The first official depth chart for the 2015 season was unveiled today. Have a look:
|Wide Receiver||6||Deante Burton||12||Stanton Weber||13||Steven West|
|Left Tackle||55||Cody Whitehair||78||Bryce Fitzner||78||Ajhane Brager|
|Left Guard||77||Boston Stiverson||56||Terrale Johnson||73||Alec Ruth|
|Center||71||Dalton Risner||69||Reed Bergstrom||67||Reid Najvar|
|Right Guard||68||Luke Hayes||70||Will Ash||59||Jason Lierz|
|Right Tackle||65||Matt Kleinsorge||64||Aaron Bennett||75||A.J. Allen|
|Tight End||80||Cody Small||OR||88||Dayton Valentine||84||Zach Heiman|
|Quarterback||16||Jesse Ertz||8||Joe Hubener||OR||5||Alex Delton|
|Fullback||48||Glenn Gronkowski||OR||38||Winston Dimel||39||Austin Katsorelos|
|Running Back||24||Charles Jones||32||Justin Silmon||OR||3||Dalvin Warmack|
|Wide Receiver (Slot)||19||Kody Cook||81
||Kyle Klein||15||Zach Reuter|
|Wide Receiver||4||Dominique Heath||2||Andre Davis||82||Denzel Goolsby|
|Defensive End||75||Jordan Willis||93||Davis Clark||51||Reggie Walker|
|Defensive Tackle||95||Travis Britz||92||Matt Seiwert||94||C.J. Reese|
|Defensive Tackle||60||Will Geary||97||Demonte Hood||99||Trey Dishon|
|Defensive End||45||Marquel Bryant||34||Tanner Wood||90||Joshua Little|
|Weakside Linebacker||9||Elijah Lee||58||Trent Tanking||47||Myles Copeland|
|Middle Linebacker||35||Will Davis||41||Sam Sizelove||59||Jayd Kirby|
|Strongside Linebacker||52||Charmeachealle Moore||57||Colborn Couchman||36||Logan Thompson|
|Nickel Back (Cat Safety)||10||Donnie Starks||24||Nate Jackson||28||Nate Guidry Jr.|
|Cornerback||33||Morgan Burns||13||Ryan Mack||5||Jesse Mack|
|Strong Safety||22||Dante Barnett||21||Kendall Adams||26||Cameron Morgan|
|Free Safety||4||Kaleb Prewett||29||Sean Newlan||18||Brogan Barry|
|Cornerback||7||Danzel McDaniel||23||Cre Moore||8||Duke Shelley|
|WILDCAT SPECIAL TEAMS|
|Place-Kicker||16||Matthew McCrane||3||Jack Cantele||40||Ian Patterson|
|Punter||14||Nick Walsh||9||Mitch Lochbihler||40||Ian Patterson|
|Punt Returner||4||Dominique Heath||12||Stanton Weber||33||Morgan Burns|
|Kickoff Returner||33||Morgan Burns||4||Dominique Heath||12||Stanton Weber|
|Kickoff Specialist||40||Ian Patterson||8||Dillon Wilson||16||Matthew McCrane|
|Holder||23||Collin Sexton||12||Stanton Weber||14||Nick Walsh|
|Long Snapper||46||Dalton Converse||43||Drew Scott||38||Dalton Harman|
By way of analysis, I'll hit the high points for each major position grouping.
Quarterback, running back, tight end and fullback all pretty much shook out as we anticipated, with two good options continuing to compete for either starting or backup spots at each position.
The starting offensive line is no surprise, but since recent intelligence suggests Stiverson and possibly Kleinsorge will not be ready to go Saturday with lingering injuries, expect to see Johnson and maybe Bennett or even Ash.
For backups, I tried to assume all of the freshmen will redshirt on the offensive line, but there is some talk that Scott Frantz might not do so. I'll wait until he hits the field for the first time to add him, though.
And finally, the wide receivers. Obviously, Klein's progress in the spring has stalled or he simply has been overtaken by Cook and Heath. The latter development is most encouraging, of course, but man, there's a lot of unproven there.
Things are naturally much more settled on the defensive side of the ball, what with all the returning starters and backups. The only question mark was whether the coaches were trying to motivate Prewett. The answer? Of course.
The new backups are a little more interesting. It will be fascinating to see how long Clark can hold off Walker, who is almost assured to play. Similarly, Ryan Mack's ascendance is a little surprising.
The omission of the nickelback position entirely has to be an oversight, because all reports are that Starks and Jackson will be there. I don't think this signifies a permanent return to the 4-3 defense, but we might see it more.
The third string is entirely of my own devising. I will adjust it accordingly once we see the true depth play Saturday.
Again, very few surprises here. Other than, the entire unit was returning. There sure is going to be a lot of early pressure on Heath to replace the T-Man as a playmaker in two phases, though. Hope he lives up to it.
On the whole, I was struck by how little I was surprised by this depth chart. Almost everything seemed to line up with camp reports and fan expectations, and that almost never happens. Usually, there's at least one curveball in there.
So either the coaches are doing a worse job of keeping a lid on things (unlikely) or we've simply reached the point as a program where the talent is performing to expectations, rather than being passed up by walk-ons left and right.
Either way, it's a welcome sight for a roster nerd such as me to be so correct on so many predictions. Other than the Klein demotion and the possible playing of Delton (which I allowed for in my post), I don't feel I missed much at all.
What are your thoughts on the first depth chart of the season? Let's get some discussion going in the comments!