How much value does UCF place in its weekly depth chart that is released to the media? Greg McCrae was listed as the Knights’ third-string running back all year long in 2018.
So, as we get into the season, it’s really not worth your time to eagerly comb through the depth chart each week.
But this week is an exception because it’s the first week. Or Week 0. Whatever.
The Knights released their initial depth chart on Saturday morning. Here are some quick hits on what sticks out to me.
- Maybe the biggest surprise on the entire sheet is at the very top of the offense. Samuel Jackson is starting at left tackle. We had heard the battle for that job was between Trevor Elbert, Edward Collins and Tony Gray while Jackson and Parker Boudreaux were waged in one of camp’s fiercest competitions to start at right guard.
Well, Boudreaux and Jackson are co-starters at RG, but Jackson is atop the chart as a co-starter with Gray at left tackle. Guard is Jackson’s most natural position, so we’ll see how he handles the edge.
Meanwhile, Collins is listed behind Jackson and Gray while Elbert has been moved across the line, backing up right tackle Jake Brown.
- Marlon Williams is listed at No. 1 at slot wideout, replacing Dredrick Snelson. However, that position will have plenty of hands in the mix, including Jacob Harris and Otis Anderson.
- Everything else on the offensive side is as expected. Hey, McCrae’s no longer a third-stringer! Anderson remains a utility player. We found out on Thursday who is the starting quarterback. And we’ll see what freshmen receivers Ke’von Ahmad, Ryan O’Keefe and Amari Johnson will contribute this season. They all made their way on to the depth chart but will really have to work to make an impact in such a crowded corps of talented skill players.
- Defensive tackle is where my eyes gravitate first. There are going to be 5-6 players lining up there in every game this season, but it’s worth noting that a couple of transfers — Cam Goode and Noah Hancock — claimed the top spots. It wasn’t known if Goode would be eligible immediately after transferring from Virginia Tech. But we got word a few minutes before this depth chart hit:
- True freshman Tre’mon Morris-Brash, a four-star recruit, is listed as Randy Charlton’s immediate backup at defensive end. This is a young, relatively inexperienced line, but one that is more athletically talented than last year’s group.
- Defensive end Dedrion Bacote-Sweat isn’t listed here, but he’s expected to see a lot of time as a third-down pass rusher. Coaches and players said the man they call “Bam Bam” was UCF’s best at getting after the quarterback during spring ball.
- There is no firm starter at middle linebacker between junior Eric Mitchell and sophomore Eriq Gilyard. Gilyard backed up senior Pat Jasinski last year as a true frosh and did see some playing time. More freshmen — Jeremiah Jean-Baptiste and Tatum Bethune — are also listed at LB.
- The secondary is as expected at both starting corner and safety spots. Antwan Collier retained his seat at free safety despite a challenge from Duke transfer Jordan Hayes. And Aaron Robinson replaces Rashard Causey as the Knights’ nickelback in their 4-2-5 alignment. Man, this secondary looks really, really good.
vs. ⚔️— UCF Football (@UCF_Football) August 24, 2019
Week 1️⃣ Depth Chart & Game Notes https://t.co/rnNd37o16S
- It’s all new over here. Senior Dylan Barnas takes over for Matthew Wright after serving as his backup for two seasons. True freshman Daniel Obarski will handle kickoffs while redshirt freshman Andrew Osteen is the new punter. No word on if he can grow a massive red beard like Mac Loudermilk.
And Alex Ward replaces Caleb Perez as the long snapper. It’s probably going to be a bumpy road at times with this new special teams unit.
- So, who is UCF’s kick returner? Oh, it’s Adrian Killins.
OR Otis Anderson
OR Greg McCrae
OR Marlon Williams
Well, I’m glad we’ve cleared that up.
Welcome to college football season.