Depth charts are one document often with multiple meanings. They can be used as much to motivate or reward players as they are to determine who gets on the field at what time.
A highly-ranked recruit that doesn’t even make the list? Maybe he’s not working hard enough. A guy that’s given his all for an entire training camp, who has done and said all the right things? He might be on there to show the team that dedication pays off.
How does Charlie Strong handle them? That we don’t know yet. But with the above as a big ol’ caveat, let’s crack open a can of two-deep.
- The first names are one of the biggest surprises as Stanley Clerveaux, he of the major injuries during a star-crossed college career, beats out four-star recruit Darnell Salomon at the X receiver. Clerveaux has lost a season each to a shoulder and an ACL, but finally got on the field last year to record his only career catch for eight yards. He was a guy that Willie Taggart pointed out to us as having a great camp in 2015... and then blew out his knee the next day. Now he’ll get a chance to shine.
- Marcus Norman beats out William Atterbury at right tackle, which might see the sophomore move to guard at some point.
- Eric Mayes is protecting Quinton Flowers’ blindside. Not bad for a guy that just became an offensive player last season. That’s a stunner.
- The running back rotation is as expected, but notice Trevon Sands cracks what is usually a two-deep chart. That’s because he’s going to play: the staff is very high on him.
- We have been hearing about Deangelo Antoine and what a great camp he was having, but Chris Barr is still getting the nod in the slot.
- Grad transfer Temi Alaka doesn’t make the sheet. He’s only here for one year after graduating from Rice, so it’s a bit of a surprise. Also shows the depth USF has at wide receiver.
- Hi Greg Reaves: here’s your scholarship, now go be our starter on the edge. Slightly above-average training camp for this dude I guess.
- Senat and Hector as the starters in the pivot was expected, but expect to see a lot of rotation at those spots until Brian Jean-Mary finds some guys he’s comfortable playing.
- Welcome to the two-deep, Jimmy Bayes. Can he handle leading the defense as the Mike, getting them in position as Auggie Sanchez has since he stepped on campus 14 years ago?
- Danny Thomas relegated to third-string surprised me at Will. How much of that is his failure, and how much is the success of Andre Polk Jr., I’m just not sure.
- Deatrick Nichols to the Nickel/Joker/Bull/Striker/Whatever spot is interesting. No one should be smarter about flying around the field making plays, so it makes sense.
- D’Ernest Johnson is close to emulating the steady all-time quarterback position in your driveway game. A bit surprised he’s getting the nod at both punt and kick returner, especially with Tajee Fullwood coming pretty close to breaking a couple last year. D’Ernest did put one in the paint at Syracuse last season.
So those are are some quick thoughts. The comments are a great place to mention what stands out to you.