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Cowboy Football: Depth Chart Analysis

Fall camp begins today, so let's take a look at the depth chart and who we think will fill the roles in our 3-deep.

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Football season is nearly here and most fall camps have started across the nation.  Fall camp is the time we really see the depth charts solidify but that doesn't stop us from making our predictions to the best of our ability so let's hop right in with the offense.

WR 13 Glidden (Sr.) 77 Salako (Jr.) 74 M. Wilson (Jr.) 57 Lewis (Jr.) 64 Robinson (So.) 60 Crabtree (So.) 44 Seaton (Sr.) WR
28 Washington (So.) 17 Hays (Jr.) 78 Mucha (RS Fr.) 68 Noel (RS Fr.) 71 Lundblade (So.) 66 Galea'I (RS Fr.) 76 Hegwood (Sr.) 47 Jarwin (Jr.) 7 Shepherd (Sr.)
3 Ateman (Jr.) 80 Doolittle (Sr.) 75 Keyes (Fr.) 58 B. Wilson (Fr.) 77 Salinas (So.) 51 Pertile (So.) 50 Harker (Fr.) 86 Veatch (Jr.) 81 Seales (Jr.)
15 Lacy (So.) QB RB 6 Brown (RS Fr.)
2 Rudolph (So.) 26 Carson (Jr.)
4 Walsh (Sr.) 23 Childs (Jr.)
14 Cornelius (So.)/9 Kolar (Fr.) 22 Mays (Jr.)

At first glance, we don't see anything too surprising.  Mason Rudolph is QB1, J.W. Walsh is the back up, and heaven forbid we have to find out who would start if both went down: redshirt freshman Taylor Cornelius or true freshman John Kolar.  The running back situation seems pretty straight forward as well.  Preseason Big 12 Newcomer of the Year pick Chris Carson will most likely get the start but Rennie Childs should still see plenty of carries.  JUCO transfer Todd Mays may also see some carries but expect Carson and Childs to be the workhorses in a 35-carry system.

The wide receiver position also comes across as fairly uneventful as well with James Washington, David Glidden, and Brandon Sheperd getting the start and their immediate relief coming from Marcell Ateman, Austin Hays, and Jhajuan Seales.  After those 6, however, the spots are more or less for whoever steps up and takes them.  Chris Lacy saw some decent playing time in 2014 and Kameron Doolittle and Keenan Brown showed some flashes during spring ball, so they get the 3rd string slots for the time being.

The new Cowboy Back position is a hybrid of the fullback and tight end position created by new tight ends coach, Jason McEndoo.  It should be headlined by Jeremy Seaton and Blake Jarwin in the upcoming season with plenty appearances from Zac Veatch.

The O-Line comes back this year with much more experience but still some uncertainty.  We asked our resident O-line expert, Erica Lippert, to break it down and give us a starting line.  From left to right, expect to see Victor Salako, Michael Wilson, Paul Lewis, Jesse Robinson, and Zach Crabtree.  There's also a decent amount of experience coming in to back them up in Colby Hegwood and Brad Lundblade.

With the offense looking fairly complete, let's take a look at the defense.

CB 38 Ogbah (Jr.) 56 Maile (Jr.) 96 Taylor (So.) 92 Bean (Sr.) CB
1 Peterson (Sr.) 90 Clark (Sr.) 70 Hughes (So.) 79 Daniels (Fr.) 87 Irokansi (Jr.) 6 Lampkin (Jr.)
18 Richards (So.) 86 Owens (Fr.) 97 Davis (Jr.) 98 Bakari (Fr.) 99 Carter (RS Fr.) 17 Hunter (Sr.)
2 Curry (So.) OLB MLB OLB 36 Jones (Sr.)
20 Burton (Jr.) 52 Simmons (Sr.) 10 Jacobs (Jr.)
9 Akem (So.) 40 Averette (Jr.) 45 Whitener (So.)
19 Phillips (So.) 32 Catlin (Sr.) 26 Henry (Fr.)
31 Flowers (So.) 13 Sterns (Jr.)
5 Morrow (So.) 4 Harding (So.)
26 Newsome (RS Fr.) 11 Roberts (RS Fr.)

Starters for the defense seem nearly set except for one of the defensive tackles.  Sophomore Vincent Taylor is set, but with the offseason injury of Vili Leveni, the only other experienced tackle is junior Motekiai Maile.  Backing them up will be a job left primarily to the incoming freshman but we may see transfer Darrion Davis make a push for that starting job.  Defensive end is more than set with defending Big 12 Defensive Lineman of the Year, Emmanuel Ogbah and his equally scary partner in crime, Jimmy Bean.  Behind them are two very experienced ends in Trace Clark and Victor Irokansi.

The shallow linebacker pool from last year is now very deep, with 7 of the 9 players having seen plenty of playing time last year.  Transfer Jordan Burton will most likely take the spot vacated by Josh Furman, and Seth Jacobs and Preseason All-Big 12 Ryan Simmons should pick up where they left off last season.  Their freshman backups are now fairly experienced sophomores in Gyasi Akem, Justin Phillips, and Chad Whitener.

The starters at safety are more or less set with Jordan Sterns returning to his starting role with Tre Flowers stepping in after getting many starts while Larry Stephens was injured last season.  Their backups, Jerel Morrow and Dylan Harding, mostly saw time on special teams but they should get some good defensive experience this year.

OSU's most compelling battle through the spring has been for the starting corner roles.  The only sure-fire guarantee was Preseason All-Big 12 Kevin Peterson.  The other spot has been hotly contested by 2014 season starter Ashton Lampkin, his replacement while on injury, Ramon Richards, and Indiana Hoosiers graduate transfer, Michael Hunter.  We believe that Lampkin will secure the starting role but there are no concerns if either Richards or Hunter take the field.

With what might be the best defense in the conference, the Pokes are looking to get back into the habit of forcing plenty of turnovers to create as many chances for the offense.

So let's go where the Pokes lost the most this offseason: special teams.

Special Teams
59 Hockett (RS Fr.) 54 Elias (Sr.) 29 Sinor (RS Fr.)
19 Grogan (Jr.) 61 Smith (So.) 59 Hockett (RS Fr.)
45 Ammendola (Fr.) 39 Reazin (Fr.)
KR 30 Reber (Sr.) PR
7 Shepherd (Sr.) 20 Carr (Fr.)
20 Carr (Fr.) K 7 Shepherd (Sr.)
28 Washington (So.) 19 Grogan (Jr.) 13 Glidden (Sr.)
59 Hockett (RS Fr.)
45 Ammendola (Fr.)

With Tyreek Hill being dismissed and Kip Smith graduating, many kicking and returning duties have been left vacant.  Since the news on these changes has been scarce, we're leaning on Robert Allen's analysis of the special teams. It appears redshirt freshman Matt Hockett will take over Kickoff duties, and like we saw in the Cactus Bowl, Brandon Sheperd will be the kickoff return man.  As far as the punting duties, redshirt freshman Zach Sinor will pick up where Kip left off and true freshman running back Jeff Carr will take over the punt returning duties.  Kip's invaluable holder skills will be left to senior cornerback Bryant Rebert, while Kaleb Smith and Josh Elias battle it out for longsnapper duties.

This leaves Ben Grogan as the only one who's job isn't being contested.  He, of course, hit the game winning field goal in overtime during Bedlam.  He was 22 for 28 last year, including two blocks, and is 33 for 46 in his career with a career long of 47 yards.

Although we won't truly know what the depth chart is like until after fall camp, only minor battles are in dispute heading in.  The only thing we can truly hope for is that the season gets here soon and that everyone stays healthy going through camp.

Go Pokes!