- John Gasaway, ESPN Insider
Whether it's due to injury, suspension or transfer, player departures are a constant. Trust me on this; I've been trying to write oh-so-precise season previews for a few seasons now, and this part of the game is highly inconvenient for that task.
Sure enough, the unexpected departures have been wreaking their special brand of havoc again this season, and their impact has been felt by some of the top teams in the nation. So today I want to salute the "Next Man Up," the player whom our oh-so-precise season preview didn't really bother with but who turns out to be a very important performer indeed.
Here are this season's best examples of next-man-up players:
John Gasaway identifies four of the nation's top "next men up," those players who have filled in for injured or otherwise absent starters with distinguished form.