Just because I can, I wanted to put together a preview of our 2014 depth chart. First, a few caveats. Number one: I unfortunately am not a prophet, and cannot foresee injuries. Secondly, I'm going to assume all our current recruits sign, nobody transfers, etc. Third, I'm not going to include Afalava (sad face) or Moss (sadder face) as they're not enrolled as of today. Also, I'm not going deeper than second string, because that's guesswork for anyone. Here we go.
WR: 1. Kenny Bell/Jamal Turner/Jordan Westerkamp, 2. Brandon Reilly/Tyler Wullenwaber/Alonzo Moore - I feel like the first string are fairly set, though Taariq Allen and Sam Burch are good candidates to make the two-deep.
TE: 1. Cethan Carter, 2. Sam Cotton - Carter had flashes this year, and should be a great receiving weapon this year. Hopefully he and Cotton can add a little weight to help with their blocking. Trey Foster is only listed at 6', so I can see him being used as a fullback/H-back as well as providing depth here.
OT: 1. Matt Finnin/Zach Sterup, 2. David Knevel/Zach Hannon - Behind Finnin and Sterup, it's a bit of a guessing game. Since we're graduating over 120 starts on the offensive line, the line as a whole will have lots of youth, and not much experience. Sterup's starts this year and Finnin's JUCO experience should provide some stability this year.
OG: 1. Jake Cotton/Mike Moudy, 2. Ryne Reeves/Givens Price - Again, there's lots of talented youth behind a clear first string. Reeves and Price aside, Chongo Kondolo, D.J. Foster, and maybe Zach Hannon provide lots of depth.
QB: 1. Tommy Armstrong, 2. Johnny Stanton - I honestly hope that Stanton comes out of fall practice as the starter, just because I think he's more in the mold of Russell Wilson, a passer who can run, rather than Eric Crouch, a runner who can pass. However, Pelini has demonstrated in the past his propensity to start experience.
IB: 1. Ameer Abdullah, 2. Imani Cross - This is the easiest position to predict, as the entire depth chart is returning. By the way, I don't know if it's intentional, but I love how our IB recruits alternate styles: Burkhead was a bigger back, Ameer, a smaller, one Cross, a big boy, Newby smaller, Taylor bigger, etc. It ensures we always have a change of pace back available.
FB: 1. Andy Janovich, 2. Trey Foster - Behind Janovich, there's lots of question marks. I like the idea of Foster providing depth here and at TE. Interesting factoid: every FB listed on the roster this year was an in-state product.
DE: 1. Randy Gregory/Joe Keels, 2. Greg McMullen/ A. J. Natter - Keels should replace Moss well opposite Gregory, providing some thunder to go with the lightning. McMullen could beat out Keels depending on how quickly Keels picks up the scheme, too. Predicting the fourth man on the two-deep was difficult, with no experience to speak of, so I went with the highest-rated recruit. Ernest Suttles would've had a shot here.
DT: 1. Vincent Valentine/Terrell Clinkscales, 2. Aaron Curry/Maliek Collins - Oh, how the times have changed. Just last year, we were playing a 260 lb. DE at tackle because we didn't have enough bodies. Now, we're flush with young talent, and have Kevin Maurice and Kevin Williams in reserve.
LB: 1. David Santos/Michael Rose/Zaire Anderson, 2. Josh Banderas, Marcus Newby, Courtney Love - No, I didn't forget about Gerry; I think his future's at safety. The three starters really gelled as the season went on, though there's still improvements to be made. Watching Rose try to cover Gurley on the drag routes was kind of sad, but hey, he's a freshmen. The second string is extremely talented and should push the starters.
CB: 1. Josh Mitchell/Jonathon Rose, 2. Daniel Davie/Byerson Cockrell - The CB position is a bit tougher to predict, because it depends not as much upon physical abilities as how sure and confident they are with assignments. I don't think a JUCO CB has ever started for Pelini, though Seisay had the high ankle sprain that slowed him down.
NB: 1. Charles Jackson - Deserving special mention is the man who will try to replace Ciante Evans. This is probably the hardest spot on the whole roster to predict, but I'm going with Jackson.
S: 1. Corey Cooper/LeRoy Alexander, 2. Nathan Gerry/D. J. Singleton - Alexander emerged this year and looks to be the future of the position. Gerry at least has playing time under his belt, while picking the fourth is a bit of a challenge; it came down to Singleton, Martinez, and Boaz, all freshmen this year.
Hopefully you enjoyed this little preview, it sure was fun for me to put together.