sapp, and Williams -- a former two-star prospect -- looks as if he will be the guy to step in to replace Sapp. Coincidentally, Sapp and Williams hail from the same high school, Monroe (La.) Ouachita Parish.
The Blue Raiders are looking for two new starters at linebacker, and Allen could fill one of the spots. He is a former two-star prospect from Villa Rica (Ga.) High who has good size (6-3/220) and off-the-charts athleticism for a linebacker.
With just one returning starter, the Trojans are looking to rebuild their secondary. A cornerback spot is open, and Perez -- a former two-star prospect from Mayo (Fla.) Lafayette County -- could nail down the job with a strong spring. The Trojans received stellar cornerback play this past season from redshirt freshman Bryan Willis.
How bad was Fresno State's defense? The Bulldogs don't lose a linebacker off the two-deep from the end of last season, but Toma -- a former two-star prospect from Sacramento (Calif.) Grant -- still could crack the rotation on the outside.
The Warriors lose Blaze Soares and R.J. Kiesel-Kauhane, their top two tacklers and the only linebackers who started every game last season. At Long Beach (Calif.) Poly, Daily-Lyles -- a former two-star prospect -- was overlooked as he played on a defense that included two UCLA signees and a Nebraska signee.
The Aggies' quarterback play was dismal this past season as Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls combined for six touchdowns and 17 interceptions. With Rust in the mix along with junior college quarterback Matt Christian, new coordinator Mike Dunbar will have a full-fledged quarterback competition on his hands. Rust was a three-star prospect out of Lakeside (Calif.) El Capitan.
Utah State hopes to become the 2010 version of Idaho, reaching a bowl game for the first time since 1997. With QB Diondre Borel and RB Robert Turbin, the offense is becoming increasingly effective. Utah State could use a second receiver to team with Stanley Morrison. Sanders, a former two-star prospect from Oklahoma City Millwood, could be that guy.