Big 12 Football: 10 Players Who Will replace NFL Draft Early Entrants in 2021

Oklahoma State's Dezmon Jackson will try and follow in the footsteps of one-time 2,000-yard rusher Chuba Hubbard

NFL teams looking to bolster their offensive lines this season may want to dig up some tape from the Big 12. The Big 12 has a handful of offensive linemen leaving college football with eligibility remaining and the hope of anchoring a spot on an NFL offensive line in 2021. But the Big 12 also has some other players that are hoping to be running behind those lines as well. Regardless of the position, the Big 12 will have a good number of big shoes to fill throughout the conference.

 

Here is a look at some of the notable players who have decided to leave college football without exhausting their eligibility, and who may be likely to try replacing them in 2021.

 

Oklahoma State

Gone: Chuba Hubbard, RB

Hubbard's 2020 season may not have gone quite according to plan, but the former 2,000-yard rusher is still one of the top running backs available in the NFL draft this year.

 

In: Dezmon Jackson

The next running back in line behind Hubbard would appear to be Jackson, who was Oklahoma State's second-leading rusher in 2020 with 547 yards and four touchdowns. Dominic Richardson could get some work as he gains some experience too.

 

Texas

Gone: Joseph Ossai, LB/DE

One of the Big 12's top defensive players certainly left his mark with the Longhorns. Replacing a consensus All-American is never an easy task, but new head coach Steve Sarkisian will give it his best shot.

 

In: Reese Leitao

Leitao stood in for Ossai in Texas' bowl game this season after being listed as his backup on the depth chart this season. It should be expected the former three-star recruit would be the successor to Ossai, although he will do so having just six tackles in 2020.

 

Texas

Gone: Caden Sterns, S

A former Big 12 defensive freshman of the year, Strerns opted out of the 2020 season in late November to begin focusing on his NFL future. Sterns previously earned All-Big 12 first team as a freshman and recorded 59 tackles as a sophomore.

 

In: B.J. Foster

When Sterns opted out, Foster appeared to be the one to step into his vacant spot. Therefore, he could be the favorite to be filling in on a more permanent basis next season. However, Montrell Estell could be another option.

 

TCU

Gone: Trevon Moehrig, DB

Replacing the nation's top defensive back is on the to-do list for TCU head coach Gary Anderson this offseason. Moehrig won the Jim Thorpe Award in 2020 as the nation's top defensive back. These will be big shoes to fill for the Horned Frogs.

 

In: Deshawn McCuin

If experience is any indication, then McCuin may be the most likely heir to Moehrig's throne in the secondary. McCuin appeared in nine games for TCU last season. But this could be a competitive spot to watch during the spring and offseason, as Donavann Collins could compete for the job as well.

 

Texas Tech

Gone: Jack Anderson, G

One of the top offensive linemen heading to the NFL draft will come through Lubbock. Anderson was one of the best offensive linemen to be recruited by former head coach Kliff Kingsbury. Could a reunion be possible in Arizona?

 

In: Weston Wright

With Anderson sidelined due to injury at times this season, Wright took advantage of the situation to get some experience on the line for the Red Raiders. He should be the easy pick to be the leading candidate to fill in Anderson's spot as a starter in 2021.

 

Kansas

Gone: Pooka Williams Jr., RB

Williams recorded back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons for the Jayhawks in 2018 and '19 but opted out of the season after just four game sin 2020 to be with his family. With Williams opting out early on in the season, Kansas already started working on figuring out who is next.

 

In: Velton Gardner

There is still room for improvement with the running backs, but Gardner ended the year as Kansas' leading rusher in 2020. Gardner averaged 12 rushing attempts per game and rushed for 325 yards and two touchdowns. Daniel Hishaw Jr. could make a push for more consideration or serve as a nice complimentary back for a rushing combo.

 

Kansas State

Gone: Wyatt Hubert, DE

Kansas State will have to replace one of the most prolific pass rushers in the Big 12 as Hubert heads to the NFL. Hubert had 94 career tackles and 20 sacks during his time with the Wildcats.

 

In: Kirmari Gainous

There could be some competition for the starting nod at the vacant defensive end position. Gainous may have a mild upper-hand on the early competition after recording three tackles for a loss last season when used as a reserve.

 

Oklahoma

Gone: Creed Humphrey, C

The success of Oklahoma's offense begins on the offensive line. Humphrey had been one of the best in pass protection. That will be missed for a Sooners offense that likes to take to the air.

 

In: Chris Murray

While Ian McIver could be a potential candidate after starting in Humphrey's place for the bowl game, Murray will be the name to watch. Murray has experience at the Power 5 level with his time at UCLA prior to transferring to Oklahoma.

 

Oklahoma

Gone: Adrian Ealy, OT

Let's stay on that Oklahoma offensive line for a moment, because the Sooners also have to replace Adrian Ealy at offensive tackle.

 

In: Wanya Morris

Just days after entering the transfer portal, Morris made the decision to transfer form Tennessee to Oklahoma. And just like that, this problem may have been solved. The former five-star prospect should fit right into place on the Oklahoma offensive line.

 

Texas

Gone: Samuel Cosmi, OT

Texas will lose one massive piece on the offensive line with Cosmi moving on to the NFL. Cosmi earned First-team All-Big 12 honors in 2020, a year after being recognized as a second-team All-Big 12 player.

 

In: Andrej Karic

This one is a no-brainer. What better way to replace one of your top offensive linemen than with a highly regarded recruit? Karic was a four-star recruit in the Class of 2020, and he already got his feet wet at the position in place of Cosmi late in the season.

 

— Written by Kevin McGuire, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Follow him on Patreon, on Twitter @KevinOnCFB, on Instagram, and Like him on Facebook.

 

(Top photo courtesy of @CowboyFB)

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