Who has the most to prove on each Top 25 team?

Can Kelly Bryant be a steadying force at quarterback for Clemson? Joshua S. Kelly/USA TODAY Sports

Who's on the spot this summer for each team in Mark Schlabach's post-spring Top 25?

Some teams are counting on new players to replace former stars. Other programs need backups to reach their potential.

And on at least one team, there's a coach who is on the spot to engineer improvement before the season starts.

1. Ohio State

August will be important for redshirt sophomore Damon Arnette, who has a slight edge in the competition to replace one of the two Buckeyes cornerbacks selected in the first round of the NFL draft. If Arnette and Denzel Ward can help Ohio State's secondary remain a strength, the defense will be in good shape in 2017. They'll get a stiff test right out of the gates against two strong receivers from Indiana. -- Dan Murphy

2. Florida State

Line coach Rick Trickett's group was a mess through much of last season, and big questions remain about whether the Seminoles can find a starting five capable of keeping quarterback Deondre Francois from absorbing another beating. That the Seminoles have Alabama, Miami and NC State in the first month of the season underscores the importance of finding some answers on the offensive line -- and finding them fast. -- David M. Hale

3. Alabama

Bo Scarbrough has shown flashes of brilliance, most recently rushing for 454 yards and six touchdowns during the final four games of last season. The problem? His season ended with an injury against Clemson, continuing a career with too many games spent on the sideline. Scarbrough could be a front line starter, but he has to show that he can be healthy, not to mention beat a group that includes Damien Harris, who rushed for 1,000 yards last season. -- Alex Scarborough

4. USC

WR Steven Mitchell Jr. arrived in 2013 with lofty expectations, but knee injuries have prevented him from making an extended impact (68 catches, 643 yards in three seasons). The Trojans have a deep, young group of receivers that the coaching staff is eager to see go to work. Mitchell needs a strong training camp to ensure that he earns a significant role in what will be his final season of eligibility. -- Kyle Bonagura

5. Penn State

The Nittany Lions lost both starters on the edge of the defensive line and are in need of a consistent pass-rusher. Torrence Brown is in the best position to answer that call in 2017. The Alabama native has played in every game for each of the past two seasons but had only one half-sack last season in a backup role. -- Murphy

6. Oklahoma State

The Cowboys are loaded everywhere on offense, including the line, where the only big question to begin the spring involved left tackle. Aaron Cochran, an accomplished grad transfer from Cal, provided a resounding answer and immediately plugs a hole in the lineup. But he needs to use the preseason to mesh with everyone around him. At such an important position to QB Mason Rudolph, Cochran must be ready to perform in September as if he has been with the Cowboys for years. -- Mitch Sherman

7. Clemson

The obvious choice here is QB Kelly Bryant, who has been tabbed the nominal starter since Deshaun Watson announced that he was heading to the NFL. But Bryant will face a strong push from redshirt freshman Zerrick Cooper and true freshman Hunter Johnson. The battle looks a bit like 2014, when veteran Cole Stoudt landed the job, but by Week 1 it was clear that Watson was the QB of the future. Can Cooper or Johnson make the same statement during fall camp? Or will Bryant prove to be a steadying force who will allow Clemson to push for a third straight playoff appearance? It's one of the biggest questions of the fall in college football. -- Hale

8. Oklahoma

The Sooners have been waiting for years for 6-foot-5 wideout Jeffery Mead to realize his vast potential. That finally began to happen late last season and carried over into the spring game, in which Mead hauled in a 70-yard touchdown bomb. With Dede Westbrook gone, QB Baker Mayfield will be on the hunt for a new go-to receiver. As a senior, this will be Mead's final chance to make an impact. -- Jake Trotter

9. Washington

Their starting jobs aren't quite official, but as the presumed starters at cornerback, Byron Murphy and Jordan Miller represent an important spot of transition. The Huskies' secondary was among the best in college football last season, and that was largely due to the play of Kevin King and Sidney Jones. With both players off to the NFL -- along with safety Budda Baker -- it will likely be up to Murphy and Miller, two relative unknowns, to prevent any significant regression on the back end. -- Bonagura

10. Auburn

He's only a rising junior, but it feels like now or never for Byron Cowart. In two seasons as a defensive end, the former No. 1 overall prospect was a bust. But now, after switching to defensive tackle this spring, he has a chance to start over and show that he was worth the hype. At 280 pounds, he has the size to play inside and could make better use of his quickness. -- Scarborough

11. Wisconsin

The Badgers tend to go where their running backs take them, and this season it'll be Chris James' turn to lead the charge. The former Pitt back followed Paul Chryst to Madison and had to sit out the 2016 season. His production dipped in his second season at Pitt, but his Wisconsin coaches are confident that he'll be a do-it-all threat this fall. -- Murphy

12. LSU

Ed Orgeron wants a dynamic offense, so he went out and got the coordinator to build one: Matt Canada. But is Danny Etling ready to take the next step as well? The former Purdue transfer struggled at times last season and wound up having back surgery following spring practice. Orgeron said Etling would be the starter if games were played today, but he has a long way to go to show that he can be a difference-maker at the position. -- Scarborough

13. Georgia

Jacob Eason started 12 of the 13 games he played in last season. He threw for 2,430 yards, with 16 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He wasn't perfect, but he has all the potential in the world. Still, if Georgia is going to win the SEC East, which so many people think it will, Eason has to turn the corner as a passer. The next steps for him are understanding defenses and his playbook more, along with becoming more of a leader, on and off the field. -- Edward Aschoff

14. Michigan

Despite a solid first season as a starter, QB Wilton Speight felt the heat of competition this spring. He has the leadership qualities that a young Wolverines team needs under center. In order to fend off talented challenger Brandon Peters and stay under center, he'll need to prove himself in training camp. -- Murphy

15. Miami

Coach Mark Richt has touted true freshman N'Kosi Perry over the past several months, leaving the quarterback competition unsettled until he could see Perry practice. As such, fall camp will be Perry's opportunity to show definitively whether he has what it takes to play right away and shoulder the high expectations that follow the Canes into the season. -- Andrea Adelson

16. Stanford

It's now or never for QB Ryan Burns, a fifth-year senior. When he lost his starting job to Keller Chryst after seven games, Burns seemed a sure bet to transfer for his final season of eligibility, but a bowl-game knee injury to Chryst seemingly affected that. With Chryst's status in limbo headed into camp, Burns will likely get another shot to lead. Can he make the most of it? -- Bonagura

17. Louisville

It is tough to single out one offensive lineman on a unit that clearly needs to improve in 2017. But Ronald Rudd comes into Louisville as one of the top junior college offensive linemen in the country, with expectations that he will start and help solidify at least one side of the offensive line. His previous starting experience should be an advantage. -- Adelson

18. Kansas State

Over a three-game stretch last season, Alex Barnes rushed for 304 yards and five touchdowns while averaging better than 8 yards per carry. Now the projected starter at running back, Barnes will have a prime opportunity to prove that he is indeed one of the best in the Big 12. -- Trotter

19. USF

Linebacker Jimmy Bayes has moved around his fair share during his time at USF, but he now seems settled at linebacker, where coaches hope to get the most out of him this season. Bayes showed potential during the spring, and expectations are rising for him to make an impact at a position that lost solid, steady Nigel Harris. -- Adelson

20. West Virginia

Dravon Askew-Henry was a stud in the secondary for the Mountaineers in 2014 and 2015 before a knee injury last August knocked him out for all of 2016. Imagine the 10-win Mountaineers with their defensive leader last season. After easing back into work in the spring, is he ready to go full-speed and deliver a hit? Askew-Henry probably has more to prove to himself than to any coach or teammate. Regardless, the preseason matters for him. -- Sherman

21. Florida

This one is simple for Florida: It's brand-new quarterback Malik Zaire. He had a limited career at Notre Dame but is already the most experienced quarterback on Florida's roster. He also is the most athletic because of what he can do with his legs. Florida has to find a capable QB if it wants to get back to Atlanta, and though Feleipe Franks left the spring as the leader, Zaire is now the favorite to start. -- Aschoff

22. Virginia Tech

It makes sense to point to the QB battle here, but Justin Fuente has said all along that he feels a starter will emerge from a deep group led by redshirt freshman Josh Jackson and transfer A.J. Bush. As such, perhaps the bigger question mark is at running back, where Travon McMillian has had an up-and-down career with the Hokies and desperately needs to establish himself as a sincere threat in 2017. With so much turnover at the skill positions around him, McMillian needs to show that he can be a consistent runner and blocker, something he has struggled to prove since Fuente arrived. Against Tennessee and Miami last season, McMillian rushed for a combined 258 yards. In 10 other games, he rushed for fewer than 40. -- Hale

23. Texas

After a banner freshman campaign, linebacker Malik Jefferson was the Big 12 preseason defensive player of the year going into last season. Instead, Jefferson struggled for much of the season and eventually lost his starting job. With a new coaching regime installing a new defensive system, Jefferson will be attempting to prove that last season was just an aberration. -- Trotter

24. Boise State

All running back Alexander Mattison has to do is step in for Jeremy McNichols, who ran for 1,709 yards and 23 touchdowns last season. No big deal, right? Only two players in college football accounted for a higher percentage of his team's rushing yards than McNichols, and just one player did so in total rushing touchdowns. It seems unreasonable for Mattison to carry a similar load, but regardless, he'll be key to the Broncos' conference title push. -- Bonagura

25. Washington State

After catching 43 passes for 312 yards and running for 238 yards in 2015, running back Keith Harrington's impact last season was nearly nonexistent: two carries, two catches. That's it. His disappearance was largely related to a leg injury, but it allowed fellow running backs James Williams, Jamal Morrow and Gerard Wicks to further establish themselves as valuable assets. Harrington reportedly had a good spring, but he needs to carry that momentum into the fall to get back into the rotation. -- Bonagura