2014 NFL Underclassmen Replacements - Defense
Ohio State CB Armani Reeves
Ohio State CB Armani Reeves
Campus Insiders & CFN
Posted Jan 17, 2014

2014 NFL Underclassmen Replacements - Who's the Next Man Up for the stars who left early for the NFL?

Early Entry Replacements

Next Man Up on D for 2014

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Past Early Entry Replacements
- 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007
- 2014 Early-Entries - Good or Bad Move - Offense
- 2014 Early-Entries - Good or Bad Move - Defense

- 2014 NFL Underclassmen Replacements - Offense

S Dion Bailey, USC
Opens the door for… Leon McQuay III. Troy's new staff will have multiple options at safety, all of which should create more playing time for McQuay, a rising true freshman with the versatility and size to play all over. The 6-1, 190-pounder debuted with 19 tackles and five pass breakups.

DE Carl Bradford, Arizona State
Opens the door for… Chans Cox. Cox was a big get for Todd Graham a year ago, but even more so now that Bradford is gone. Cox redshirted in his first year, getting bigger and stronger in the weight room. He'll be one of the ASU outside linebackers who'll get auditioned for Bradford's hybrid Devil spot, which puts a premium on rushing the passer.

CB Bashaud Breeland, Clemson
Opens the door for… Martin Jenkins. Two new cornerbacks will be broken in for the Tigers by the time the 2014 season rolls around. Jenkins figures to be one of them. The senior-to-be lacks ideal size at the position, but he's a veteran who started four games a year ago.

S Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, Alabama
Opens the door for…Jarrick Williams. With Landon Collins expected to lock down strong safety, Williams will have an opportunity to win the free safety job. He got plenty of reps a year ago at the Star position of the defensive backfield, giving him a slight edge on Geno Smith in the race to win a job.

DE Jadeveon Clowney, South Carolina
Opens the door for… Gerald Dixon. There was never any doubt about Clowney's future, which allowed South Carolina to prepare accordingly. Dixon is one of the young ends who received more reps toward the end of 2013 year, finishing with 15 stops. He's first in line for a promotion next fall.

DE Scott Crichton, Oregon State
Opens the door for… Lavonte Barnett. While Dylan Wynn will hold down the other side of the bookend, the Beavers need Barnett to come into his own now that he's starting the second half of his career. He only had three stops in 2013, but the staff likes his potential to get into the pocket.

S Jonathan Dowling, Western Kentucky
Opens the door for…Ricardo Singh. Dowling's decision will likely prop Singh up to the top of the depth chart for the first time in his career. The junior—and perennial reserve—is coming off his busiest season with the ‘Toppers, logging eight tackles in 10 games.

DE Kony Ealy, Missouri
Opens the door for… Markus Golden and … Shane Ray. Michael Sam has graduated and now Ealy is gone as well. Welcome to the spotlight, Golden and Ray. Both Tigers are capable of becoming household names outside just the SEC after combining for 22 tackles for loss and 11 sacks in 2013.

DT Dominique Easley, Florida
Opens the door for… Darious Cummings. The Gators have had months to prep for life after Easley, who tore his ACL during the season. Still, it makes replacing him no less easy. Cummings and fellow junior Leon Orr are the veterans of a position that'll be hunting for capable disruptors on the inside next year.

DT Ego Ferguson, LSU
Opens the door for… Quentin Thomas. Thomas filled in for Ferguson in the Outback Bowl. Now, the sophomore gets to do it on a full-time basis. Thomas provided depth within the rotation for the Tigers last season, making nine tackles, including one in the bowl game.

OT Cameron Fleming, Stanford
Opens the door for… Kyle Murphy. Murphy is going to get his first really good opportunity to approach the enormous expectations that accompanied his signing in 2012. The five-star pass protector has been in the rotation the past two seasons, even starting a pair of games as a true freshman.

LB Khairi Fortt, Cal
Opens the door for… Lucas King. The Bears got only one year from Fortt, a Penn State transfer, but it was a solid one. The versatile King started games at both outside positions a year ago, positioning himself for an expanded role in his final season at Cal.

CB Vic Hampton, South Carolina
Opens the door for… Rico McWilliams. The graduation of Jimmy Legree and exit of Hampton leave the Gamecocks a little naked at corner entering 2014. McWilliams is suddenly a very important piece of the defensive puzzle in Columbia. As a redshirt freshman, the Georgia native saw a hint of action in eight regular season games.

LB Adrian Hubbard, Alabama
Opens the door for… Dillon Lee. Lee is the sensible choice to replace Hubbard at strongside, especially after serving as the backup a season ago. The sophomore has good size and instincts to go along with a growing body of work that includes 16 tackles in 13 games off the bench in 2013.

CB Kameron Jackson, Cal
Opens the door for… Adrian Lee. Lee now has an opportunity to go from spot starter in 2013 to full-timer next fall. Next season will be his fifth with the program, so the coaching staff is confident that he'll be able to handle a promotion and more of a leadership role in Berkeley.

DT Timmy Jernigan, Florida State
Opens the door for…Eddie Goldman. While Goldman played on the outside a season ago, the 6-4, 310-pounder has an ideal frame to slide inside to help support the Seminoles at tackle. As one of the nation's elite players from the 2012 recruiting class, he's ready to break out after scratching the surface in the lineup in 2013.

DT Anthony Johnson, LSU
Opens the door for… Christian LaCouture. Another year, another swath of early entries to the NFL that Les Miles must replace. As his first season progressed, LaCouture worked his way up the depth chart. The four-star recruit played in all 13 games, made 11 tackles and took the first steps toward winning a job in 2014.

DE Demarcus Lawrence, Boise State
Opens the door for… Beau Martin. While he lacks Lawrence's explosiveness, Martin did provide a spark off the bench for the Broncos in 2013. The try-hard former walk-on—and Colorado State-Pueblo transfer—chipped in with seven stops for loss and four sacks to rank No. 2 on the team behind Lawrence.

DE Aaron Lynch, South Florida
Opens the door for… Eric Lee. As if Willie Taggart doesn't already have enough problems, he and his staff must now completely revamp the D-line. While Lee didn't contribute last fall, the starter from 2012 will be counted on to inject some speed and tenacity into the Bull pass rush.

CB Terrance Mitchell, Oregon
Opens the door for… Dior Mathis. Welcome to your proving ground, Dior. Mathis has spent his entire career coming off the bench and pitching in on special teams. However, the speedster from Detroit will spend his senior year attempting to bring stability to a Duck defensive backfield that's starting over.

DT Viliami Moala, Cal
Opens the door for…Jacobi Hunter. The Bears went hard after JUCO defensive tackles, but Hunter has the inside track on Moala's old job. The Houston native broke into the rotation as a true freshman, starting the Oregon State game and chipping in with 18 tackles in nine games.

NT Louis Nix III, Notre Dame
Opens the door for… Jarron Jones. The Irish got an untimely preview of life after Nix, who missed the end of the season to a knee injury. Jones filled in with a switch from end that should become permanent in 2014. He's a talented 6-5, 305-pounder, who peaked with seven tackles in the BYU game.

DE Jeoffrey Pagan, Alabama
Opens the door for… D.J. Pettway. Pagan may have cleared the way for Pettway to recapture his rookie form of 2012. He was dismissed from the program less than a year ago, spent the fall at Eastern Mississippi Community College and was allowed back just last month. As a true freshman, Pettway showed signs of becoming an every-down player.

LB Ronald Powell, Florida
Opens the door for… Neiron Ball. Ball has the size and the run-stopping skills to be the successor for the Gators at strongside. He started seven games on the outside in 2013, closing the year with 25 tackles and a sack. Ball is a former Courage Award winner at Florida after returning from a serious vascular defect.

S Calvin Pryor, Louisville
Opens the door for… Gerod Holliman. Holliman backed up both Pryor and senior Hakeem Smith in the team's bowl game, so the staff will have its choice where to line up the sophomore in 2014. Holliman is a former top recruit out of Miami, who's ready to take the next step in his Cardinal career.

CB Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida
Opens the door for… Brian Poole. Poole's quest for a starting job in his junior year just got a whole lot simpler. It would have been tough to unseat Purifoy or rookie standout Vernon Hargreaves, but now Poole will be counted on to take the next step after making 32 tackles and two picks off the bench.

DT Kelcy Quarles, South Carolina
Opens the door for… J.T. Surratt. Quarles joins Jadeveon Clowney as an early entry, robbing the Gamecocks of their two best linemen. Surratt is a returning starter, so his role isn't expected to change. His exposure in front of scouts, though, might now that he's out of the shadow of two outstanding players.

S Ed Reynolds, Stanford
Opens the door for… Kyle Olugbode. Not only is Reynolds heading out the door, but so is his free safety backup, senior Devon Carrington. The Cardinal might consider auditioning Olugbode, a two-time letterwinner who's spent his career at strong safety.

CB Marcus Roberson, Florida
Opens the door for… Nick Washington. With Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy leaving school early, the Gators will be down to three scholarship cornerbacks in the spring. Washington could be the first man off the bench, backing up Vernon Hargreaves and Brian Poole. Washington spent his rookie year rehabbing following shoulder surgery.

CB Bradley Roby, Ohio State
Opens the door for… Armani Reeves. When Roby missed the first two games of 2013, it was Reeves who stepped into the lineup. Now, the sophomore gets to succeed the All-Big Ten performer on a full-time basis. Reeves earned valuable reps all year, both on defense and on special teams.

LB Ryan Shazier, Ohio State
Opens the door for… Trey Johnson. The Buckeyes' depth worries deepened after Shazier announced he was leaving. Curtis Grant and Joshua Perry are returning starters, with Johnson hoping to fill the third slot. He backed up Shazier as a true freshman, and had 11 tackles in six games.

LB Yawin Smallwood, Connecticut
Opens the door for… Jon Hicks. The Huskies are losing the heart-and-soul of their D from the last two years. Hicks settled into the backup spot as a redshirt freshman, and will battle during the offseason to land a job alongside mainstay Jefferson Ashiru and possibly Brandon Steg.

S Vinnie Sunseri, Alabama
Opens the door for…Landon Collins. Collins has to get on the field somewhere, a mandate that becomes a whole lot easier now that Sunseri is out of the picture. Collins is a more natural strong safety, the position played by Sunseri before he was injured last fall. Collins also started two games at free safety when Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was suspended in early October.

DE Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame
Opens the door for… Isaac Rochell. Depth is going to be a problem up front for the Irish, with Sheldon Day standing out as the only returning starter. Rochell will get an opportunity to move into the lineup after laying a foundation with 10 tackles in 11 appearances.

OG Trai Turner, LSU
Opens the door for… Fehoko Fanaika. Fanaika is one of the biggest linemen in the SEC, a 6-6, 350-pounder who served as a backup on the interior a year ago. If he can maintain his weight and fine-tune his blocking, the former JUCO transfer ought to nab a starting gig as early as the spring.

DE George Uko, USC
Opens the door for… J.R. Tavai. The new staff was going to need to find a way to get the frenetic Tavai on the field this season. This decision from Uko just makes it that much easier. One of the most versatile Trojan defenders, Tavai largely came off the bench, yet still earned honorable mention All-Pac-12.

- 2014 NFL Underclassmen Replacements - Offense