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USF Releases Spring Football Depth Chart

Willie Taggart sheds some light on a few position battles, but very little on the most important one.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

USF recently posted a spring depth chart to its official site, which is something that Willie Taggart had previously not been fond of doing. Of course, we've got to take a spring depth chart with the largest grain of salt in the world-- almost the entire freshman class hasn't made it to campus yet, and there will inevitably be risers and fallers and injuries and suspensions as we make it through the summer-- but this is a good place to see where the roster stands before we begin the long countdown to the 2015 season. The chart is below, with musings included.

QB: Quinton Flowers, So. OR Steven Bench, Sr.
HB: Marlon Mack, So.
D'Ernest Johnson, So. OR Darius Tice, Jr.
WR (Z): Rodney Adams, Jr.
A.J. Legree, Jr.
WR (X): Ryeshene Bronson, So.
Stanley Clerveaux, rFr.
WR (Slot): Chase Whitehead, rFr.
Rodney Adams, Jr.
TE: Sean Price, Sr.
Elkanah Dillon, Fr.
Marlon Pope, Sr.
RT: Mak Djulbegovic, Sr.
Clavion Nelson, Jr.
RG: Brynjar Gudmundsson, Sr.
Dominique Threatt, Jr.
C: Cameron Ruff, So.
Michael Galati, rFr.
LG: Thor Jozwiak, Sr.
Jeremi Hall, So.
LT: Kofi Amichia, Jr.
Benjamin Knox, rFr.

DE: Eric Lee, Sr.
Mike Love, So.
DT: Derrick Calloway, Jr.
Kevin Bronson, Fr.
DT: Deadrin Senat, So.
James Hamilton, Jr.
DE (Bull): Josh Black, So.
Zack Bullock, Sr.
MLB: Auggie Sanchez, So.
LeGrande Harley, Sr.
WLB: Nigel Harris, Jr.
Tashon Whitehurst, Sr.
Husky: Jamie Byrd, Sr.
Jalen Spencer, Jr.
FS: Tajee Fullwood, So.
Devin Abraham, So.
SS: Nate Godwin, Jr.
Hassan Childs, Jr.
CB: Lamar Robbins, Jr.
Deatrick Nichols, So.
CB: Johnny Ward, Jr.
Mazzi Wilkins, rFr.

K: Emilio Nadelman, So.
Michael Hill, Sr.
P: Mattias Ciabatti, Sr.
Eric Briggs, rFr.
LS: Alex Salvato, Jr.
Zach Stewart, Fr.
KR: D'Ernest Johnson, So.
Rodney Adams, Jr.
PR: Hassan Childs, Jr.

- I'm thinking that 'OR' between Flowers and Bench is a bit of a formality.

- The backfield is loaded, and that doesn't even account for Kennard Swanson, who's not listed here only because Taggart is swapping the fullback position for a third receiver. This is really good for a number of reasons, first and foremost because it'll help to limit Marlon Mack's carries. Mack carried the ball 202 times as a true freshman, and I don't think that number should go much higher this season.

- We've mentioned that the Bulls are really thin at wide receiver. There are definitely opportunities for true freshmen to play here-- especially a smaller, faster guy like Chris Barr or Jarvis Baxter in the slot-- but the first line seems pretty solidified, if unproven. Ryeshene Bronson was the obvious candidate to fill Andre Davis' slot as the 'X' receiver (they're looking for a big, physical receiver who can fight off defensive backs from the line there), and Rodney Adams and A.J. Legree are likely the next two men up. Based on this chart and what we saw in spring, I'd imagine that Adams will line up across from Bronson for two-receiver sets and work from the slot in three-receiver sets, with Legree taking his place as flanker. This isn't meant to diminish the potential contributions of walk-on Chase Whitehead, who's looked perfectly competent in the slot during spring ball. Add in a good tight end corps with one proven veteran (Price) one freshman who looked good catching the ball in spring (Dillon), and a good blocker (Pope), and the Bulls have some options. They desperately need more speed and more depth, but it's not a terrible bunch.

- And then we come to the offensive line, which is terrifying and the unquestioned Achilles heel of this offense. Right now we're looking at zero proven starters (Thor Jozwiak's had his moments, but through no fault of his own has been slowed by injuries), a walk-on, two freshmen and a converted defensive lineman in the two-deep... all of whom will be learning a new blocking scheme. Reinforcements will come in the summer-- particularly in the form of JUCO transfer Glen Bethel, who might displace Amichia at left tackle-- but this group, plus the lack of progress throwing the ball from Flowers and Bench, is why I'm skeptical that this offense can improve much on the last two seasons.

- On the other hand, I really like the look of this defense. The scheme fits the personnel pretty well here: Eric Lee is a proven entity at defensive end, and Mike Love had a great spring, but the Bulls are thin at end beyond that... so they're essentially swapping another traditional lineman for a pure pass rusher in Josh Black, who really showed some chops getting after the quarterback late last season in Bresnahan's 3-4. There's more than enough muscle on the inside, too, with Deadrin Senat at nose tackle and Derrick Calloway essentially slipping into Elkino Watson's role from last year as a hybrid DT/DE. With Auggie Sanchez emerging as a leader in the middle of the D and a new scheme that allows three of the Bulls' most athletics defenders-- Harris, Whitehurst and Byrd to play fast and close to the line-- I think it's a fair to expect this defense to be a serviceable unit again this season after they slipped in 2014. Finding a few guys they can count on in man coverage in the secondary would help immensely.