2012 Depth Chart Analysis

I meant to post this a little earlier in the week, but I've been swamped with my roster project, a.k.a. Frankenstein's monster that grew wildly out of control on me this year.

But thankfully, that monstrosity finally is finished, freeing me up to do other blogging at last.

So follow the jump for my breakdown of the first depth chart of the season and what it means.

In short, the theme here is that there were next to no surprises on this thing. It's almost exactly how we pictured the team back in the spring. I think that's a very good sign of consistency, continuity and veteran leadership. Bodes well.

Quarterback

  1. Collin Klein
  2. Daniel Sams OR Sam Johnson
  3. Joe Hubener

No real surprises here. As Bill Snyder already said, it's best to read that backup position as a situational thing.

Sams does some things better than Johnson (read: run) and Johnson does some things better than Sams (read: pass). It will be interesting to see who eventually ends up taking more snaps, though, because that person — especially if it's Sams — will be the front-runner to be the starter next year.

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Fullback

  1. Braden Wilson
  2. Zach Nemechek
  3. Ben Kall

Fifth-year senior Kall being passed up by recently converted tight end Nemechek is a bit of a surprise, but there's nothing else noteworthy here. It's worth noting that Glenn Gronkowski will redshirt, or else I'd list him third.

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Running Back

  1. John Hubert
  2. Angelo Pease
  3. Robert Rose OR DeMarcus Robinson

Absolutely no surprises here. The only question is whether Robinson can overtake those ahead of him and finally find his way onto the field during a real, live game. Stay tuned.

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Wide Receivers

  1. Chris Harper, Tyler Lockett and Tramaine Thompson
  2. Torell Miller, Curry Sexton and Kyle Klein
  3. Cody Harrison, Zach McFall and Andre Jackson OR Logan Stephens

Interesting that they chose Lockett over Thompson for the slot position. I would have expected Lockett on the outside, where his speed is an advantage down the field. That said, they obviously can use whatever configuration they want depending on the formation and game situation. You can't interpret these things too literally.

Some are surprised by Klein behind Thompson, but I also wouldn't interpret that literally. Think of it more like an S-curve that reads Harper, Thompson, Lockett, Sexton, Klein and Miller, in that rough order.

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Tight End

  1. Travis Tannahill
  2. Zach Trujillo
  3. Andre McDonald

Obviously, this alignment will last only until McDonald is released from the doghouse. (Obvious pun is obvious.)

But it's a good opportunity for Trujillo to step up and show what he can do, continuing his progress from the spring game, since he and McDonald will be the go-to guys here next season.

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Left Tackle

  1. Cornelius Lucas
  2. Tomasi Mariner
  3. William Cooper (if healthy) OR Ellwood Clement (if he ever shows up on campus)

Mariner at left tackle is a bit of a surprise. At 329 pounds, you'd think he would be a better candidate at right guard.

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Left Guard

  1. Nick Puetz
  2. Matt Kleinsorge
  3. Will Ash

Interesting that Kleinsorge, a walk-on, is backing up a fellow former walk-on in Puetz. I said some good things about Kleinsorge last year in the roster countdown, and it looks as if my optimism has been rewarded slightly.

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Center

  1. B.J. Finney
  2. Drew Liddle
  3. Aderius Epps

As with left guard, it's interesting that walk-on Liddle is backing up former walk-on Finney. I would have listen Shaun Simon third, but since he's obviously sitting out the year with an injury situation, I slid Epps over.

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Right Guard

  1. Keenan Taylor
  2. Ethan Douglas
  3. Boston Stiverson (when healthy)

When Stiverson returns around the KU game from his foot fracture, I have every expectation he'll jet up into at least an "OR" with Taylor. Until then, this is how it stands. Douglas is more of a tackle than a guard, but he'll do fine here.

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Right Tackle

  1. Cody Whitehair
  2. Tavon Rooks
  3. Kason Hostrup

Whitehair ended up beating out Rooks in what must have been a pretty pitched battle. But I expect Rooks to threaten for playing time throughout the season.

If you rank our effective rotation of nine linemen, it probably looks something like this: Finney, Puetz, Lucas, Whitehair, Stiverson, Taylor, Rooks, Mariner and Douglas.

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Defensive Ends

  1. Adam Davis and Meshak Williams
  2. Alauna Finau and Ryan Mueller
  3. Marquel Bryant and Laton Dowling

I think this one is pretty self-explanatory. Nice to see Finau already in the two-deep after just fall camp, though.

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Defensive Tackles

  1. John Sua and Vai Lutui
  2. Hakeem Akinola and Javonta Boyd OR Travis Britz
  3. Chaquil Reed and Javonta Boyd OR Travis Britz

It doesn't speak well of Boyd that a true freshman is already in an "OR" situation with him. But hey, at least Boyd's finally on the depth chart, right? I like that Akinola has broken through and predict he will beat out Sua eventually.

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Middle Linebacker

  1. Arthur Brown
  2. Blake Slaughter
  3. Jared Loomis

I hope Mike Moore is watching carefully and learning a lot as he redshirts this season, because all three of these guys are seniors and it's his job to lose next season. Oh, my kingdom for Jeff Luc...

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Strongside Linebacker

  1. Justin Tuggle OR Jarell Childs
  2. Justin Tuggle OR Jarell Childs
  3. Cody Marley

Obviously, this position battle will continue for at least the first few games this season. I suspect Tuggle eventually will beat out Childs as Tuggle gains experience and/or Childs becomes injured.

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Weakside Linebacker

  1. Tre Walker
  2. Jonathan Truman
  3. Tate Snyder

One of these guys, probably Truman, likely will slide over to the strong side next season, since it would be dumb to have two of our three remaining best linebackers at the same position.

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Free Safety

  1. Ty Zimmerman
  2. Kent Gainous
  3. Dante Barnett

Pleasantly surprised to see Gainous already has ascended to backing up Zimmerman. That makes him the primary candidate to move over to strong safety next season. Hopefully, Barnett can retain his redshirt this year.

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Strong Safety

  1. Thomas Ferguson
  2. Jarard Milo
  3. Morgan Burns

Words cannot adequately express my relief that Ferguson is healthy and scheduled to start. We were thin enough at the position anyway as it was. As with middle linebacker and strongside linebacker, the top two here are seniors.

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Cornerbacks

  1. Allen Chapman and Nigel Malone
  2. Carl Miles Jr. and Randall Evans OR Kip Daily
  3. Ed Brown and Randall Evans OR Kip Daily

Not a lot of surprises here. Evans will function as the primary nickel back and also can play safety. Brown is new to the position, but there's not a lot of other options here that don't involve burning redshirts.

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Special Teams

No surprises here at all. This could be one of the best overall special teams units K-State's ever fielded.

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