Iowa State had the luxury of leaning on one of nation's best linebacker duos of Jake Knott and A.J. Klein for the past three years.
Both are now in the NFL, and how the Cyclones fill their void may be crucial to their success in 2013.
Iowa State has to replace a pair of first-team All-Big 12 performers from the same position group. Knott and Klein were the centerpiece of coordinator Wally Burnham's defense — and both were capable of game-changing plays.
The Cyclones will instead rely on senior captain Jeremiah George, who was selected to the Butkus Award watch list, and junior Jevohn Miller.