Strengths of each Top 25 team after spring practice

Christian Wilkins anchors what's arguably the best defensive line in the country. Dannie Walls/Icon Sportswire

What makes a Top 25 team special? Here's a look at the strengths of each of these talented rosters.

1. Alabama: Running back

Even before back-to-back 1,000-yard rusher Damien Harris decided to return for his senior season, Alabama was stocked at running back with up-and-comers Najee Harris, Brian Robinson Jr. and Josh Jacobs. Now Harris will lead as deep a group as any in the SEC. -- Alex Scarborough

2. Clemson: Defensive line

This is a no-brainer: The Tigers return the best defensive line in the country, and its potential has left opposing coaches wondering how, exactly, they will move what appears to be an immovable force. You could make an All-America argument for Christian Wilkins, Dexter Lawrence, Austin Bryant and Clelin Ferrell. What's more, Clemson has depth at this position, too. -- Andrea Adelson

3. Ohio State: Wide receiver/H-back

The Buckeyes will have a new starting quarterback (likely sophomore Dwayne Haskins) but plenty of familiar faces on the perimeter. All the receivers are back, and while there's no obvious superstar, the group's collective experience and talent should pay off. Five wideouts with at least 20 receptions in 2017 return, and four averaged more than 14 yards per catch. Seniors Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon provide leadership and production, Binjimen Victor had seven touchdown catches last fall and K.J. Hill made 56 catches. Demario McCall hopes to build on a big spring game performance at the H-back position. -- Adam Rittenberg

4. Georgia: Secondary

They have to replace a few starters, but Deandre Baker and J.R. Reed anchor what should be a solid secondary. Mix in the slew of top prospects recruited over the past two years, such as Ameer Speed and William Poole, and the Bulldogs should be in good shape. -- Scarborough

5. Oklahoma: Running back

After taking over the starting running back job last October, Rodney Anderson led the country in yards from scrimmage. Then he ran for more than 200 yards in the Rose Bowl. With Anderson back to lead a talented group of backs, OU could feature one of the top rushing units in the country. -- Jake Trotter

6. Washington: Secondary

The Huskies are loaded in the secondary. There could be at least three no-brainer NFL draft picks back there, and defensive backs coach Jimmy Lake has a ton of budding talent to mold. Sophomore cornerback Byron Murphy is the star, while up-and-coming freak Keith Taylor played well opposite him this spring. Safety Taylor Rapp is one of the best in the Pac-12, and JoJo McIntosh hits as hard as anyone. -- Edward Aschoff

7. Wisconsin: Offensive line

You knew it wouldn't take Paul Chryst and his staff long to restore Wisconsin's signature position group to an elite level. This could be the Badgers' best offensive line since 2010, as they return all five starters, including guard Beau Benzschawel and tackles David Edwards and Michael Deiter, all of whom earned All-America honors last season. Center Tyler Biadasz is back after earning freshman All-America honors in 2017. There's not a more accomplished line in college football than Wisconsin's group, which helped Jonathan Taylor rush for 1,977 yards last fall. -- Rittenberg

8. Miami: Linebacker

The Hurricanes return their starting linebacker group, a unit that has started together since entering as true freshmen three years ago. Shaq Quarterman is the player to watch among the trio, but Michael Pinckney and Zach McCloud can't be overlooked. Quarterman was second on the team in tackles, while Pinckney had 11 tackles for loss. -- Adelson

9. Michigan State: Secondary

The signature position group of the Mark Dantonio era at MSU is restocked and ready to uphold the "No Fly Zone" tradition. The Spartans return all four starters and 10 letter winners, including first-team All-Big Ten safety David Dowell. Cornerback Josiah Scott started 12 games as a true freshman, the most of any MSU freshman non-kicker in Dantonio's tenure, and earned freshman All-America honors after recording two interceptions and 10 pass breakups. The backups at both cornerback and safety boast starting experience, and several freshmen defensive backs emerged this spring to provide even more depth. -- Rittenberg

10. Michigan: Pass rush

From the first-round talent on the defensive line to the uber-athletic edge rushers to the cover corners who can operate on an island to the "solve your problems with aggression" scheme drawn up by defensive coordinator Don Brown, Michigan's defense has all the pieces it needs to keep quarterbacks running for their lives this season. -- Dan Murphy

11. West Virginia: Quarterback

Will Grier is easily the most accomplished quarterback returning in the pass-happy Big 12. Before breaking a finger in Week 12 last season, he was second nationally in passing touchdowns and third in passing yards. If Grier can stay healthy, he has the arm and supporting cast to catapult into the Heisman conversation. -- Trotter

12. Notre Dame: Defensive line

The Irish defense intends to build upon last season's revival, and it starts up front. Tackles Jerry Tillery and Jonathan Bonner return after considering the NFL; Tillery led Notre Dame in both sacks (4.5) and quarterback hurries (11) in 2017. Although starting end Jay Hayes departs, Notre Dame brings back a lot on the edges with Daelin Hayes, Julian Okwara and Khalid Kareem. Notre Dame has built depth at tackle through recruiting and development and should be able to apply pocket pressure from multiple positions. -- Rittenberg

13. Penn State: Quarterback

Record-setting senior Trace McSorley returns this fall as the leader of the Nittany Lions offense. Behind him, Tommy Stevens has proven too good to keep off the field. Penn State has used Stevens at various positions to take advantage of his athleticism. That duo gives first-year coordinator Ricky Rahne a combination of experience and depth that could rival any team in the country. -- Murphy

14. Stanford: Running back

Well, when you have the Heisman Trophy runner-up returning at running back, chances are it's tough not to look at that position. Bryce Love might be the best player in all of the Pac-12, and he's certainly one of the best running backs in the country after finishing second in rushing in 2017 (2,118). Behind him, Cameron Scarlett ran for nearly 400 yards last season, and Connor Wedington looks like he could be a big threat at running back as well. -- Aschoff

15. Virginia Tech: Defensive line

There are major holes the Hokies have to fill headed into the season, but the defensive line looks like it could be an area of strength. Even though Tim Settle is gone, Trevon Hill, Ricky Walker and a healthy Vinny Mihota provide experience and leadership on a young and inexperienced defense. The biggest question here is depth. -- Adelson

16. Mississippi State: Quarterback

Even if Nick Fitzgerald's recovery doesn't come along as expected -- and there are no indications it won't -- the Bulldogs will be OK. Their quarterback room is in fine hands with Keytaon Thompson, who ran for three touchdowns and threw for another in the bowl game, ready to play when called upon. -- Scarborough

17. USC: Linebacker

The Trojans could have one of the nation's best linebacker corps. Getting All-American talent Porter Gustin back from injury this spring was huge, as is the return over inside leader Cameron Smith. Replacing star Uchenna Nwosu won't be easy, but Jordan Iosefa moved right into his spot with ease this spring. Freshman Kana'i Mauga also had a solid first spring and should jump right into the linebacker rotation this fall. -- Aschoff

18. UCF: Running back

The skill positions are stacked at UCF, but none more than running back. Three of the top five backs return, including leading rusher Adrian Killins Jr., an all-conference selection a year ago. That doesn't even include receiver Otis Anderson and quarterback McKenzie Milton, integral parts in allowing the UCF run game to be so dynamic. How new coach Josh Heupel handles the rushing attempts will be intriguing. -- Adelson

19. Auburn: Defensive line

If not for Clemson, Auburn would have a claim for the best defensive line in the country. Starters Derrick Brown, Marlon Davidson and Dontavius Russell all return, along with top reserve Nick Coe, who showed this spring that he could be in for a breakout season. -- Scarborough

20. TCU: Defensive line

The Horned Frogs are going to be a load up front. Defensive end Ben Banogu was a first-team All-Big 12 performer for the conference's top sack defense, and sophomores Ross Blacklock and Corey Bethley are rising stars in the middle. -- Trotter

21. Boise State: Defensive line

With the entire rotation essentially coming back, Boise State's defensive line should be stout once again. Curtis Weaver was first-team All-Mountain West as a freshman last year. Returning teammates Jabril Frazier and David Moa were second team. This unit has playmaking and depth. -- Trotter

22. Texas: Defensive line

Despite losing several key players off last season's defense, the Longhorns stand to be dynamic off the edge. Charles Omenihu has NFL measurables. Breckyn Hager and Malcolm Roach boast plenty of experience. Ta'Quon Graham has the talent to break out. -- Trotter

23. Texas A&M: Defensive line

If you're going to build a defense, it's best to start up the middle. New coordinator Mike Elko has his work cut out for him, but with depth at defensive line, including former five-star Daylon Mack, there's a starting point. -- Scarborough

24. Oregon: Offensive line

Justin Herbert will challenge to be not just the best quarterback in the Pac-12 this season but also the best quarterback in the nation. However, the biggest strength of this team right now is an offensive line that returns four starters. This group also has a solid group of youngsters coming in to add some talented depth. Losing Tyrell Crosby at left tackle was remedied by moving right tackle Brady Aiello there. -- Aschoff

25. South Carolina: Wide receiver

Will Muschamp and his staff didn't inherit a whole lot when they took over two years ago, but they did get a few talented receivers to work with. Senior Deebo Samuel and junior Bryan Edwards have developed nicely into a dangerous one-two punch. Meanwhile, sophomore Shi Smith, who caught 29 passes last season, looks like a future difference-maker at the position. -- Scarborough