Just took a brief look at the roster to try to get an idea how we will be looking next year. We lose three starters on offense. Lonnie Pryor
, EJ Manuel and Rodney Smith. Benjamin has more potential than Smith if he gets the nod, LP is hard to replace, and who knows at QB, although Winston was a five star recruit, the top of his class. That doesn't necessarily translate, but its not a bad place to start. Loads of returning talent, lots of support people to make a QB better. I think our offense could be even better, especially since its my personal opinion that QB was our weakness all season. I also believe we could improve with a dedicated OC. Provide an influx of fresh ideas.
On defense, the news isn't as good. Tank Carradine, Everette Dawkins, Brandon Jenkins, Amp McCloud, Jacobbi McDaniel
, Nick Moody and Vince Williams are all gone. In my totally uninformed opinion, there is a very strong likelihood that Bjorn Werner and Xavier Rhodes
would be taken far enough up the draft to make it likely that they may be gone too. Also gone, Mark Stoops, who took our defense from terrible to top twenty. We recruited extremely well for the defensive linemen positions last year, so there is hope for the future, I'm just not sure how soon some of the five stars will make an impact. It's hard to replace three defensive ends who healthy, any of which could be taken in the first round of he NFL draft.
Xavier Rhodes, in my opinion, is the best corner we've had in a long long time. Corner becomes more crucial without a dominant pass rush. Karlos Williams
should get more reps depending on which position he'll be assigned, and he can be special. We need to recruit some serious linebacking talent. With the losses anticipated, including the coach, I'm skeptical if we can be as good on the defensive side of the ball next year. Please let me know if I'm missing something. Those DE's saved us. If for some reason Rhodes and Werner stay, then our defense, I believe, can be just as good or maybe better depending on the coaching move.
Last, we will be losing the NCAA all time kicking scoring leader. Hopkins was a stud. Even Janikowski would only be an equal replacement there. No way to improve the position.
Depending on how quickly the defensive line gets up to speed, I think we have the potential for a good season. Hopefully another ACC title if not more.