The 2017 NFL Draft declaration deadline has come and gone, meaning we pretty much know who will be returning for another season in college barring any key departures via the supplemental draft.

And while the sport loses a ton of star power, there are still some big names returning for one more go. Everyone has their own reasons for returning. Some need to improve their draft stock, others weren't healthy. Some simply aren't draft material as underclassmen -- and that might not change regardless.

Whatever the reason, college football will remain fun because of these returning players. With the 2016 season now behind us, here are the top 17 juniors returning for their senior seasons in 2017.

1. Baker Mayfield, QB, Oklahoma: A former walk-on, all Mayfield has done is pass for 7,665 yards and 76 touchdowns -- adding another 13 scores rushing -- over the past two seasons for the Sooners. Last season, he had the highest passer rating in the entire Football Bowl Subdivision. His ability to extend plays and make the magic happen where there is none is a rare skill. Oklahoma loses a lot of talent around him, though, meaning he'll be even more critical to the team's success in 2017.

2. J.T. Barrett, QB, Ohio State: It feels like Barrett has been around for six years already. The popular narrative is that Barrett "regressed" in 2016. To be sure, his numbers weren't as eye-popping as they were when he was a redshirt freshman in 2014. However, the Buckeyes lacked a true No. 1 receiver on the outside and had offensive line problems -- not to mention Ohio State's offense has never been the same post-Tom Herman. Did Barrett "peak" too early in his career? Perhaps, but he's universally regarded as a tremendous leader and he'll have every opportunity to break even more records in 2017. Oh, and the Buckeyes should be even better than they were this past season when they won 11 games.

3. Nick Chubb, RB, Georgia: It's a bit surprising on the surface to see Chubb return, but the 2017 running back draft class is loaded and Chubb's junior season, while good by any measure, still wasn't up to his standards. Chubb has also battled injuries throughout his career, including a wicked knee injury in 2015. He should be back to 100 percent for next year, giving the Bulldogs an experienced, talented No. 1 running back. With a better season behind an improved offensive line, Chubb may see his draft stock trend back up.

4. Harold Landry, DE, Boston College: Landry is a monster off the edge and finished first in the nation with 16.5 sacks. With the likes of DeMarcus Walker (Florida State) and Ejuan Price (Pitt) off to the NFL, there's no doubt about who the top pass rusher off the edge is in the ACC for next season. The Eagles' defense was hurt by the fact that the offense was so inept, but with Landry back, this unit should be disruptive again.

5. Shaun Dion Hamilton, LB, Alabama: Win a bunch of games, lose players to the NFL Draft, repeat. It's another year at the office for coach Nick Saban. The good news is that, all things considered, the Crimson Tide didn't lose that many players to the pros. Hamilton's return from a season-ending ACL injury will be the biggest boost for this defense as it reloads yet again. The junior was on his way to a career season with 64 tackles, nine for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions and a forced fumble before his injury in the SEC Championship Game.

Best of the rest

Anthony Averett, CB, Alabama: Averett was one of the Tide's top corners and led the team with eight passes broken up, plus he had two forced fumbles. The year 2016 was set up for Averett to be a true impact player, and he made the most of it. His draft stock should only skyrocket if he picks up where he left off next season.

Quin Blanding, S, Virginia: Blanding has been ridiculously good for three seasons now, notching more than 100 tackles each year. He amassed 120 tackles this past season, averaging 10 per game. Things have been rough for Virginia lately, but he is one of the most accomplished defenders in college football.

Bradley Chubb, DE, NC State: Landry will garner much of the attention at pass rusher in the ACC, but Chubb wasn't that far behind with 10 sacks and 22 tackles for loss of his own. Chubb is a legit disrupter off the edge, and he should be more of a household name by this time next year.

Luke Falk, QB, Washington State: By the time Falk finishes his career, he should be among the more accomplished passers ever in college football. Losing top receiver Gabe Marks hurts, but Falk has been a 4,000-yard passer in each of his two seasons as a starter. There's no reason to think he won't be again in 2017.

Royce Freeman, RB, Oregon: Freeman has experienced a somewhat similar path as Chubb at Georgia. He exploded on to the scene as a freshman with 1,365 rushing yards during the Ducks' run to the national championship. He bested that performance with 1,836 yards as a sophomore. However, injuries and an overall disappointing 2016 means Freeman is back to finish his career on a better (webbed) foot. As weird as it is to say, Freeman has been overlooked nationally.

Josey Jewell, LB, Iowa: The junior led the Hawkeyes with 124 tackles. That was just outside the top 10 nationally. There are a few seniors departing from Iowa's defense, including defensive back Desmond King, but overall this should be a loaded group and Jewell will be the unquestioned leader. He'll be considered among the top defenders in the Big Ten to start the season.

Tyquan Lewis, DE, Ohio State: The Buckeyes had their fair share of defensive players bolt for the NFL. It helps, then, to have Lewis return for another season. The senior-to-be had eight sacks, 10.5 tackles for loss and five quarterback hurries. Ohio State's defensive line should be ridiculous next season.

Sony Michel, RB, Georgia: The other half of Georgia's electrifying backfield. Chubb is the big-bodied back; Michel is the darting, flashy "1B" option. His speed is next-level, and he's more of a threat to catch the ball. Barring an injury to Chubb, it'll be hard for Michel to be a 1,000-yard rusher like he was in 2015, but he completes what will arguably be the best backfield in college football.

Derrick Nnadi, DT, Florida State: Linebacker Matthew Thomas, finally able to complete a season without suspension, almost got the nod after being the team's leading tackler. Maybe his best days are ahead of him, but Nnadi was a first-team All-ACC selection by the coaches. When he was healthy, FSU's defensive line was better. Even as an interior lineman, he got his fair number of sacks (six) and tackles for loss (10.5). He'll be a force along the Seminoles' D-line again.

Mason Rudolph, QB, Oklahoma State: Rudolph is the "other" top quarterback in the Big 12 next to Mayfield. But make no mistake: Rudolph can flat-out sling it. He's mobile in the pocket for a big guy, and while he's not the most graceful athlete, he can get the job done with his feet. Look for Rudolph to put up more huge numbers as a senior.

Azeem Victor, LB, Washington: Victor was a stud in Washington's feared front seven, but a leg injury ended his season early. If he had been able to stay healthy, he was on pace to record nearly 100 tackles. The Huskies' secondary takes a hit, but the front seven should be excellent again with Victor leading the way.

James Washington, WR, Oklahoma State: Washington absolutely lit up Colorado in the Alamo Bowl with nine catches for 171 yards and a score (and he would have had another if not for a drop). He's the Big 12's best returning receiver and an exciting deep threat. Another year of him and Rudolph is going to be fun as Oklahoma State vies for a Big 12 title with its best quarterback-receiver combo since Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon.