But with much of the focus shifting on these players' futures, what about the schools they left behind?
Here is our list of the 11 programs impacted the most, with the number of departed players listed in parentheses.
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Texas A&M Aggies (3)
The volume of players leaving College Station isn’t as extreme as other schools, but their impact will be felt. The Aggies said early good-byes to their third and fourth leading receivers (Christian Kirk and Ricky Seals-Jones) and when you add in departed senior Josh Reynolds, it means that Christian Kirk will enter 2017 as the only pass-catcher with big-time experience. That’s bad news for a club that doesn’t currently have an established QB.
On the other side of the ball, the Aggies lost a generational talent in Myles Garrett, who could be the No. 1 overall pick in April’s draft.
Oklahoma Sooners (3)
Baker Mayfield will be back in 2017 but will return with an almost entirely new cast of characters around him. In addition to the departure of Bilitnekoff winner Dede Westbrook due to graduation, the Sooners also lost Semaje Perine and Joe Mixon at running back. The pair combined for over 1,300 yards and 22 touchdowns this season.
Add in defensive lineman Charles Walker (who left the team late in the season to prepare for the draft), and Oklahoma will have a significantly different look in 2017.
Orange Bowl MVP Dalvin Cook departed early after rushing for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns this year, as did leading receiver Travis Rudolph. FOX Sports second team All-American Roderick Johnson is headed to the pros as well.
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Tennessee Volunteers (3)
The Vols were already ravaged by graduation and were hit equally hard by early entries. Gone are All-American defensive end Derek Barnett, as well as leading receiver Josh Malone and dynamic all-purpose back Alvin Kamara. With so much talent on its way out the door, it could be a longggg season on Rocky Top in 2017.
LSU Tigers (4)
Few programs routinely lose more high-level NFL talent than the Tigers do, but in 2017 it feels like the departures won’t be as catastrophic as in years past. Yes, LSU icon Leonard Fournette is gone, but after the junior dealt with an ankle injury all season long, Derrius Guice proved to be a worthy replacement. And the defense should reload even after safety Jamal Adams and lineman Davon Godchaux went pro early as well.
Of every player who declared, you could make the case that leading receiver Malchi Dupre’s departure will be felt most heavily.
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USC Trojans (3)
While the Trojans only lost three early entrees, you could make a case that on a player-for-player basis, USC was hit the hardest of any program in college football.
Gone are Thorpe Award winner (and return man extraordinaire) Adoree Jackson, as well as JuJu Smith-Schuster, who was the Trojans’ leading receiver in 2015 and 2016. The most surprising departure was Damian Mama, a second-team All-Pac 12 honoree at guard.
Florida Gators (5)
The Gators relied heavily on college football’s sixth-ranked defense in 2016, so it's bad news to see that four of their five early entrees are on that side of the ball. That includes All-American Teez Tabor and fellow corner Quincy Wilson (who combined for seven interceptions this year), as well as defensive lineman Caleb Brantley, who led the Gators’ defense with 9.5 tackles for loss.
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Miami (FL) Hurricanes (5)
Year one of the Mark Richt era was a rip-roaring success but with quarterback Brad Kaaya (27 touchdowns, 3,532 yards passing) headlining a long list of players headed to the pros, it will be hard to top in 2017.
The biggest impact will likely be felt at tight end, where David Njoku (eight touchdowns) is already receiving buzz as a potential first-round pick.
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Ohio State Buckeyes (5)
After losing nine early entries to the draft last year, this five-man group doesn’t feel so bad. But don’t be mistaken, the impact of these five will be felt in 2017.
For the second-straight year, the Buckeyes will have to replace a big chunk of their secondary; in 2016 it was Eli Apple and Vonn Bell, in 2017 it’s All-American Malik Hooker and corner Gareon Conley. All-American linebacker Raekwon McMillan is gone too, as is the most explosive player on the Buckeyes’ offense Curtis Samuel.
It’s easy to say that Ohio State doesn’t rebuild, they reload. But that is a lot of talent leaving Columbus.
Clemson Tigers (4)
The departures of Deshaun Watson, Wayne Gallman, Mike Williams and Artavis Scott aren’t surprising. But they will be felt.
You don’t need me to tell you the impact of losing college football’s most dynamic quarterback, a back who has rushed for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons or two wide receivers who combined for 176 catches this season. But it’s safe to say the Clemson offense will look significantly different in 2017 than it did this year.
Washington Huskies (4)
Throughout the 2016 seaso, a narrative began to form that Washington was “a year ahead of schedule.” If that’s the case, then it's a good thing the Huskies’ got to the playoff in 2016. Because with so much talent departing, that feat will be hard to replicate in 2017. That group includes All-American receiver John Ross and three All-Pac 12 defenders -- safety Budda Baker, corner Sidney Jones and defensive lineman Elijah Qualls.
The difference between Washington and the other teams on the list is that the Huskies don’t have the overall depth to replace a mass exodus like this.