Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Alabama had a thrilling comeback to win yet another title. It included putting in a freshman quarterback, who hadn’t played a meaningful snap all season long. The game just goes to show that college football is unique and great. While the 2017 season is now over it is time to look ahead to the 2018 season. Here is the early college football top 25 for the 2018 season:

1. Alabama Crimson Tide

While they always lose talent to the NFL, Alabama can replace it. Jalen Hurts or Tua Tagovailoa will lead the offense alongside any of the talented running backs that decide to return to school. Najee Harris found some daylight in the title game and will also be back. The defense will lose a lot more talent to the NFL, but they always step up. A lot of players got experience this season due to injuries.

2. Clemson Tigers

Clemson made a third straight College Football Playoff and will compete for another next season. Kelly Bryant and the talented running backs will be back. Deon Cain and Hunter Renfrow need to make their decisions still, but Clemson can replace them. The defense always reloads and will at the very least have stud defensive tackle Dexter Lawrence to build around.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

J.K. Dobbins (Photo by cleveland.com)

J.T. Barrett may be leaving, but Dwayne Haskins looked good in relief against Michigan. Add him with J.K. Dobbins, Mike Weber and the majority of the offensive line returning and it has the makings of a good offense. The defense will still have Nick Bosa and Dre’Mont Jones, which will help make up a good defensive line.

4. Washington Huskies

The Huskies had a young team this season that saw them replace a lot of NFL talent on defense. Jake Browning should return to school to lead the team at quarterback. Myles Gaskin and Dante Pettis could both be lost to the NFL, but if Gaskin elects to return to school, the offense will be solid. The majority of the defense will return, but will have to fill holes left by Vita Vea and some very good linebackers.

5. Miami Hurricanes

Is Malik Rosier the answer at quarterback? Only time will tell. The Hurricanes should have him, Mark Walton and Ahmmon Richards back to make plays. They do lose a lot on the offensive line, but should be able to replace it. Miami should also get most of their defense back, which includes a great back seven of talented linebackers and a good secondary.

6. Michigan State Spartans

L.J. Scott decided to return to school, giving Michigan State almost all their starters back for next year. After winning ten games this season, they should be expected to compete even more next season. Brian Lewerke is a dual-threat that is expected to improve this offseason. The defense was very young and should also get a lot better next season.

7. Georgia Bulldogs

The Bulldogs just played in the National Championship, but are going to lose a lot of talent, especially on their defense. They could lose up to nine or ten players from the defense, which will not be easy to replace. Georgia has some playmakers on offense returning in Jake Fromm, D’Andre Swift and Riley Ridley. Most of their offensive line also returns.

8. Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin got a huge win when linebacker T.J. Edwards said he was returning for his senior season. He will give the defense some stability, as they lose a lot this offseason. The offense will be expected to pick up the slack, as Jonathan Taylor had a fantastic freshman season and most of his offensive line will return. The question is: How well can Alex Hornibrook play?

9. Oklahoma Sooners

Lincoln Riley did a fantastic job in his first year as head coach, but now has to move on without Baker Mayfield. Kyler Murray was a highly-touted recruit that Riley can mold. Freshman running back Rodney Anderson also returns after having a great season and Rose Bowl. Add those two to wide receiver “Hollywood” Brown and the offense should be set. Defensively, some talent will move on, but the offense is the strength of the team.

10. Virginia Tech Hokies

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Josh Jackson (Photo by cjonline.com)

Josh Jackson had a fantastic freshman season that resulted in nine wins. His progression is what carries this ranking. Travon McMillan and Cam Phillips, his two offensive weapons at running back and wide receiver, are gone. Young receivers will need to step up and they will also need to replace a few offensive linemen. The Hokies will return about six or seven starters on defense, but will need to replace some NFL-level talent.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions 

Saquon Barkley is gone, but Trace McSorley is back again. He will now have to be the focal point of the offense with a new offensive coordinator. Most of the offensive line returns, but a lot of new faces will have to step up on defense, as they had a lot of seniors getting significant playing time.

12. Auburn Tigers

The Tigers had a great season that resulted with them playing in the Cotton Bowl. Auburn gets quarterback Jarrett Stidham back, while Kerryon Johnson is leaving for the NFL. They will lose some quality players on defense, but will get the majority back for 2018.

13. Stanford Cardinal

Bryce Love is likely going to the NFL. The good news for Stanford is they can seemingly plug in a lot of running backs into their system to be productive. K.J. Costello also showed some flashes of being a very good quarterback. They lose more than half of their defense to seniors, but the returning players are solid.

14. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

Both Josh Adams and Equanimeous St. are trying to make it at the next level. Losing Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson deals a significant blow to the offense of Notre Dame. They still have some good offensive linemen, running backs and wide receivers who will step up next season. That only leaves the matter of quarterback. Ian Book and Brandon Wimbush will battle it out in the offseason for the starting role. The seniors leaving the defense will leave a mark, but a lot of players returning have gotten significant playing time due to injuries over the previous few seasons.

15. Boise State Broncos

Boise State has a chance to be in the national spotlight again this year, after fading in the past few seasons. Quarterback Brett Rypien and running back Alexander Mattison return, which should help keep the offense rolling. Losing wide receiver Cedrick Wilson and some offensive linemen will hurt, but they will manage. The defense is young and pretty much all returning next season, meaning they should be dominant.

16. LSU Tigers

The Tigers will have to replace a lot of their offense, but they have some talented recruits waiting to take the team to the next level. Myles Brennan looks to take over at quarterback after seeing action in six games this season. He was a highly-touted recruit that should be able to make plays with another year under his belt. A lot of good players from LSU’s defense will be missing as well, so they’re recruits will need to step up.

17. Michigan Wolverines

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Shea Patterson (Photo by freep.com)

Michigan won the Shea Patterson sweepstakes and the quarterback transfer from Ole Miss. Brandon Peters also showed potential at the position this season. They’ll need skill position players to step up next season. Donovan Peoples-Jones is in store for a big year at wide receiver if the quarterback play is good enough. The defense returns most of its key players. A player to watch is linebacker Devin Bush, who is one of the best in the country.

18. USC Trojans

Sam Darnold helped lead USC back to prominence, but now he is gone. Gone too are running back Ronald Jones and wide receiver Deontay Burnett. Two offensive linemen also graduate, so they will have some big shoes to fill in Los Angeles. A lot of their players on the defensive side of the ball will be testing the NFL Draft waters, so sophomore corner Jack Jones will have to step up and be a leader.

19. West Virginia Mountaineers

Will Grier had a great season for West Virginia and has decided to return to school. With most of his weapons back, Grier should have the Mountaineers in good position to have one of the best offenses in the country once again. While the defense isn’t the strength of the team, a lot of returning players will be good to work with.

20. Florida Atlantic Owls

Florida Atlantic hit a home run when they hired Lane Kiffin. He took a team that was supposed to be very bad and made them a conference championship team. Running back Devin Singletary was one of the most productive running backs in the country this season and will be back for his junior year. A young defense should also improve as a lot more people hop on the “Lane Train”.

21. Kansas State Wildcats

Bill Snyder is back for another season. They won nine games in 2016 and eight games this season with young teams. Now, with a bunch of veterans, the Wildcats are looking to compete more in the Big 12. Wide receiver Byron Pringle will be asked to do a lot for this team, but they will mainly try to run the football. If D.J. Reed decides to return at corner, it should be another solid year for the Wildcats.

22. Northwestern Wildcats

They won ten games this season and will be back for more next season. While their career leading rusher, Justin Jackson, is graduating, they seem to believe freshman Jeremy Larkin can be a workhorse back in his sophomore year. Quarterback Clayton Thorson is also back for next season, but is recovering from a torn ACL in the Music City Bowl. Freshman linebacker Paddy Fisher looks like he will be on of their all-time greats.

23. Florida State Seminoles

Early college football top 25 for the 2018 season

Deondre Francois (photo by gridironnow.com)

Willie Taggart did a good job of turning around Oregon in his one season in Eugene. He is a solid coach who will get some talent returning. With Deondre Francois back at quarterback, Cam Akers at running back and a lot of good receivers, they should be solid on offense. The offensive line has struggled in the last few years, they are young and shold improve. A lot might need to be replaced on defense, but they have recruited well.

24. Mississippi State Bulldogs

If Nick Fitzgerald can recover from a gruesome leg injury, the Bulldogs have the makings of a good team. They get most of their team back, which is encouraging, but Dan Mullen left for Florida. Joe Moorehead will try to make Mississippi State’s offense a lot better, just like he did at Penn State.

25. Texas A&M Aggies

Jimbo Fisher is a great haul for Texas A&M. He will have to work with quarterbacks Kellen Mond and Nick Starkel, but they can be successful. Trayveon Willliams returns at running back, along with a lot of the offensive line, but they will have to replace Christian Kirk. A lot of their best defensive players will be playing on Sundays next year, so Fisher has a little bit of work cut out for him on that side of the ball.

 

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College football preseason 2017 top 25: 20-16

The anticipation is growing for football. It starts this month and fans are excited to see what happens this season after a thrilling finish to the 2016 season. College football preseason polls have no impact on what happens during the season, but it is fun to speculate as to which teams will be doing well in the upcoming season.

This is the second edition of the preseason rankings. The first installment is here.

20. Texas Longhorns

College Football top 25

Shane Buechele (Photo by hookem.com)

Charlie Strong is out and Tom Herman is in. Herman will try to restore the Longhorns to glory after raising Houston’s program to new heights the last two seasons. Last season Texas won five games and returns 17 starters on offense and defense. With Herman and the players coming back, the Longhorns are supposed to take a step forward this season.

Shane Buechele showed flashes as a freshman of being the next great Texas quarterback, and will also be expected to step his game up this season. Eight of his 10 top receivers from last year return with the 6’6″ Collin Johnson being a dynamic player. He will burst onto the college football scene in 2017.

The offensive line returns a lot of returning experience. Connor Williams is a junior left tackle that has been starting since he was a freshman. He will likely be a first round draft pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. The powerful Chris Warren III will take over full time as running back after averaging 6.3 yards per carry in his first two years as a Longhorn. The offense will be high-powered once again, especially with Herman’s blueprint.

Defensively, Texas has been disappointing in the Charlie Strong era. They do return a lot of talent, especially at the linebacker position, where three starters return. They are led by Malik Jefferson, who is extremely talented and one of the best linebackers in the country. In front of Jefferson, three defensive linemen return, with tackle Poona Ford being the most notable.

The secondary hasn’t been producing the NFL talent that they used to and it will likely be a problem for them again. They have four returning starters, but they allowed 258.5 yards per game, so improvements need to be made.

Texas has a decently tough schedule that features non-conference games against Maryland and USC. Games in conference against Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Kansas State and West Virginia could also give them trouble. They will lose to USC and drop two to three other games in the tough conference stretch. The Longhorns are staring a 8-4 record if they win the games they are capable of.

19. Miami Hurricanes

College football top 25

Mark Walton (Photo by: miamiherald.com)

If Brad Kaaya had come back for one more season, Hurricane fans would be off the wall with excitement. They still have a solid team heading into Mark Richt’s second year. Miami was able to finish 9-4 in 2016 capped off with a win in the Russell Athletic Bowl against West Virginia. They have 14 returning starters that should help them compete for an ACC Coastal Division title.

Malik Rosier will likely take over the offense this season after having limited experience the last two seasons. He is a dual-threat quarterback. If he struggles freshman N’Kosi Perry is the only other viable option to play. If they can find a quarterback, this team can be successful. Ahmmon Richards is the best returning play-maker at wide receiver and should break out this season, as the rest of the receivers are unproven.

At running back Mark Walton ran for 1,117 yards and 14 touchdowns last year, but will likely get more touches this season. He will need to take pressure off of the new quarterback. The offensive line returns four starters and should be able to protect the quarterbacks and clear holes for Walton.

The front seven of this team is going to be really good and they are going to need to be for the Hurricanes to be successful. They return all starters on last year’s front seven. Sophomores Joe Jackson and Shaquille Quarterman are players to watch, as Jackson has the most sacks of a returning player, while Quarterman has the most tackles returning.

The secondary is very inexperienced and will need to find guys who can make a difference. Miami had the 18th best scoring defense in 2016, but it will be hard to live up to that with such an inexperienced defensive backfield.

Games in the non-conference schedule aren’t too hard, but they do have a rematch with Notre Dame. Their tougher games in conference are: at Florida State, Georgia Tech, Virginia Tech and at Pittsburgh. Richt should be able to guide this team to at least an 8-4 record with good quarterback play.

18. South Florida Bulls

college football top 25

Quinton Flowers (Photo by orlandosentinel.com)

Charlie Strong goes to a team that will win more games than Texas, but in a worse conference. USF only lost two games last season and ended up beating South Carolina in the Birmingham Bowl. With 16 returning starters, the Bulls are looking to play in a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

Quinton Flowers helped lead USF  to the fourth highest scoring offense in the country with his dual-threat abilities. He accounted for over 4,000 yards of offense and is the leading returning passer and rusher. His partner in crime in the backfield, Marlon Mack, has moved on to the NFL, but D’Ernest Johnson brings some experience at running back and is a pass catching threat out of the backfield.

Johnson is the leading returning receiver, but Marquez Valdez-Scantling will be asked to do a lot more this season. He is a big target at 6’5″ and will need to use his height to create separation. The Bulls return three starters on the offensive line and should have a good unit that allows the offense to thrive once again.

The Bulls return their leading tackler from last year, Auggie Sanchez, who has made 37 career starts already. He will man the middle of the defense at the linebacker position. All of the defensive lineman are returning starters and should help free up Sanchez to get to the ball.

Deatrick Nichols leads an experienced secondary and may have a chance to play in the NFL. The problem is that they give up way too many yards through the air and will need Strong to fix it. He couldn’t fix the defense at Texas, but he does have a lot of returning players to work with at USF.

USF is actually favored in all of their games. They will have tough games against Temple and Houston, but should be able to manage wins. The Bulls will at the very least go 10-2 and win the AAC East, but will likely do better than that. Don’t hold your breath for a College Football Playoff Berth if they go undefeated, because their schedule is really bad. They will be able to get the “Group of Five” bid to a New Year’s Six Bowl Game.

17. Stanford Cardinal

College football top 25

Harrison Phillips (Photo by scout.com)

Two first round picks are gone in Solomon Thomas and Christian McCaffrey, but the Cardinal will be good once again. In 2016 Stanford went 10-3 and beat North Carolina in the Sun Bowl in dramatic fashion. David Shaw has 14 returning starters who are ready to get back to the top of the Pac-12 North.

The quarterback situation is the first thing that needs to be figured out. Keller Chryst was successful last year, but hurt his knee in the bowl game. If he is healthy he should be the starter. If not the job goes to Ryan Burns, who started the 2016 season as the signal-caller for Stanford, or K.J. Costello, a talented newcomer.

Bryce Love will fill the shoes of McCaffrey and be explosive. He is back after averaging a whopping 7.2 yards per rush in his first two seasons. Trenton Irwin and Dalton Schultz are the most experienced pass-catchers returning, but they don’t have the greatest production yet. With four returning starters on the offensive line and a good running back, the Cardinal will look to pound the rock once again in 2017.

Two out of three defensive linemen are returning starters and Harrison Phillips will have to raise his level of productivity from his tackle position. The Cardinal have a lot of experience back at linebacker which should help the scoring defense that ranked 18th last year be very good again.

In the secondary two starters are back. Quenton Meeks is a talented corner and Justin Reid is the leading tackler on the team from his safety position.

The non-conference slate includes games against Rice, San Diego State and Notre Dame, all of which they should be favored in. Their tough games in conference include games with USC, Utath, Oregon, Washington State and Washington. With the amount of talent coming back Stanford bottoms out with an 8-4 record, but could win as many as 10 games.

16. Michigan Wolverines

college football top 25

Mason Cole (Photo by mwolverine.com)

Jim Harbaugh’s recruiting will be put to the test this season as the team returns five starters in total. Their talented team last season finished 10-3 with a loss in the Orange Bowl to Florida State to finish off the season. There might be some growing pains with this Wolverine team, but they do have talent.

Wilton Speight returns at quarterback, but hasn’t played particularly well. Last season he threw for 2,538 yards and 18 touchdowns, but with only four other returning starters he will be expected to do more. His targets won’t have a lot of experience, but Eddie McDoom returns some experience running sweeps. Donovan Peoples-Jones is an extremely talented freshman, who will likely have to play a lot early in his career.

Two starters return on the offensive line, which includes Mason Cole, who uniquely can play either center or left tackle. They ranked 33rd in the country in rushing last season, but De’Veon Smith has graduated and now Chris Evans and Ty Isaac will both get shots to carry the football for Michigan.

The defense is what takes a huge hit, as they return just one starter. Mike McCray plays linebacker and has the only starting experience worth noting. The defensive line has talent, including former number one overall recruit Rashan Gary.

The secondary was great last season, which helped the Wolverines be the best defense against the pass, but now new players will be called upon. David Long is a talented corner and likely the best of the bunch. Defensive coordinator Dom Brown, a.k.a Dr. Blitz, has his work cut out for him.

Michigan has eight games that they should win this season. Their matchups with Florida, Penn State, Wisconsin and Ohio State will be tough challenges. With a floor of eight wins and the possibility to win one or two of their tougher games, Michigan will be among the top 25 teams in the country again in 2017.

 

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College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

The college football season is about a month and a half away and it can’t come soon enough. As rosters are finally completed with transfers (thank you Malik Zaire) and spring ball all wrapped up, it’s time to look forward to the fall. Who will be the top 25 teams in college football this season?

25. Kansas State Wildcats

Bill Snyder is back for another season as the head man of Kansas State. He had his youngest team ever last season and still finished 9-4. This year should show improvements for the Wildcats, but the record will likely be similar. They will grind out games in typical Snyder fashion.

College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

Byron Pringle

Jesse Ertz will be back to lead the offense at quarterback with his dual-threat abilities. He led the Wildcats in both rushing and passing last year and looks like he will do the same this season.

A few running backs will get a chance to help him out on the ground, including Alex Barnes and Justin Silmon. Byron Pringle and Dominique Heath are good wide receivers on the outside, and will have to make the most of their opportunities, as Ertz only threw for 1,755 yards last season.

The bulk of the offensive line is back including center Reid Najvar and tackles Scott Frantz and Dalton Risner, which should help create more than the 32.2 points per game last year.

Defensively, the Wildcats will have to replace the pass-rushing ability of Jordan Willis, who is off to the NFL, but they do return the other three starters from the defensive line. They help make this defense great at stopping the run which ranked 11th in the country.

The linebackers will be all new starters this year, but keep an eye on Da’Quan Patton who was one of the best JUCO linebackers last season.

Three out of four starters from the secondary return to a unit that needs to improve from its 114th ranking against the pass a year ago.

With an easier non-conference schedule this season, the Wildcats should be undefeated heading into conference play. Their big games at home will be TCU, Oklahoma and West Virginia, while they will be on the road to face Texas and Oklahoma State. With these games posing problems, Kansas State should be able to get out of the regular season with a maximum of four losses by grinding out games and winning the turnover battle.

24. Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern had a solid 7-6 season last year that was capped off with a win over Pittsburgh in the Pinstripe Bowl. This season they return a lot of key players that should help them compete for the Big Ten West.

College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

Justin Jackson (Photo by: Chicago Tribune)

The backfield is stacked with talent for the Wildcats, featuring three-year starter Clayton Thorson at quarterback and the man who will likely be the school’s all-time leading rusher at year’s end, Justin Jackson at running back. Both can run the ball really well and Thorson improved significantly as a passer from his freshman to his sophomore year. With his natural progression he can make Northwestern’s scoring offense one of the best in the Big Ten.

Four starters return on the offensive line, but they will need to replace Big Ten leading receiver Austin Carr from last year’s squad.

Defensively the Wildcats are best in the secondary, with Godwin Igwebuike and Kyle Quiero, who are two of their best players and are paired with two other returning starters.

They lose Anthony Walker from their linebacking core, but feature a lot of capable replacements. There isn’t much depth on the defensive front, but their starters are solid. The defense lost its best player in Walker, but there is no reason why they should take a step back this year after ranking 24th in the country in scoring defense.

The schedule matches up favorably for Northwestern. They travel to Wisconsin and play Penn State at home in back to back games, but the rest of the games on their schedule should be manageable. The Wildcats will be going to a bowl game and expect at a very minimum eight wins.

23. Washington State Cougars

Winning the Holiday Bowl would have been a nice way to cap off the season, but the Cougars fell to Minnesota to finish with an 8-5 record. Mike Leach got the team rolling and won all eight games in a row, including seven of them being in conference. Washington State got the most important player to return to school for one more year, which will give them another solid season.

College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

Luke Falk (Photo by: seattletimes.com)

Luke Falk could’ve gone to the NFL Draft, but elected to come back to Pullman for his senior season. Falk has two-straight 4,000-yard passing seasons and has a touchdown to interceptions ratio of over three to one. He will have another big year, even though he loses key receivers River Cracraft and Gabe Marks.

Multiple wide receivers are capable of stepping up, but Tavares Martin Jr. is the big play guy. Three returning starters on the offensive line will help protect Falk and the Cougars are also very deep at running back.

Last season, Washington State ranked in the top half of the country in scoring defense, and with that offense humming that’s all they really have to do to make the team successful.

The passing defense is awful and they lost Shalom Luani which hurts. They do return four starters from the secondary, two linebackers and two defensive linemen. Peyton Pelluer is a great linebacker who brings back a lot of experience with 233 career tackles. They will need the secondary and pass rush to get a lot better to be a successful defense.

Washington State has it’s fair share of tough games in 2017 including: Boise State, USC, Stanford and at Washington. Having three of those key games at home is a huge boost to the Cougars. They should be able to beat Boise State at the very least. Getting USC in the crossover game is tough, but Washington State could max out at 10 wins or bottom out with eight, assuming they don’t lose to an FCS opponent for the third year in a row.

22. Notre Dame Fighting Irish

There is no doubt that Brian Kelly’s seat is hot after finishing 4-8 last season. He brought in new coordinators so now the onus is totally on him. No Notre Dame team should ever go 4-8, especially given their schedule. A lot of players need to step up this season, but the talent is there.

College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

Equanimeous St. Brown (Photo by: usatoday.com)

Notre Dame will be breaking in a new quarterback in Brandon Wimbush. He was a highly-touted recruit, but he didn’t play well in the spring game. The key for Wimbush’s development is the great offensive line he has in front of him. Four of the linemen are returning starters and two, Mike McGlinchey and Quenton Nelson, could have been drafted very early in the 2016 NFL Draft.

A lot of the wide receivers are inexperienced, but Equanimeous St. Brown (along with being one of the coolest names in college football) is blossoming into a star. Durham Smythe and Alize Mack (formerly Alize Jones), provide good targets at tight end.

Running the ball is a versatile player who is capable of running and catching out of the backfield, Josh Adams.

The Fighting Irish have been decimated with injuries the past few seasons on the defensive side of the ball and don’t return many starters. The good news is that a lot of players have gotten experience over the last few years. The bad news is they didn’t play particularly well.

This season they need to get better at stopping the run. Nose tackle Jerry Tillery and linebacker Nyles Morgan will do what they can, but will need help. The secondary and defensive lines are shaky overall, but the linebackers are talented and will have to lead the team.

As always, Notre Dame does have some marquee games this season. They host Georgia and USC and travel to Miami and Stanford. Other games on the schedule are tricky, but those are the bigger games. Their matchup with Georgia in week two will let everyone know if the Fighting Irish are bouncing back or not. Notre Dame should win eight games during the regular season and if they don’t Kelly likely won’t be on the sidelines anymore.

21. Virginia Tech Hokies

Justin Fuente rejuvenated the Hokies last year and got them a 10 win season after they defeated Arkansas in the Belk Bowl. They lost some key players, but with Fuente, Virginia Tech will be able to figure it out.

College football preseason 2017 top 25: 25-21

Tremaine Edmunds (Photo courtesy: athlonsports.com)

Jerod Evans surprisingly left for the NFL Draft and went undrafted, so the Hokies will likely turn to Josh Jackson, who has great playmaking ability. Isaiah Ford and Bucky Hodges also left school early, but Cam Phillips will be a great target for Jackson. Other receivers need to produce as well.

Travon McMillan saw his production slip during his sophomore season, but is a solid running back and should have a good junior season. Three returning offensive linemen will help the Hokies move the chains.

The defensive front has one starter returning in Viny Mihota, but the back seven brings back a lot of experience. Their secondary should be one of the best in the country with Terrell Edmunds, Brandon Facyson and Greg Stroman. Tremaine Edmunds will stand out as the best linebacker in the ACC. Virginia Tech was good on defense last year, but should be able to take it to another level in 2017.

The schedule shouldn’t be too rough on the Hokies, but they do have a few big games. They play a neutral site game against West Virginia, Clemson at home, at Miami, at Georgia Tech and Pittsburgh in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech should be able to win most of those games. The Hokies can win anywhere between nine and 11 games in the regular season and can get back to the ACC Championship Game.

 

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