The Cowboys lose their starting quarterback (Clint Chelf), three of their top four receivers (Josh Stewart, Tracy Moore and Charlie Moore) and two starting offensive linemen (Parker Graham, Brandon Webb) from the 2013 squad.
They bring back a sound running back in Desmond Roland, several young playmakers at receiver like Jhajuan Seales, Brandon Sheperd and Marcell Ateman, and should welcome back offensive lineman Devin Davis from a season-ending knee injury.
Junior-college transfer Tyreek Hill, who can play slot receiver or running back, might be asked to become a prominent weapon right away.
The starting quarterback could be the experienced-yet-inconsistent J.W. Walsh, or someone who's never taken a college snap, including incoming freshman Mason Rudolph.
OSU must replace at least two players from every level of the defense, including linemen Calvin Barnett and Tyler Johnson, linebackers Shaun Lewis and Caleb Lavey, cornerback Justin Gilbert and safeties Daytawion Lowe and Shamiel Gary.
The Cowboys bring back tackle James Castleman, linebacker Ryan Simmons and cornerback Kevin Peterson, who have already been key contributors early in their careers. Former reserves like end Emmanuel Ogbah, tackle Ofa Hautau, cornerback Ashton Lampkin and safety Lyndell Johnson will shoulder more responsibility in 2014.
Junior college transfer Devante Averette, a linebacker, could immediately fill a key role.