Now that the season is over, its time to focus on recruiting and next year. With that in mind, here is a preliminary analysis of which OVC teams were losing the most players (and most impact players) from this past season:
1. Eastern Kentucky. Attrition will really hurt the Colonels. They lose seven starters on offense and five on defense. Among their losses is running back Matt Denham who has eviscerated the Gamecocks. EKU also loses their starting quarterback, and two tackles (Adams & Ford) and a wide receiver (Goard) that are NFL prospects. On defense, EKU's notable losses include all Conference DL, Robert Knowles, all conference safety, Brooklyn Fox, and a linebacker, Ceniza, that had about 1,000 tackles against JSU.
2. Tennessee Tech. Tennessee Tech was supposed to contend for the conference title in 2012. Unfortunately, they were devastated by injuries. The good news is that the injuries probably allowed them to build depth for future years. The bad news is that they are probably going to need it. TTU will lose twelve starters in all-- six on each side of the ball. On offense, the most notable loss is all-world transfer Da' Rick Rogers, but Tech will also lose quarterback Tre Lamb and running back Adam Urbano.
3. UTM. UTM had a very good team this year beating FCS Memphis in the opening game of the season. Their surprising loss to Tennessee Tech at the end of the year probably kept them out of the playoffs. UTM will definitely have some rebuilding to do in 2013 as they lose four offensive starters and five defensive starters. Among the losses are three of the very best players in the conference- quarterback Derrick Carr, wide receiver Quentin Sims and DL Montori Hughes.
4. Murray State. The good news is that Murray only loses three defensive starters. The bad news is that Murray only loses three defensive starters because they could not stop anyone last year. Aside from that, Murray loses five on offense, most notably their all-star quarterback, Casey Brockman.
5. EIU. The surprise team in the OVC will lose six offensive starters, but notably return their two best players, quarterback Jimmy Garroppolo and wide receiver Erik Lora. Among EIU's losses are Jake Walker, a 2nd team all conference running back, and Kevin Kapellas, an all-OVC center. The Panthers only lose four on defense, but will have to replace their entire starting defensive line.
6. Jacksonville State. The Gamecocks will suffer some significant losses on offense with Ivory, Mobley, Rush, Bonner, Ealey and Trey Smith all out of eligibility. There is exceptional depth on the offensive line and at running back, but finding a replacement quarterback (assuming Blanchard does not return) will be job # 1. On defense, the Gamecocks lose Dimetrio Tyson, Mike Whittier, Brooks Robinson and Nick Johnson.
6. Tennesse State. The Tigers may be the team to beat next year. They only lose 2-3 starters, but the losses do include two first team all conference offensive linemen.