College football teams hurt most by 2021 NFL Draft declarations

Mac Jones, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)
Mac Jones, Alabama Crimson Tide. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images) /

Dozens of outstanding college football players have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

With the 2020 college football season firmly in the rearview mirror, many of the sports’ top prospects have declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

Because this past season did not count towards one’s eligibility, many star players precious declarations were a bit more premeditated. Though some took advantage of having that extra year of eligibility to get better on campus, others believed this past season was what it took to get them ready for the next level. Naturally, some teams will have to adjust after losing key players.

College football teams hurt most by NFL Draft declarations

Alabama Crimson Tide (6)

  • DT Christian Barmore
  • QB Mac Jones
  • LB Dylan Moses
  • WR DeVonta Smith
  • CB Patrick Surtain II
  • WR Jaylen Waddle

The Alabama Crimson Tide will lose a handful of early entrants to the draft, including Heisman winner, DeVonta Smith. Also leaving the national champions include quarterback Mac Jones, cornerback Patrick Surtain II and wide receiver Jaylen Waddle. Again, this is what you should expect to see anytime you are dealing with a team that just won a national title. Look for most of these guys to be sure-fire, first-round picks.

BYU Cougars (10)

  • LB Zayne Anderson
  • TE Matt Bushman
  • OT Brady Christensen
  • OT Chandon Herring
  • OL Tristen Hoge
  • WR Dax Milne
  • DL Khyiris Tonga
  • S Troy Warner
  • CB Chris Wilcox
  • QB Zach Wilson

After an incredible season in the Group of 5, Kalani Sitake’s BYU Cougars will be decimated by entrants into the upcoming draft. Headlining these 10 entrants is none other than star quarterback Zach Wilson. He is expected to be a top-five pick and will be either second or third quarterback taken this spring. Expect BYU to pull back significantly in the 2021 college season.

Clemson Tigers (4)

  • OT Jackson Carman
  • RB Travis Etienne
  • QB Trevor Lawrence
  • WR Amari Rodgers

Admittedly, the Clemson Tigers do not lose a ton to the draft in terms of overall numbers. However, they are losing four key pieces from their offense, including their two best players in quarterback Trevor Lawrence and running back Travis Etienne. Lawrence is expected to be the No. 1 overall pick by the Jacksonville Jaguars. Etienne is likely going in the first round as well.

Florida Gators (7)

  • DT Kyree Campbell
  • S Shawn Davis
  • WR Trevon Grimes
  • TE Kyle Pitts
  • WR Kadarius Toney
  • QB Kyle Trask
  • CB Marco Wilson

Expect the Florida Gators to pull back next season. This is because they will have lost their entire offensive identity from the year before. Former Gators standouts turning pro include tight end Kyle Pitts, wide receiver Kadarius Toney and quarterback Kyle Trask. Pitts is a lock to go in the first round. Trask could be the sixth quarterback taken. Toney will certainly be a top-100 pick this year.

Georgia Bulldogs (12)

  • CB Tyson Campbell
  • OL Ben Cleveland
  • CB D.J. Daniel
  • EDGE Malik Herring
  • OL Trey Hill
  • DB Richard LeCounte III
  • TE Tre McKitty
  • QB Jamie Newman
  • EDGE Azeez Ojulari
  • LB Monty Rice
  • CB Eric Stokes
  • CB Mark Webb

The Georgia Bulldogs will have a completely new secondary next season, as all members of its dime package defense have turned pro. Though the Dawgs may not have a ton of first-round talents entering the draft this year, keep an eye on Azeez Ojulari out on the edge, as well as cornerback Tyson Campbell. Look for Georgia to have double-digit players drafted in 2021.

LSU Tigers (8)

  • TE Tory Carter
  • WR Ja’Marr Chase
  • LB Jabril Cox
  • WR Terrrace Marshall Jr.
  • WR Racy McMath
  • DL Tyler Shelvin
  • LB JaCoby Stevens
  • CB Kary Vincent Jr.

2020 was not particularly kind to the Bayou Bengals. Despite winning the national championship in 2019, they finished the following season below .500. While they were more decimated by the draft last season, LSU does lose a good bit of talent to the league in 2021, none bigger than 2019 Biletnikoff winner Ja’Marr Chase. He opted out of the 2020 season and will be a first-round pick.

Michigan Wolverines (7)

  • WR Nico Collins
  • TE Nick Eubanks
  • RB Chris Evans
  • OL Jalen Mayfield
  • LB Cam McGrone
  • DE Kwity Paye
  • CB Ambry Thomas

The Michigan Wolverines did not even win a home game during the 2020 season. Even though it was a massively disappointing season for Jim Harbaugh’s team, seven players of note will be entering this spring’s draft. The best player turning pro is offensive lineman Jalen Mayfield. He initially opted out of the 2020 season, but instead gave it one more shot with the Wolverines.

Notre Dame Fighting Irish (9)

  • EDGE Adetokunbo Ogundeji
  • OL Aaron Banks
  • QB Ian Book
  • OT Robert Hainsey
  • EDGE Daelin Hayes
  • CB Nick McCloud
  • WR Jaon McKinley
  • LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah
  • TE Tommy Tremble

As expected, a College Football Playoff team like the Notre Dame Fighting Irish will lose several players from last year’s team to the upcoming draft. Some of those key contributors to the 2020 squad declaring are offensive lineman Aaron Banks, quarterback Ian Book and linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah. Banks and Owusu-Koramoah are destined to go in the first round this spring.

Ohio State Buckeyes (7)

  • P Drue Chrisman
  • OL Wyatt Davis
  • QB Justin Fields
  • K Blake Haubeil
  • OL Josh Myers
  • RB Trey Sermon
  • CB Shaun Wade

The national runner-up Ohio State Buckeyes will lose several stars to the draft on both sides of the ball. The most notable player turning pro is quarterback Justin Fields, who will be either the second or third quarterback taken this spring. Other entrants from the 2020 Ohio State team include offensive lineman Wyatt Davis, running back Trey Sermon and cornerback Shaun Wade.

Oklahoma Sooners (6)

  • CB Tre Brown
  • OT Adrian Ealy
  • OL Creed Humphrey
  • CB Tre Norwood
  • EDGE Ronnie Perkins
  • RB Rhamondre Stevenson

Though the Oklahoma Sooners will not be losing a ton to the draft, they will be without a handful of key contributors from the 2020 team next season. Some of the guys entering the upcoming draft include offensive lineman Creed Humphrey, pass-rusher Ronnie Perkins and running back Rhamondre Stevenson. Overall, Oklahoma is in fantastic shape to repeat as Big 12 champions.

Oklahoma State Cowboys (10)

  • LB Calvin Bundage
  • S Kolby Harvell-Peel
  • RB Chuba Hubbard
  • OT Teven Jenkins
  • LB Amen Ogbongbemiga
  • LB Curtis Robinson
  • OL Ry Schneider
  • S Tre Sterling
  • WR Dillon Stoner
  • WR Tylan Wallace
  • CB Rodarius Williams

The Oklahoma State Cowboys will see a mass exodus of talent heading towards the upcoming draft. Mike Gundy’s team loses several important pieces on both sides of the ball in 2021. Some of those departing players include running back Chuba Hubbard, linebacker Amen Ogbongbemiga and wide receiver Tylan Wallace. The Pokes missed a great opportunity to win the Big 12 in 2020.

Oregon Ducks (8)

  • S Brady Breeze
  • DT Austin Faoliu
  • CB Thomas Graham Jr.
  • S Jevon Holland
  • TE Hunter Kampmoyer
  • S Nick Pickett
  • DL Jordon Scott
  • OT Penei Sewell

The Pac-12 champion Oregon Ducks will lose their fair share of talent to the draft. Though it was a down year for the Ducks, they will officially part ways with the best non-quarterback talent entering the draft in offensive lineman Penei Sewell. He is a projected top-five pick, as he will not be on the board longer than the Cincinnati Bengals picking at No. 5. Can you say Anthony Muñoz?

Texas Longhorns (9)

  • WR Tarik Black
  • S Chris Brown
  • OT Samuel Cosmi
  • WR Brennan Eagles
  • QB Sam Ehlinger
  • DL Ta’Quon Graham
  • EDGE Joseph Ossai
  • S Caden Sterns
  • DB Josh Thompson

It is the end of an era in Austin, as several former standouts under Tom Herman depart his former Texas Longhorns program. Not sticking around to play ball for Steve Sarkisian include offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi, quarterback Sam Ehlinger and safety Caden Sterns. It is a shame none of these nine players helped Texas finally get back after a down decade in the Big 12.

Overall, some of the departures came as no surprise whatsoever. Plenty of college players declare early every year. Unfortunately, it does not always pan out for them. For every Penei Sewell or a Ja’Marr Chase, you will have a horror story about a guy who should have stayed and benefited from one more year of college ball. Regardless, it is too late now for them to back out at this point.

Which college teams do you think were hurt the most by the 2021 NFL Draft declarations?

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