Commentary

Early entry replacement plans

How the Tide, Tigers, Cowboys, Ducks and Gamecocks will replace stars in 2012

Updated: January 20, 2012, 1:03 PM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Claiborne/KirkpatrickUS PresswireThe departures of Claiborne and Kirkpatrick will leave voids in the LSU and Alabama defenses.

The record number of underclassmen declaring their eligibility for the 2012 NFL draft will make draftniks quite happy, but their going pro could cause some consternation among those who follow the teams they are leaving behind.

The period from now until signing day is when college teams reload for future seasons, but several players already on rosters will be called upon to replace the impact players that left early for the NFL.

We conducted an in-depth tape and metric review of five teams that will have to put together replacement plans: Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma State, Oregon and South Carolina. Here's how these teams figure to fill the voids left by their departed stars in 2012.

Alabama Crimson Tide

Early entry: CB Dre Kirkpatrick
Replacement plan: Dee Milliner

The BCS national champion's secondary seemed to take a big hit when Kirkpatrick declared for the draft, but the truth of the matter is that Milliner ought to be a more-than-capable replacement.