The first official depth chart for the 2013 season was unveiled Tuesday. Have a look:
|Wide Receiver||16||Tyler Lockett|||||88
||Torell Miller||OR||81||Kyle Klein|
|Left Tackle||78||Cornelius Lucas|||||68||William Cooper|||||74||Kason Hostrup|
|Left Guard||55||Cody Whitehair|||||70||Will Ash|||||72||Aderius Epps|
|Center||66||B.J. Finney|||||61||Drew Liddle|||||63||Gabe Bergmann|
|Right Guard||77||Boston Stiverson|||||79||Keenan Taylor|||||69||Reed Bergstrom|
|Right Tackle||73||Tavon Rooks|||||65||Matt Kleinsorge|||||71||Chance Allen|
|Tight End||18||Andre McDonald||OR||85||Zach Trujillo|||||87||Andre Jackson|
|Quarterback||15||Jake Waters|||||4||Daniel Sams|||||19||Kody Cook|
|Fullback||48||Glenn Gronkowski|||||89||Zach Nemechek|||||34||Adam Weber|
|Running Back||33||John Hubert|||||5||Robert Rose|||||28||Jarvis Leverett Jr.|
|Wide Receiver (Slot)||14||Curry Sexton|||||6||Deante Burton|||||12||Stanton Weber|
|Wide Receiver||86||Tramaine Thompson|||||2||Stephen Johnson|||||13||Steven West|
|Place-Kicker||3||Jack Cantele||OR||16||Matthew McCrane|||||8||Dillon Wilson|
|Defensive End||44||Ryan Mueller|||||94||Alauna Finau|||||54||Taylor Godinet|
|Nose Tackle||98||Chaquil Reed|||||97||Demonte Hood||OR||79||Chris Brown|
|Defensive Tackle||95||Travis Britz|||||99||Valentino Coleman||OR||92||Matt Seiwert|
|Defensive End||45||Marquel Bryant|||||90||Laton Dowling|||||75||Jordan Willis|
|Strongside Linebacker||50||Tre Walker|||||52||Charmeachealle Moore|||||37||Cody Marley|
|Middle Linebacker||53||Blake Slaughter|||||35||Will Davis|||||47||Myles Copeland|
|Weakside Linebacker||21||Jonathan Truman|||||32||Dakorey Johnson|||||6||Tate Snyder|
|Cornerback||4||Dorrian Roberts|||||33||Morgan Burns|||||24||Nate Jackson|
|Strong Safety||22||Dante Barnett|||||13||Travis Green|||||25||Joseph Bonugli|
|Nickel Back (Cat Safety)||15||Randall Evans|||||5||Jonathan Coleman|||||29||Sean Newlan|
|Free Safety||12||Ty Zimmerman|||||20||Dylan Schellenberg|||||17||Weston Hiebert|
|Cornerback||7||Kip Daily|||||2||Carl Miles Jr.|||||10||Donnie Starks|
|Punter||38||Mark Krause||OR||48||Ethan Hammes|||||9||Mitch Lochbihler|
|WILDCAT SPECIAL TEAMS|
|Punt Returner||86||Tramaine Thompson|||||16||Tyler Lockett|||||14||Curry Sexton|
|Kickoff Returner||16||Tyler Lockett|||||86||Tramaine Thompson|||||6||Deante Burton|
|Kickoff Specialist||16||Matthew McCrane|||||8||Dillon Wilson|||||40||Ian Patterson|
|Holder||38||Mark Krause|||||48||Ethan Hammes|||||19||Kody Cook|
|Long Snapper||63||Marcus Heit|||||46||Dalton Converse|||||43||Drew Scott|
By way of analysis, I'll hit the high points for each major position grouping.
Not too many surprises here, as befits a unit returning the majority of its starters (and the entire offensive line).
I was vocal in my prediction that Jake Waters would be named the starter, even before Daniel Sams' injury concerns came to light. Consistency always is the watchword at this position.
There are persistent rumors that Boston Stiverson may have broken his foot again, a six-week injury, so his being listed ahead of Keenan Taylor is ... interesting. I interpret that to mean it's his spot when he's healthy again.
Stephen Johnson's inclusion is intriguing, albeit not entirely surprising after his performance in the spring game. I still would rate him seventh among the listed wide receivers, however, even though it says he's a backup.
I took quite a few liberties when filling in the blanks for the third string, although much of it is based on my observations from the spring game. As the season progresses, I will update these to reflect playing-time patterns.
Now this is where the real fun is. There were a few surprises here, although almost all of the pleasant variety.
Let's start with the defensive line. I was pleased to see my prediction of Marquel Bryant starting over Alauna Finau bore fruit. Laton Dowling slides up to replace the departed Devon Nash, and we badly need him to perform well.
The starting tackles are unchanged from the spring, but the backups sure are interesting. Despite his late arrival, Chris Brown is making things interesting, and Valentino Coleman looks to have a Vai Lutui-type impact.
Now linebackers: As with Brown, Dakorey Johnson is making immediate headway after his delayed enrollment. All else is as we expected. I threw Tate Snyder a bone because it's time for him to play at last, but I don't expect much.
Finally, the defensive backfield. I took some liberties here in going with a 4-2-5 alignment instead of the depth chart's preferred 4-3 look. We only play a 4-3 something like 25 percent of the time, based on the last two seasons.
Given that, I figure Kip Daily is the closest to being the "third" corner of the non-starters listed. Randall Evans obviously is the nickel guy. Although Sean Newlan is the future at free safety, I slid him over to cat safety for fun.
Is it a good sign when the most interesting and likely most heated position battles are for kicker and punter?
Of all the positions on the team, I think we know the least about these. I like Jack Cantele to win out at kicker, but maybe not handle kickoffs in favor of one of the other scholarship kickers.
Both punters are seniors, and I'm guessing the coaches would like to limp through this season with them and redshirt Mitch Lochbihler in order to save him for the next four years. But if the other two suck, he may have to play.
As unsettled as those positions are, long snapper is legitimately two guys deep and there are absolutely zero fears at the return positions, obviously. This unit once again should be a difference-making strength for the Wildcats.
What are your thoughts about the first depth chart of the season? Let's get some discussion going in the comments!