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January 31, 2007
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It's no secret that Ohio State and Notre Dame each have to replace a quarterback who was one of the best in school history.
Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and Brady Quinn were seniors. There was no eligibility remaining. Filling their shoes won't be easy, but at least the coaches for the Buckeyes and Irish have the next size on the rack.
But Jim Tressel and Charlie Weis will have to special order shoes at a couple of other positions. In all likelihood, they weren't as prepared for the early departures to the NFL of Ted Ginn Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and Antonio Pittman in Columbus, or Darius Walker in South Bend.
Every year before the season starts, Rivals.com takes a look at the players with the biggest shoes to fill. But this year's early entry deadline for the NFL Draft has produced a list of players who will have to fill shoes sooner than anyone believed. This isn't about the players who have to step in for the likes of Calvin Johnson or Marshawn Lynch. Their coaches had a pretty good idea those guys weren't going to be on the college gridiron for four years.
Here's a look at some of the guys who will have to lace them up and raise their production ASAP: