Draft deadline (cont.)
Alabama: The defending champs' only real threats to turn pro, All-America linebacker Rolando McClain and cornerback Kareem Jackson, both did so. No one seems to concerned, however, because the Tide are so loaded in their freshmen and sophomore classes. Dont'a Hightower returns at linebacker after missing most of last season with a knee injury.
Notre Dame: The Irish lost star quarterback Jimmy Clausen and Biletnikoff winner Golden Tate. Neither was unexpected and most believe ND's offense won't miss a beat with Dayne Crist and Michael Floyd.
Penn State: The good news -- leading rusher Evan Royster returns and could have a huge senior season running behind a more experienced offensive line. (The Nittany Lions will also be breaking in a new quarterback.) The bad news -- All-America linebacker Navorro Bowman turned pro, joining standout seniors Jared Odrick and Sean Lee.
Washington quarterback Jake Locker: Some dubbed him the No. 1 quarterback prospect had he entered this year's draft, but the junior (2,800 yards, 21 TDs, 11 INTs) still has room to grow.
Houston quarterback Case Keenum: After throwing for 5,671 yards and 44 TDs as a junior, the Cougars star stands 4,123 yards and 32 TDs from breaking the FBS career records.
Wisconsin running back John Clay: The Big Ten's Offensive Player of the Year (1,517 yards, 18 TDs) was a third-year sophomore who put off NFL riches for at least a year.
Michigan State linebacker Greg Jones: The Spartans' All-Big Ten linebacker -- who ranked third nationally with 154 tackles in 13 games -- will be a Butkus Award favorite.
Texas A&M defensive end Von Miller: The nation's leader in sacks with 17 (he also ranked fifth in tackles for loss with 21.5) will come back to wreak havoc on more quarterbacks.
We hardly knew ya ...
Arizona tight end Rob Gronkowski: SI.com's second team All-America tight end as a sophomore in 2008 opted to turn pro despite missing all of last season following back surgery.
Ole Miss quarterback Jevan Snead: The Rebels junior declared despite a disappointing junior season (20 interceptions) that likely cost his chances of being a high-round pick.
Cal running back Jahvid Best: The one-time Heisman contender's junior season ended in Week Nine following a nasty spill and concussion, but the pros will salivate over his speed.
Illinois receiver Arrelious Benn: A gifted playmaker, we never got to see his full potential. Benn netted a career-low 490 yards last season as Illinois' offense mysteriously imploded.
USF defensive end Jason-Pierre Paul: The juco transfer exploded on to the scene last fall, leading USF with 6.5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for loss, but alas, that was his only FBS season.
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