These college football players will replace top stars who left early for the 2023 NFL Draft.

The 2023 NFL Draft process is fully underway as the deadline for draft-eligible underclassmen to report arrivals and departures passed this week, with Monday being the deadline to submit paperwork. There is now a 72-hour window for reconsideration before final approval of the league drop on Friday.

Some of the announcements came as no surprise to fans and likely their coaches, but there was drama surrounding several big stars leading up to Monday’s deadline. But now that these players — all at least three years removed from high school with college eligibility remaining — have decided to move on to the next level, we here on the side of college football will turn the page to the next wave of stars coming to fill their shoes.

With much more to learn before the 2023 season begins, including another transfer portal after spring practice, these are just projections of how some of the best players in college football will be traded at their formal school. But these are undoubtedly the key names to know before spring training begins; they will at least be saddled with the expectations of taking on more responsibility with the absence of first-round NFL draft talent in their position rooms.

Replacement — Ty Simpson or Jalen Milroe: When 2021 Heisman Trophy winner Bryce Young was injured during the 2022 season, it was Milroe who was chosen to lead the offense. The former four-star prospect was able to use his size and athleticism effectively, but the offense had a completely different look in terms of passing offense. With Young under center, Alabama ran the ball about 31 times per game. When Milroe played the entire game against Texas A&M, the Crimson Tide threw the ball just 19 times and recorded 51 rushing attempts. Milroe’s passing numbers on the season as a whole (58.5% completion percentage, five touchdowns to three interceptions) left this competition open, though he enters 2023 with more experience than Ty Simpson. It’s been a while since we’ve had a classic Nick Saban quarterback competition, but with Milroe’s experience compared to Simpson’s five-star pedigree, there’s plenty of intrigue in Tuscaloosa. Any potential changes to the offense or offensive personnel and how those changes may affect the quarterback best suited to carry Alabama’s offense in the post-Bryce Young era should also be mentioned here.

Alabama LB Will Anderson

Substitution — Dallas Turner: Turner flashed during his freshman season en route to freshman All-American honors, and in 2022 the former five-star continued to add impressive performances to his resume heading into what should be a breakout third year in 2023. Turner was tied for second in team in sacks (4.0 for -18 yards) and finished fourth in tackles for loss (8.0 for -29 yards), regularly beating blocks and showing his presence in the backfield. A pass-rushing specialist who also flashed his scoop-and-score athleticism against Tennessee, Turner will be one of the best defensive players in the sport through 2023.

Substitute — Jack Miller or Graham Mertz: Things have gotten dangerous for Florida at the quarterback position over the past few months. First, backup Jalen Kitna was kicked from the team after his arrest on child pornography charges, then Anthony Richardson’s decision not only to declare for the NFL draft but also to forego a bowl game left the Gators with former Ohio State quarterback Jack Miller — third-string option on the depth chart — as the last man standing at quarterback duty. Miller, who was also without several key pieces from that offense, was 13 of 22 passing for 180 yards against Oregon State in the Gators’ 30-3 loss. Knowing they needed to increase their depth at the cornerback position, Florida dove into the transfer portal and ended up landing a commitment from Wisconsin running back Graham Mertz. Miller and Mertz were thought to be joined by blue-chip quarterback Jaden Rashada, but with Rashada’s commitment and enrollment now in question, the two former Big Ten signal callers appear to be the best options for Billy Napier heading into Year 2 in Gainesville.

Replacement — Medo Aleksandar: The 6-3, 305-pound freshman has more experienced players ahead of him on the depth chart, but when it comes to projecting the next star from inside Georgia’s defensive line, it’s impossible to ignore Alexander’s ceiling. He missed spring practice recovering from a shoulder injury, but saw action in 12 of Georgia’s 15 games during the national championship. Due to the high level of talent and competition along the defensive line, Alexander may not even be a full-time starter next season; Carter was also listed as a backup during his sophomore season in 2021. But the big No. 99 is a player to keep an eye on when the two-time national champions begin their quest for a three-peat in the fall.

Replacement — Kamari Lassiter or Nyland Green: We wanted to highlight two players here because either could make a big jump in 2023, and the idea of ​​actually “replacing” Ringo could have as much to do with how Georgia wants to organize its secondary depending on the opponent. Kirby Smart’s staff listed their defense with a left cornerback, who was Ringo, and a right cornerback, who was Lassiter. As a starter all season, Lassiter saw a lot of action from running backs who didn’t want to throw themselves at Ringo and played especially well against Tennessee and TCU in the national title game. Whether Georgia will move him to the other side of the defense is still unknown, but he will be the next cornerback to catch the attention of the NFL. Ringo’s backup at left corner in 2022 was Green, a former four-star prospect from Covington, Ga., who is entering his third year with the program. Green played in 10 of Georgia’s 15 games, both as a backup defensive back and on special teams.

Substitution — Amarius Mims: This is arguably the easiest pick because Georgia has already identified Mims as the top tackle option behind both starters Broderick Jones and Warren McClendon. Mims has taken the field regularly in 2022, and now it will be time for the former five-star to become the next Georgia star in line for NFL Draft attention. It will be some well-deserved attention for a player who put his name on the transfer portal in April 2022 after playing just six games during his freshman season and spending the spring behind Jones and McClendon. He didn’t play in the Bulldogs’ spring game, even took an official visit to entertain other options, but ultimately removed his name from the portal and committed to 2022 and beyond with Georgia.

Subs — Mitchell Evans and Jayden Thomas: Mayer was such a weight in Notre Dame’s passing attack, that it won’t be possible to replace him with just one player, or in this case, one position. Mitchell Evans is a candidate to take over at the tight end position and enters the season with some momentum after catching the game-winning touchdown against South Carolina in the Gator Bowl. Wide receiver Jayden Thomas is another name to watch. With Notre Dame looking to surround its quarterback with pass-catching options, Thomas, who has played in all 13 games (seven starts) this season, could be an effective weapon over the middle of the field, where Mayer has done so much damage throughout his career. The Gator Bowl again provides some nice information here, as with Mayer out, we saw Thomas record a season-high five receptions and have his second-best game for receiving yards (66) in the win.

Substitute — Kyle McCord: A two-year backup to Stroud, McCord has been developing Ryan Day’s offense with hopes that this opportunity will present itself in the near future. A five-star prospect out of high school, McCord enrolled early in 2021 but has seen action in just 12 games with one career start over the past two seasons. Now it’s time for McCord to take the reins and deliver on that five-star projection, leading an offense that still boasts one of the best wide receiver rooms in the country with Marvin Harrison Jr. and Emeko Egbuk who are entering their third year of college.

Substitution — Kalen King: The 2023 Nittany Lions hype train was fueled after Penn State’s Rose Bowl win over Utah, but the roster turnover in the defensive backfield is one story worth following as we pick expectations for Penn State next season. Porter has been a superstar this year, so his exit in the NFL draft was no surprise, but the secondary also lost some contributors to the transfer portal. All of this only heightens the need for King to play at an elite level, and the good news for Penn State is that he should be up to the task. King was selected among the top ten by the coaches and media following a season in which he finished third in the nation in interceptions (18) and was twice named Defensive Player of the Year by the coaching staff.

Replacement — Bru McCoy: With Tennessee losing both Biletnikoff Award winner Jalin Hyatt and former All-SEC standout Cedric Tillman, McCoy has plenty of receiving to build his own 2023 NFL Draft highlights. A former five-star prospect coming out of high school, McCoy originally enrolled at USC before spending one spring in Texas, then returning to his home state of California for a three-year career with the Trojans in which he appeared in 17 games with 14 starts. . He transferred to Tennessee in May 2022 and was a solid and consistent weapon in the Vols’ potent passing attack, finishing second on the team in receptions (52) and receptions (667) with four touchdowns. The 6-3, 220-pound wideout is a matchup problem for opposing defenses, and with more targets coming his way in 2023, he should see a rise among the wide receiver ranks in the sport.

Substitution — Cedric Baxter: The loss of Robinson is huge for Texas’ offense, so replacing him will truly be a team-wide effort as responsibility shifts to other contributors and up-and-coming stars. We decided to highlight this up-and-coming star not because he will take over all of Robinson’s carries, but because Steve Sarkisian sounds excited about what he can bring to the offense in terms of immediate impact. As a freshman, Robinson emerged as a star late in the year and started the final six games of the season. We could see a similar situation for Baxter, the consensus five-star prospect out of Orlando ranked as the No. 2 running back in the 2023 cycle by 247Sports. 247Sports national recruiting analyst Andrew Ivins compared Baxter to Joe Mixon, and noted that even heading into his senior high school season, he already “looked the part” physically to be a difference maker at the next level. With both Robinson and Roschon Johnson out of the NFL draft, Texas is rebooting at the position heading into 2023. Redshirt sophomore Jonathan Brooks and Jaydon Blue will have the experience advantage in the snap battle, but keep an eye on Baxter as season takes place in Austin.

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