There's a good chance that next year's defense will be the best we've had since 1992. The only guys we're losing are Rashad (big loss) and Bobby Greenwood (decent sized loss). That's it and I'm talking 3-deep on the depth chart. Going by this year's roster ... and assuming Cody doesn't jump to the NFL ... we could be starting 8 seniors on defense and barring injuries, transfers, or other forms of attrition, we may have 5 other seniors getting significant playing time. That doesn't even include high-impact underclassmen like McClain, Jackson, and Hightower, all of whom figure to improve. Plus, you have to think that 1-2 of this year's other freshmen (Barron, Lawrence, Harris, e.g.) will have a breakout season.
That's why I think we can overcome even a big loss like Rashad. The only place where I see us deficient ... and this could be addressed between now and then ... is a game-changing pass rusher. Assuming even modest improvement across the board, as well as a bit of roster shuffling, and "x factor" contributions from true freshmen, I see an unholy combination of the 2002 D line and the 2005 back seven, with depth all over the field. In fact, I don't think it's far-fetched to think that all 3 of next year's units end up being better than their predecessors. While the QB and O line situation will be suspect until proven otherwise, I cannot wait to see our D lay the wood.