Overall there are very few surprises on this depth chart as far as who is starting and who is not, which is the hallmark of a well-built roster and a team that we all expect to be very good this season. But that said, let’s take a look at a few newsworthy items.
Depth Chart Notables:
- Demond Demas backing up Caleb Chapman. Chase Lane and Ainias Smith are obvious starters, but some wondered whether Demas could overtake Chapman (who is coming back from a torn ACL) for the third receiver spot. But Demas missed most of fall camp with an injury of his own, so it appears he is still behind Chapman for now. But it will be interesting to see who goes out there on four and five WR sets.
- The offensive line is seeming set. As was rumored out of fall camp, the OL looks to be Johnson at LT, Ogunbiyi at LG, Matthews at C, Robinson at RG and Green at RT. If you’re concerned about Kenyon Green being on the right, don’t be. This is because Green is equally dominant no matter which side he is on, but Jahmir Johnson proved to be much more effective at LT than he was at RT. So keeping him at his strongest spot improves the strength of the line as a whole. We also heard a lot of buzz about freshmen Reuben Fatheree and Bryce Foster, but both appear to be backups for the time being. Speaking of which:
- No true freshman in the starting lineup. Remember when Kevin Sumlin would sign a top 10 class and you’d see 4-5 of them in the starting lineup immediately? Those days are over, and it’s a testament to the roster that Jimbo Fisher has built. This is an incredible class, filled with guys who will likely be impact players down the road. But much like at Alabama and other power programs, they’ll have to develop and wait their turn.
- Andre White starts over Edgerrin Cooper. White is the more experienced player, so this isn’t a shock, but many thought it would be a battle between him and Cooper to fill the void left by the departuer of Buddy Johnson to the NFL.
- Demarvin Leal at DT. Leal has the size and skill to play anywhere on the defensive line, but it will be interesting to see if he stays on the interior all season. You have to think his draft stock would improve by playing at DE.
- Jackson/Clemons on the DL two-deep. DT McKinnley Jackson and DE Michael Clemons, both of whom had drug-related arrests this month, are still listed on the depth chart, with Clemons listed as a starter. It’s unclear if this is any kind of statement on their suspension status or their availability for the first game.