2022 NFL Draft: These 10 College Soccer Teams Hit Hardest by Undergrads Getting Early in the Draft

The deadline for underclassmen to sign up for the 2022 NFL Draft passed Monday, but not before more than 120 star players chose to advance to the next stage of their careers. The final list of early entrants will be released in the coming days — and some key contributors will return for another year — but nine of the top 10 players on the CBS Sports Prospect Rankings are underclassmen who have declared themselves. Their losses will be felt in college football as teams try to replace them.

Consistent NFL producers like Alabama and Georgia are built to handle such a turnover. For other programs, significant losses can be devastating.

Here are 10 programs that were hit hardest by early entry into the 2022 NFL Draft, including a handful of new-age powers who faced their first major roster tests.

The Aggies lose Kenyon Green and DeMarvin Leal, the first pair of consensus All-Americans at Texas A&M since 2013. In addition, tight end Jalen Wydermyer and running back Isaiah Spiller have been consistent All-SEC performers. The Aggies have players in the pipeline, but coach Jimbo Fisher’s first wave of stars disappears from the program.

The Wolverines are starting from scratch on defense after losing key contributors to the NFL. Chris Hinton and David Ojabo joined senior Aidan Hutchinson as defensive linemen moving to the next level, while security leaves a gap on Daxton Hill. New defensive coach Mike Elston has some work to do for himself to find players who will fill those gaps up front. In any case, the offense will have to increase in 2022.

The Aztecs earned their first season with 12 wins in the program’s history behind a three-pronged approach: defense, field position, and running the ball. San Diego State loses the leaders in all three approaches after star pass rusher Cameron Thomas (20.5 tackles for loss, 10.5 sacks), Ray Guy Award winner Matt Araiza (51.2 yards per punt) and offensive guard William Dunkle (highest blocking rate in PFF history) declared for the design.

4. Georgia Bulldogs

Most national championship teams end up on these types of lists and the Bulldogs are no different. Linebacker Nakobe Dean, defending Travon Walker and defending defender Lewis Cine join a wave of talented seniors taking their talents to the draft. Offensively, league-leader Zamir White and wide receiver George Pickens head into the competition. The Dawgs will look very different in 2022.

The Ducks have been stacking elite recruiting classes for the past four years and the first wave of departures is starting to hit. Defensive end Kayvon Thibodeaux will compete to be the number 1 overall pick. Star Verone McKinley III and Mykael Wright’s defensive backs played an important role in Oregon’s defensive development. Offensively, the Ducks lose top receiver Devon Williams. Dan Lanning’s new staff will need some quick answers before Oregon faces Georgia next season.

Starting quarterback Matt Corral heads to the NFL after making his way into the Heisman Trophy call. Star running backs Snoop Conner and Jerrion Ealy joined him in declaring early. Those three players alone were responsible for 5,378 yards, more than 80% of the Rebel’s total offensive output.

The Boilermakers lost two players to early entry. Unfortunately, they are the best players on both sides of the ball. Wide receiver David Bell was arguably the best in college football last season, while defending side George Karlaftis made a name for himself with upset wins. Both will immediately compete for starting spots in the NFL.

8. Alabama Crimson Tide

As the nation’s largest producer of pro talent, the Crimson Tide is hit every year and 2022 is no exception. Top receivers Jameson Williams and John Metchie III declared the draft, along with Evan Neal, generally regarded as the best offensive lineman in the draft, and a handful of defenders. The only thing keeping the Tide lower on the list is that Alabama also unexpectedly benefited from the safety of Jordan Battle and linebacker Henry To’o To’o for another year.

Safety Kyle Hamilton was a superstar from the moment he stepped on campus. The only thing that made his loss a little more manageable was for the Fighting Irish to play the second half of the 2021 season without him. Upcoming Kyren Williams and receiver Kevin Austin Jr. also joined senior quarterback Jack Coan in the draft, meaning offensive coordinator Tommy Rees will start virtually from scratch in 2022.

Wide receiver Drake London was by far the best wide receiver in college football, before suffering an ankle fracture at the end of the season. New coach Lincoln Riley has his job to replace London. Defensively, both starting corners Chris Steele and Isaac Taylor-Stuart are gone, along with top pass rusher Drake Jackson.

Honorable Mentions: Western Michigan, Cincinnati, Iowa

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