And so here it is. The football depth chart set for the start of spring football at BG. This is always a good feeling...as we get a chance to look ahead at what the program has to offer for the Fall.
A few observations.
There was some shuffling on the o-line but no huge surprises. You have rock-solid Tim McAuliffe in the middle with Labus and Hunter at the tackles, as was probably expected. Taborn, who played T last year due to injuries, is moving into G and Jack Kramer was a backup G and is now up to the starter. Beyond that, we need to keep good hope for health. BG has three backups who have never played a down and one (Lucke) who has played in only one game. Clark Clancy is the one backup with any kind of playing experience. So, BG needs to stay healthy and know that the line next year will be very young.
At QB, James Morgan is the starter, as expected. The backups are undetermined. You have walk-on Loy, Elijah Cunningham who red-shirted and Jarrett Doege, who is a FR early enrollee. It matters how this one sorts out. Most teams need a backup QB at some point in a year. I have a feeling it might end up being Doege in the 2-hole, but that's just a guess.
At WR, you have Redding, Zimmerman, Pough and Miller, which represents no surprise. Also offers no real outside deep threat. The backups include Matt Wilcox (early enrollee) and Darin Guyton, a transfer who was once at Oregon State. Phoutavong and Folkerstma round out the WR Corps. If I had to guess, I'd say Guyton will start to steal reps pretty quickly with his size and speed.
Lastly, Cleveland and Wilson will split time at RB. Both are seniors.
On the defensive line, it is important to remember that this is all a rotation, so really the whole two-deep gets PT. Dirion Hutchins and Nico Lautenan are moving into the rotation. Lautenan has played some....9 games last year as a R-FR. In general, defensive line is stable for us heading into Spring.
At LB....well, BG might never have lost two more key LBs in the same year as they did with Austin Valdez and Trent Greene. Nate Locke will slide in at MLB. He's got quite a bit of time under his belt with 39 games played. Aaron Banks will take the other spot. He's a R-SR who has played some but not much. He made 3 tackles last year. His backup is KY transfer Dorian Hendrix and the backup in the middle is Jerry Judd, a R-FR in his first game. The other LB is stable, with Brandon Harris and Nillijah Ballew, both converted DBs.
Speaking of which, in the d-backfield BG has Cam Jeffries and Robert Jackson in the first spot at corner. Both of those young men got some duress-laden reps at true freshmen last year. Marcus Milton is one of the backups...he got a number of snaps last year...and then the other CB is Clint Stephens, who is coming back from injury and will be important if he can get healthy.
BG was decimated at S, between injuries and now graduation. Jamari Bozeman and Jerry McBride will begin the spring as the starters...both of them also had a growing year during 2016. The backups are Tavarous Wade and JUCO Fred Garth. Missing from the depth chart are Antonyo Sotolango, who played quite a bit last year, as well as Ben Hale and Jack Walz, both of whom were injured but remain listed on the roster. So, conceivably there is the possibility of additional depth as well.
The special teams come back pretty intact. Jake Suder is the K. I don't know if BG has any preferred walk-on kickers, but those would not show up until July. Joe Davidson is back. We have a new long snapper, this is Gabe Skrobot. KRs appear to be pretty much the same.
So that's how things look. BG needs a healthy offensive line and for the D-backs to continue to get better...to begin with. And, the offense needs some WRs to step up and become playmakers in order to get things in gear. Spring ball is a comin'.