With Pierce leaving early to enter the NFL draft, 5-foot-5, 170-pound Matt Brown looks to be the featured back. Brown has served capably as Pierce's backup.
Beyond Brown, sophomore Kenneth Harper and senior Darius Johnson are the only backs with playing experience. At 6-0, 215 pounds, Harper is nearly identical to Pierce in size; he rushed for 128 yards and a TD last season in limited action. The 5-10, 210-pound Johnson joined the team as a walk-on last fall.
As starting quarterback, Chris Coyer could face competition from former Penn State QB Kevin Newsome in the fall.
At wide receiver, gaps left by Joe Jones and Rod Streater likely will be filled by junior Deon Miller and seniors C.J. Hammond and Malcolm Eugene.
Kamal Johnson and Kadeem Custis appear to be front-runners to earn spots on the defensive line.
At linebacker, converted running back Ahkeem Smith and Blaze Caponegro appear locks.
Rhule leaves. Matt Rhule, recently promoted to co-offensive coordinator by Temple football coach Steve Addazio, is leaving to become the assistant offensive-line coach for the Super Bowl champion New York Giants, who have not yet announced the move.
Rhule had been on the Owls' staff for six seasons, the first five under Al Golden, now the coach at Miami.
Daily News staff writer Mike Kern contributed to this article.