One of the best things about college football is the opportunity that each year brings. Stars move on and new stars emerge on a yearly basis as programs build a brand new team each August.
Every Big 12 team has big shoes to fill this fall so here's a team-by-team look at the biggest shoes to fill in 2015.
Baylor QB Bryce Petty
2014 production: 270 of 428 for 3,855 yards, 9 yards per attempt, 29 touchdowns, 7 INT, 101 rushing yards, 6 rushing touchdowns.
Candidates: Junior Seth Russell. Russell has taken hold of the starting quarterback spot and looks ready to step into the lineup in Petty’s absence. He started one game in 2014, going 16 of 25 for 438 yards and five touchdowns against Northwestern State last September. Russell has been in the system for three years and could bring an added element to BU’s offense with his speed.
Iowa State C Tom Farniok
2014 production: A four-year starter, Farniok was the centerpiece of the Cyclones offensive line during his four seasons in Ames, Iowa.
Candidates: Junior Patrick Scoggins, sophomore Nick Severs. Scoggins is a junior college transfer who sits atop the depth chart while Severs has been in the program longer and has a better feel for Mark Mangino’s expectations. Scoggins played left tackle at Long Beach Community College in 2014 so it could take time as he adjusts to playing center in the Big 12. Severs was the Cyclones offensive scout player of the year in 2013 but saw limited action as a redshirt freshman a year ago.
Kansas LB Ben Heeney
2014 production: 127 tackles, 88 solo stops, 12 tackles for loss, 2 forced fumbles, 1.5 sacks, 1 INT, 1 fumble recovery
Candidates: Sophomore Kyron Watson, senior Jake Love, junior Schyler Miles. One player won’t be able to replace Heeney, one of the Big 12’s most disruptive defenders for the past few seasons. Watson was Heeney’s understudy in 2014 while Love played alongside him and was productive but needs to turn it up a notch as a senior. Miles redshirted last season and provides another quality option as KU looks to replace Heeney’s impact.
Kansas State WR Tyler Lockett
2014 production: 106 receptions, 1,515 yards and 11 touchdown receptions along with 19.14 punt return average, 20.11 kick return average, 2 punt returns for touchdown.
Candidates: It’s a replacement-by-committee situation for the Wildcats with redshirt freshman Dominique Heath looking like the front runner to step into the void as a returner. On offense, KSU needs multiple receivers to step up with Kyle Klein and Deante Burton looking like potential targets in the passing game.
Oklahoma DT Jordan Phillips
2014 production: 39 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, fumble recovery
Candidates: Sophomore Matthew Romar, junior Jordan Wade. Romar had a solid redshirt freshman season and should help lessen the impact of Phillips’ decision to enter the NFL early. Wade has proven he can replace Phillips -- which he did in 2013 after Phillips was lost for the season -- so OU should be able to fill Phillips’ shoes with a solid duo.
Oklahoma State LB Josh Furman
2014 production: 64 tackles, 50 solo stops, 14 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, INT
Candidates: Junior Jordan Burton. The junior college transfer is making a relatively seamless transition into the program, impressing during his first semester on campus this spring. His athleticism and maturity could fill the void left by OSU’s lone NFL draft pick.
Texas DT Malcom Brown
2014 production: 72 tackles, 39 solo stops, 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Candidates: Junior Hassan Ridgeway. It will be interesting to see how well Ridgeway handles the increased attention without Brown after a strong sophomore showing with 43 tackles, 11 tackles for loss and six sacks alongside Brown in 2014. There’s a legit possibility Ridgeway matches Brown’s production in the defensive interior of Charlie Strong’s defense.
Texas Tech WR Bradley Marquez
2014 production: 65 receptions, 821 yards, 10 touchdowns
Candidates: Junior Dylan Cantrell, junior Reginald Davis, junior Devin Lauderdale. Kliff Kingsbury should feel pretty confident he can replace Marquez’s production between Cantrell, Davis, Lauderdale and the incoming freshman receivers. There’s good competition at the position and the Red Raiders have a good track record of replacing receivers, so Tech should end up just fine at receiver.
TCU LB Paul Dawson
2014 production: 136 tackles, 81 solo stops, 20 tackles for loss, six sacks, four interceptions, three fumble recoveries, two forced fumbles
Candidates: Junior Sammy Douglas, freshman Alex Dunham, sophomore Paul Whitmill. Douglas was Dawson’s backup in 2014 but will have to hold off a charge from Dunham and Whitmill. Dunham, an early enrollee who impressed in the spring, could be a guy to keep an eye on when preseason camp rolls around in August.
West Virginia WR Kevin White
2014 production: 109 receptions, 1,447 yards, 10 touchdowns
Candidates: Sophomore Shelton Gibson, sophomore Ka’Raun White. Gibson looks like he can step in to provide the deep threat White provided as a senior and his brother, Ka’Raun White, could emerge as another option. Gibson should be a significant contributor while White joins Gary Jennings and Jovon Durante to give WVU a trio of February signees who could transform the depth chart in the preseason.