Brian Blechen Sr. S Utah
A former linebacker, Blechen was due for a breakout season in 2013, but missed the whole thing with an injury. The Ute defense could really use a boost and a big, versatile safety who can defend the run and pass exceptionally well like Blechen could go a long way to shoring up their defense. Teaming up with fellow senior Eric Rowe, Blechen's return could give Utah one of the better safety duos in the conference.
Justin Davis So. RB USC
Davis was excelling as a back in the rotation as a true freshman before he got took down by an injury about halfway through the season. He had a monster game against Arizona State (122 yards, 3 TDs), before going down and picked up six total touchdowns in just six full games. The Trojans are very healthy at running back with Javorious Allen and Tre Madden coming back, but having a healthy Davis in the fold could create the country's best three-headed monster at running back.
Lamar Dawson Sr. LB USC
The Trojans lost Dawson when they lost Davis and the veteran linebacker going down was a major blow for USC. He is a steady presence on the edge for the Trojans and they especially need experienced players like him in the front seven with how thin they are. With a healthy Dawson, the Trojans could have one of the best linebacker groups in the entire country.
Michael Doctor Sr. LB Oregon State
The Beavers' defenses really could have used Doctor in 2013, but he missed the entire season due to injury. He got a fifth year of eligibility though and will bring his consistency and tackling ability back to the unit. Teamed with returning seniors D.J. Alexander and Jabral Johnson, Doctor's return means that the Beavers could have an excellent linebacker group.
Austin Hill Sr. WR Arizona
Probably the best player in the conference returning from injury, Hill had more than 1,300 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2012, but missed all of 2013. He is a big target that is as good as any player in the conference at coming down with jump balls deep downfield, giving the Wildcats back maybe their best offensive weapon. Whoever wins the quarterback job for the Wildcats will end up getting an excellent target in a healthy Hill.
Jordon James Sr. RB UCLA
James looked like he was going to be the Bruins‘ replacement for Johnathan Franklin before getting hurt in 2013 and then being used sparingly in a game or two the rest of the way. James ran for more than 100 yards in UCLA's first three games in 2013, and the Bruins are hoping that he can go back to that production in 2014 and make their offense more than just Brett Hundley and a bunch of role players at skill positions. If James can stay healthy in 2014, he could be a big reason why the Bruins end up winning the Pac-12 South.
Tre Madden Jr. RB USC
Like Davis, Madden got off to a hot start, but his production dwindled down the stretch due to being banged up. He is a big back that could be devastating rotating carries with Allen and Davis and is also the best receiver of the group as he caught four touchdowns in 2013. Like Davis, he could be part of an exceptional Trojan trio at running back if he can avoid getting banged up again.
Owamagbe Odighizuwa Sr. DE UCLA
The Bruins lost Odighizuwa going into 2013 right when he was expected to come into his own. The bright side of his injury was that it allowed young defensive linemen to get some experience and Odighizuwa's return will now soften the blow of Cassius Marsh's loss to graduation. He probably isn't going to be a star, but his veteran presence should team perfectly with budding stars Ellis McCarthy, Eddie Vanderdoes and
Kenneth Scott Jr. WR Utah
A forgotten talent, Scott got injured in the first quarter of last year's opener, not letting him follow up on a minor breakout season in 2012 where he had 360 yards and three touchdowns. When healthy, he is a big, speedy target that could pair perfectly with returning 1000-yard receiver Dres Anderson. If he can stay healthy, he could turn the Utah receiving unit into one of the best in the conference.
Avery Sebastian Jr. S Cal
Sebastian was on the verge of becoming a standout at safety for the Bears when he got knocked for the 2013 season. He has been good in spot duty and as a sometimes starter, but he should get his chance to shine as a full-time starter in 2013. His return will be huge for Cal after they seemingly lost just about every defensive starter to injury in 2013.
Kasen Williams Sr. WR Washington
One of the most physical receivers in the country, Williams is a beast in jump ball situations and an asset in the red zone, but the Huskies lost him about halfway through 2013 and hope to get him back at full strength in 2014. A former high school national player of the year, Williams hasn't quite lived up to expectations, but he might be able to if he can come back full steam in 2013. He will be a huge score the Huskies if he can come back as the rest of their receiver group lacks size.
Travis Wilson Jr. QB Utah
Wilson was looking like one of the best young quarterbacks in the conference before an injury took him out in 2013 and threatened his career. A giant pass thrower with a gunslinger's mentality, he can get hot and throw the ball all over the field while also being a running threat. Getting him back could be a big part of Utah getting back to a bowl game in 2014.