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2016 DEPTH CHART ANALYSIS: Week 1 (Stanford)

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BracketCat breaks down the depth chart for the Stanford game by position group, and looks at what he predicted correctly and what he didn't quite see coming.

As expected, Jesse Ertz will be the starter at quarterback for the Stanford game. For that matter, there weren't very many surprises on this year's depth chart (which usually is a good sign).
As expected, Jesse Ertz will be the starter at quarterback for the Stanford game. For that matter, there weren't very many surprises on this year's depth chart (which usually is a good sign).
Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

The first official depth chart for the 2016 season was unveiled today. Have a look:

WILDCAT OFFENSE
POSITION NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER
Wide Receiver 9 Byron Pringle 15 Zach Reuter 13 Steven West
Left Tackle 74 Scott Frantz 61 Abdul Beecham 58 Breontae Matthews
Left Guard 62 Tyler Mitchell 78 Bryce Fitzner 72 Evan Curl
Center 67 Reid Najvar 79 Adam Holtorf 71 Dalton Risner
Right Guard 56 Terrale Johnson 70 Will Ash 59 Jason Lierz
Right Tackle 71 Dalton Risner 73 Alec Ruth 76 Ajahne Brager
Tight End 88 Dayton Valentine 88 Blaise Gammon 38 Winston Dimel
Quarterback 16 Jesse Ertz 8 Joe Hubener OR 5 Alex Delton
Fullback 38 Winston Dimel 39 Austin Katsorelos 30 Chase Johnston
Running Back 24 Charles Jones 32 Justin Silmon 3 Dalvin Warmack
Wide Receiver (Slot) 4 Dominique Heath 7
Isaiah Zuber 10 Lucas Munds
Wide Receiver 6 Deante Burton 12 Corey Sutton 27 Tanner Langvardt

WILDCAT DEFENSE
POSITION NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER
Defensive End 75 Jordan Willis 93 Davis Clark 17 Aulelio Olomua
Defensive Tackle 60 Will Geary 98 Craig Settles Jr. OR 95 Ray Price
Defensive Tackle 99 Trey Dishon 92 Matt Seiwert 91 Mitch Copeland
Defensive End 34 Tanner Wood OR 51 Reggie Walker 94 C.J. Reese
Weakside Linebacker 9 Elijah Lee 41 Sam Sizelove 57 Colborn Couchman
Middle Linebacker 35 Will Davis 58 Trent Tanking 32 Justin Hughes
Strongside Linebacker 52 Charmeachealle Moore 46 Jayd Kirby 3 Elijah Sullivan
Nickel Back (Cat Safety) 10 Donnie Starks 5 Jesse Mack 13 Ryan Mack
Cornerback 8 Duke Shelley 7 Cedric Dozier 23 Cre Moore
Strong Safety 22 Dante Barnett 18 Brogan Barry 36 Tevin Geddis
Free Safety 21 Kendall Adams 29 Sean Newlan 20 Denzel Goolsby
Cornerback 2 D.J. Reed 6 Johnathan Durham 4 Jordan Noil

WILDCAT SPECIAL TEAMS
POSITION NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER NO. PLAYER
Place-Kicker 16 Matthew McCrane 40 Ian Patterson 10 Blake Lynch
Punter 14 Nick Walsh 9 Mitch Lochbihler 22 Nick McLellan
Punt Returner 4 Dominique Heath 9 Byron Pringle 3 Dalvin Warmack
Kickoff Returner 4 Dominique Heath 9 Byron Pringle 3 Dalvin Warmack
Kickoff Specialist 40 Ian Patterson 16 Matthew McCrane 10 Blake Lynch
Holder 9 Mitch Lochbihler 14 Nick Walsh 10 Blake Lynch
Long Snapper 43 Drew Scott 38 Dalton Harman 45 David Tullis

By way of analysis, I'll hit the high points for each major position grouping.

Offense

Proving the spring game hype was not misplaced, Byron Pringle appears to have supplanted Deante Burton as the team's No. 1 wide receiver. This thankfully will allow Dominique Heath to return this more natural slot position. They are backed up by Zach Reuter, Isaiah Zuber and Corey Sutton. My third-stringers have a total of four game catches.

As expected since Fan Appreciation Day, the offensive line will have five new starters since Dalton Risner will replace Matt Kleinsorge at right tackle. Stepping in for Cody Whitehair is Scott Frantz, for Boston Stiverson is Tyler Mitchell, for Risner is Reid Najvar and for Luke Hayes is Terrale Johnson. Hard for us not to take a step back.

The time of Evan Curl and Adam Holtorf (make no mistake, Risner's still the backup center) is coming, but at this point, Will Ash, Alec Ruth and especially Bryce Fitzner have to be more than a little disappointed not to be starters.

No real surprises at quarterback (we're right back where we were exactly a year ago), fullback, running back or tight end, where Dayton Valentine was the only experienced player and Winston Dimel is expected to contribute some.

Defense

The battle to replace Marquel Bryant continues, with the experienced Tanner Wood trying to fend off the athletic Reggie Walker. It will be interesting to see who starts Friday, but both will play heavily alongside Jordan Willis.

Similarly, Craig Settles Jr. and Ray Price still are duking it out to see who will enter the four-man rotation at defensive tackle. It sure is impressive, though, that freshman Trey Dishon already has beat out junior Matt Seiwert.

The top five linebackers are the same, but Sam Sizelove is now playing WILL (and Will Davis MIKE and Mike Moore SAM — huh?), switching places with Trent Tanking, and Jayd Kirby has displaced Colborn Couchman as a SAM.

The biggest shocker on the entire depth chart for me is the starting status of D.J. Reed, who climbed past experienced Cre Moore, spring starter Johnathan Durham and Cedric "This Is My Only Year to Play" Dozier.

I guess all that experience at Fresno State and Cerritos College really paid off for Reed, who I had projected as a scout teamer. Suddenly, this looks like a surprisingly deep position group, with both Macks shutting off to nickel.

Not so much at safety, though, where there is little experienced depth behind Kendall Adams, Dante Barnett, Sean Newlan and Donnie Starks. Brogan Barry's residence in the two-deep, although expected, is a little troubling.

I will be watching closely to see how quickly Denzel Goolsby and Tevin Geddis can pick things up. If we have half as many injuries as last season, our season's defensive success could swing on their development.

Special Teams

Boy, it sure is nice to have your kickers and punters all back, isn't it? Drew Scott won't miss a beat at long snapper, where he has played already. And while there is truly no replacing Morgan Burns (or Tyler Lockett, for that matter), Heath and Pringle should provide some excitement. Don't rule out Dalvin Warmack or Zuber as returners, either.

What are your thoughts on the first depth chart of the season? Let's get some discussion going in the comments!