Kirby Smart¡¯s Georgia brings back an estimated 17 starters and a whole lot of talent in 2017. Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports
Game Kids Kelvin Beachum Jersey Thanks to huge amounts of annual roster turnover and a general variance of skill and consistency between 18-to-22-year-olds, college football remains damn near impossible to predict from year to year, beyond a few obvious things. But that, of course, is why we love it so dearly.
There¡¯s at least one simple way to start predicting who will be good next season. That¡¯s eyeing teams¡¯ depth charts and picking out who returns the most.
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The intrepid Phil Steele does this with his annual preview magazine, and he¡¯s posted on his website a chart with all 130 teams¡¯ returning starters. Attempting to use raw starter totals doesn¡¯t always capture each team¡¯s nuance, but it¡¯s a good start. Our Bill Connelly has improved upon raw starter numbers with his returning production chart.
So, let¡¯s use them both to try and find some answers to who brings back what, and what it says about the 2017 season.
1. Texas has a load coming back, so don¡¯t worry much about that recruiting class.
Yes, it was a shock to see the Longhorns struggle recruiting-wise in the 2017 class. They only signed one of the top 20 players in the state and had their worst class of the rankings era. But when you dig deeper, Texas has a good amount of talent coming back to build on the transitional recruiting class.
The Longhorns bring back 10 defensive starters and seven offensive starters, per Steele. Some are excellent, like offensive tackle Connor Williams.
2. The Big Ten¡¯s Michigan teams lose a ton.