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Texas A&M Football

Texas A&M only one of many teams with uncertainty heading into 2021

February 1, 2021

The tasks of reconstructing and repairing college football teams can cause angst. Rebuilding teams often recede.

The Aggies can relate.

Texas A&M must replace quarterback Kellen Mond. The offensive line that will lose four starters must be refurbished. Aggies could not be blamed if they have reservations for 2021.

Relax. A&M obviously has significant holes to fill, but the Aggies are by no means alone.

In fact, most of the nine ‘Power 5’ opponents on Texas A&M’s 2021 schedule have as much — if not more — rebuilding to do than the Aggies.

Here’s a look at what those teams must replace in 2021:

The Tuscaloosa News-USA TODAY Sports
The Crimson Tide’s championship-winning team was absolutely loaded on offense, and the program must find a way to replace three players that finished in the top five of the Heisman vote in 2021. 


2020 record: 13-0
NFL draft early entries: DT Christian Barmore; QB Mac Jones; CB Patrick Surtain; WR Jaylen Waddle
Transfer portal: None of significance
Departing seniors: G Deonte Brown; C Landon Dickerson; TE Miller Forristall; RB Najee Harris; OT Alex Leatherwood; LB Dylan Moses, WR DeVonta Smith
Overview: Though always loaded with talent, even Alabama might have trouble replacing all it lost. Nine first-team All-SEC selections are departing. Six were All-Americans. Seven are projected as possible first-round picks. One — receiver DeVonta Smith — won the Heisman Trophy. A constellation of five-star prospects remain. But the next one isn’t necessarily as good as the last one.


2020 record: 3-7
NFL draft early entries: RB Rakeem Boyd
Transfer portal: LB Deon Edwards
Departing seniors: QB Feleipe Franks, DT Jonathan Marshall
Overview: Franks’ departure leaves the Razorbacks unproven at quarterback. Marshall was solid against the run. Boyd has been a 1,000-yard rusher. However, the Hogs cannot complain. All-SEC linebacker Grant Morgan, receiver De’Vion Warren and left tackle Myron Cunningham head a list of nine seniors who opted to return.


2020 record: 6-4
NFL draft early entries: WR Anthony Schwartz, S Jamien Sherwood, CB Christian Tutt, WR Seth Williams
Transfer portal: DE Big Kat Bryant; DT Daquan Newkirk, RB D.J. Williams
Departing seniors: S Jordyn Peters, DT Tyrone Truesdell
Overview: New coach Bryan Harsin has some significant holes to patch up. Auburn lost its top three receivers to the draft. Technically, senior DT Tyrone Truesdell hasn’t announced his future intentions, but nobody on The Plains expects him to return. All-SEC DE Big Kat Bryant is in the transfer portal. Two productive members of the secondary opted for early entry into the draft.


2020 record: 4-2
NFL draft early entries: OT William Sherman
Transfer portal: WR K.D. Nixon; LB Aril Jones; S Derrion Rakestraw
Departing seniors: DT Mustafa Johnson
Overview: The Buffaloes got a break with four seniors opting to return, including quarterback Sam Noyer and linebacker Nate Landman, who’s probably their best player. Sherman and Johnson were All-Pac 12 selections. They’ll be missed. Nixon, Jones and Rakestraw weren’t outstanding but were productive.


2020 record: 5-5
NFL draft early entries: WR Ja’Marr Chase*; CB Kary Vincent*; DT Tyler Shelvin*; WR Terrace Marshall*
Transfer portal: Arik Gilbert
Senior departures: LB Jabril Cox; S JaCoby Stevens
Overview: Unlike last year the Tigers have gotten lucky with top players foregoing the draft. T Austin Deculus, G Ed Ingram, Center Liam Shanahan and G Chasen Hines — all draft eligible starters — are among 13 Tigers that chose to return. The list also includes DT Glen Logan and LBs Andre Anthony, Damone Clark and Micah Baskerville. LSU did not come out unscathed, however. Star receiver Terrace Marshall opted for early entry and rising tight end Arik Gilbert opted for the transfer portal. That’s 83 catches and more than 1,000 receiving yards that must be replaced. Senior S JaCoby Stevens and LB Jabril Cox also opted for the draft. Stevens led LSU in tackles last season. Cox was third.

*— opted out of 2020 season

Ole Miss

2020 record: 4-5
NFL draft early entries: WR Elijah Moore
Transfer portal: DE Ryder Anderson
Departing seniors: TE Kenny Yeboah; OT Royce Newman (senior)
Overview: WR Elijah Moore and TE Kenny Yeboah combined for almost half of Ole Miss’ receiving yards and touchdowns last season. They’ll be missed. So too will DE Ryder Anderson, probably the Rebels most active defensive lineman. Overall, though, the Rebels came out OK with LBs Lakia Henry and Jacquez Jones, DE Sam Williams and several receivers returning.

Craig Bisacre
While most of the offensive production returns for the Bulldogs in 2021, Mississippi State must find out how to replace many of its top defensive players next season. 

Mississippi State

2020 record: 3-7
NFL draft early entries: S Marcus Murphy
Transfer portal: K Jace Christmann, 25 others
Departing seniors: RB Kylin Hill; LB Errol Thompson; DE Kobe Jones; DE Marquiss Spencer; WR Osirus Mitchell, OL Dareuan Parker
Overview: It’s more like an overhaul in Starkville. No less than 26 players have transferred since coach Mike Leach took over. On the list are once-projected starting quarterbacks Keytaon Thompson and Garrett Shrader. That won’t be a problem. The Bulldogs are set with Will Rogers directing the offense. The problem is the defense, which was very good in 2020, has been stripped. LB Errol Thompson, the leading tackler, is leaving. So is DE Marquiss Spencer, the top defensive lineman. S Marcus Murphy opted to enter the draft. Those losses will be hard to overcome.


2020 record: 5-5
NFL draft early entries: LB Nick Bolton; G Larry Borom
Transfer portal: CB Adam Sparks
Departing seniors: RB Larry Rountree; FS Joshuah Bledsoe
Overview: The Tigers aren’t losing much in terms of quantity, but quality is a problem. All-SEC LB Nick Bolton’s decision to enter the draft is a significant subtraction from a defense that was just so-so against the run. FS Joshuah Bledsoe was arguably their best defensive back. Further, Larry Rountree was a 1,000-yard rusher. He won’t be easily replaced.

South Carolina

2020 record: 2-8
NFL draft early entries: CB Jaycee Horn, CB Israel Mukuamu, LB Ernest Jones
Transfer portal: DT Keir Thomas, S Jammie Robinson, S Shilo Sanders
Departing seniors: WR Shi Smith, QB Collin Hill; G Sadarius Hutcherson
Overview: New coach Shane Beamer caught a break with several seniors coming back on defense. None are in the secondary, however. CBs Jaycee Horn and Israel Mukuamu opted for early entry into the NFL draft. S Jammie Robinson entered the transfer portal. S R.J. Roderick hasn’t announced his intentions, but he isn’t expected back in Columbia. To further complicate matters, DT Keir Thomas transferred to Florida State and LB Ernest Jones entered the draft. Jones led the Gamecocks in tackles in 2019 and 2020. That’s a lot of losses for a defense that ranked 12th in the SEC in points allowed.

Discussion from...

Texas A&M only one of many teams with uncertainty heading into 2021

10,959 Views | 3 Replies | Last: 3 yr ago by Agsuffering@bulaw
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We have a ton of questions on offense but thankfully a strong defense will anchor the team going into next season! Thanks OB
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26 players transferring for MSU?! Plus draft enrollees and seniors they basically lost two whole recruiting classes in one off-season. MSU gonna be ABYSMAL next year.
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OB, I appreciate your optimism. I think we are good again, but do not get to the next level this year.

OL is by far the most challenging position to build up. Don't know where stats can be found, but would guess not many teams succeed when replacing 4 OL starters. Most teams can plug in a fish RB or even WR if necessary.

Bama must only replace 3, and they have a roster full of top 100 players. What they may lack in technique, they will make up for in raw athletecism.

MSU should be terrible, but the rest should be better. Going 10-2 would be a great accomplishment, but would be seen by many as a step back.
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