Just a few short months ago, I was thinking we would struggle mightily against the likes of Ohio State, Michigan, and several other teams in the B1G come September of 2014. But after watching us dismantle West Virginia, hearing that Michigan struggled against UConn - a team we beat fairly comfortably - and knowing what could be on the horizon from a recruiting standpoint, my tune is changing.
Barring unexpected "defections" to the NFL - I think Deon Long will turn pro, but, who knows? - we'll have eight starters returning on both sides of the ball. Our depth at WR is such that, while we'd miss Long (assuming he chooses the NFL), it wouldn't be crippling. Hopefully, P.J. Gallo or Andrew Isaacs will be ready to step in for Dave Stinebaugh at TE. And while we're currently relatively thin and inexperienced on the O-line, we do have Derwin Gray and Larry Mazyck already committed, and likely ready to see significant playing time(especially if both enroll for the Spring semester and participate in Spring drills). Those two, plus a year of additional experience for Mike Madaras, Sal Conaboy, and the others should help compensate for the loss of De'Onte Arnett. Keep in mind, too, we'll get Wes Brown back next year to complement Brandon Ross, Albert Reid and Jacquille Veii in the backfield.
Defensively, we lose two linebackers: Matt Robinson and Marcus Whitfield. Fortunately, LB is an area in which we have quality depth in the likes of Alex Twine, Cole Farrand, L.A. Goree, Yannick Ngakoue, Abner Logan, Avery Thompson, Shawn Petty, Cavon Walker and Brock Dean. In the defensive backfield, we lose Dexter McDougle. The only positive from the unfortunate, premature end to his career is that the likes of Will Likely, A.J. Hendy, Sean Davis, Anthony Nixon, Jarrett Ross, Undray Clark, Alvin Hill, and Zach Dancel should gain lots of experience. Add them to Jeremiah Johnson, and we should be fine at DB. Adding Jalen Tabor to the fold would give us a solid - and very fast - unit.
In addition to Tabor, if we can add Damian Prince, Brock Ruble, Demetrius Johnson, Juwann Winfree, and Melvin Keihn to Jesse Aniebonam, Will Ulmer, and the others who have already committed, we should be ready to compete in the B1G right from the start.
I guess my question is: Do I need to cut down on the Kool-Aid?