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Let’s talk about depth, baby

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Motel 6 Cactus Bowl - Baylor v Boise State Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

With MWC Media Days coming up this week in Vegas, Boise State’s first depth chart of the year (2017) has been released and although you can likely take it with a smidge of salt, it does provide a little intrigue and illumination to the ongoing OBNUG countdown. First things first, here’s what Boise State provided in a release this evening:

OFFENSE

Quarterback

4 Brett Rypien, Jr.

3 Montell Cozart, Sr.

15 Jake Constantine, RFr.

RUNNING BACK

22 Alexander Mattison, So.

21 Ryan Wolpin, Sr.

34 Robert Mahone, RFr.

WIDE RECEIVER (X)

1 Cedrick Wilson, Sr.

9 Bryan Jefferson, So.

17 Austin Cottrell, Sr.

WIDE RECEIVER (H)

7 A.J. Richardson, Jr.

81 Akilian Butler, Jr.

WIDE RECEIVER (Z)

8 Sean Modster, Jr.

81 Akilian Butler, Jr.

TIGHT END

88 Jake Roh, Sr.

87 Alec Dhaenens, Sr.

86 Chase Blakley, Jr.

84 Jake Knight, Sr.

85 John Bates, RFr.

47 Matt Pistone, So.

LEFT TACKLE

75 Ezra Cleveland, RFr.

66 Isiah Moore, Jr.

LEFT GUARD

67 Garrett Larson, So.

52 Andrew Tercek, Sr.

CENTER

59 Mason Hampton, Sr.

71 Donte Harrington, RFr.

RIGHT GUARD

77 John Molchon, So.

79 Eric Quevedo, So.

RIGHT TACKLE

74 Archie Lewis, Sr.

78 Andres Preciado, Jr.

DEFENSE

DEFENSIVE END

91 Durrant Miles, Jr.

93 Chase Hatada, So. -OR-

45 Kayode Rufai, RFr.

NOSE TACKLE

98 Sonatane Lui, So.

57 Emmanuel Fesili, So.

DEFENSIVE TACKLE

55 David Moa, Jr.

90 Daniel Auelua, Sr.

STUD END

53 Sam Whitney, So.

8 Jabril Frazier, Jr.

OR

99 Curtis Weaver, RFr.

WLB

38 Leighton Vander Esch, Jr.

36 Blake Whitlock, Sr.

MLB

58 Tyson Maeva, So.

25 Benton Wickersham, Fr.

SLB

33 Gabe Perez, Sr.

9 Desmond Williams, RFr.

OR

26 Avery Williams, RFr.

FCB

14 Tyler Horton, Jr.

27 Reid Harrison-Ducros, So.

BCB

6 Michael Young, Jr.

17 Jalen Walker, RFr.

FS

4 DeAndre Pierce, So.

32 Jordan Happle, RFr.

OR

15 Evan Tyler, So.

BS (BOUNDARY SAFETY, get your mind out of the gutter)

10 Kekoa Nawahine, So.

37 Cameron Hartsfield, Sr.

SPECIAL TEAMS

KICKER

46 Joel Velazquez, RFr.

41 Haden Hoggarth, Jr.

PUNTER/KICKOFFS

46 Joel Velazquez, RFr.

SNAPPER

89 Brock Barr, Sr.

50 Nicholai Pittman, So.

HOLDER

27 Reid Harrison-Ducros, So. -OR-

1 Cedrick Wilson, Sr.

KICK RETURNER

1 Cedrick Wilson, Sr.

26 Avery Williams, RFr.

6 Michael Young, Jr.

PUNT RETURNER

1 Cedrick Wilson, Sr.

26 Avery Williams, RFr.

4 DeAndre Pierce, So.

First blush

Nothing too crazy happening here (although I’ll get to the modestly crazy in a moment)...no true freshman appear on the chart (as they shouldn’t) but many will once camp opens. This will assuage some initial depth concerns a bit but will do absolutely nothing to bed down your fears if you’re terrified of putting inexperienced youngsters on the field.

Surprise surprise

From top to bottom, some of the surprises (for me, anyway) are as follows. Remember that “OR” tag that denotes that players are on an equal footing and either could see the field? Well, it was used sparingly on this chart but I have a suspicion that for some positions it’s all but implied (tight end, for one). Personally, it’s hard for me to believe that Montell Cozart, the KU grad-transfer, is already ahead of Jake Constantine after taking zero snaps with the team, but this could just be a seniority thing (and maybe making sure Cozart sticks around).

AJ Richardson—who seems like he’s been around since the Clinton administration—is listed as a starter at the “H” WR slot and frankly, I’m pretty happy about this. Richardson is a stout, physical receiver, and could be a huge weapon for us when his potential is finally realized. Furthermore, Akilian Butler, who was head-scratchingly absent from last year’s “festivities” is listed as the backup at Z AND H, so one would think we might be remarking that the Butler did it after more touchdowns in 2017.

Tight ends—man, we got a lot of em. It’s not a stretch to think that Jake Roh is atop that chart as the best receiver in the bunch, but it’s hard for me to believe that tight ends 3–6 are going to be anywhere near set in stone. And you might notice one tight end conspicuously missing from that huge chart—RS Frosh Nick Crabtree—I think we’ll see him pop up in a new role come camp time. I mean the kid was pushing 6’7” and 270 lbs last we checked...that sounds awfully tackle-y to me.

Ezra Cleveland listed at starting left tackle is the most non-surprising surprise on the chart. Teammates and coaches have been talking up the behemoth freshman for a while and I think JuCo-transfer Isiah Moore may work in to a different spot or co-star with Cleveland at LT once he’s up to speed with the Bronco schemes.

Switching to defense, the first surprise (again, not a big one) is that David Moa is not listed at nose tackle. This move was hinted at in spring and many agreed that the smaller (relatively) Moa would do better with a “true” NT absorbing blocks. Looks like this may be the case with Sonatane Lui and Fesili—two 300 pounders stepping in at nose.

Sam Whitney over Jabril Frazier is a surprise, but when you factor in Frazier’s limited role due to injury and the praise that Whitney has absorbed over the last few months it makes a lot of sense. Once Frazier is back at 100%, both of these dudes are going to see the field plenty.

On that note, you’ll notice that super-duper-senior Gabe Perez is no longer listed amongst the STUDs, but is instead atop the SAM Linebacker pool with spring standout Desmond Williams nipping at his heels. I really like getting the neckroll into a different spot and we’re all knocking on wood that his senior year won’t be chock full of injuries—he’s had enough. Williams is going to play a lot here as well, and could even play a nickel role when called upon. The other Williams (Avery) was also a spring standout and I expect the Broncos to find a spot for him. He’s listed as an “OR” with Des at #2, so that speaks to just how good a spring he really had.

Color me moderately surprised to see RS Frosh Jalen Walker snag the second depth chart spot at Boundary Corner behind JuCo product Michael Young. The only real cause for this surprise is that I had Walker tabbed as a safety in spring. I think he’ll do good things here.

To that end, it’s cool to see RS frosh Jordan Happle sneak on to the depth chart at Field Safety with Deandre Pierce and Evan Tyler. Tyler looked absolutely fantastic at safety before his injury and Pierce is as verstatile as they get. If you’re concerned about our secondary this season, I’m not sure you have reason to be.

If you’re looking for one surprising nugget from the special teams stack, it could be seeing WR Brock Barr atop the long-snapper depth chart ahead of Nicholai Pitman (who y’know...kinda specializes in that sort of thing). Call me crazy with my snapping theories, but I’m still expecting frosh PWO Daniel Cantrell to grab that spot sooner or later. If you want to get a little wackier with the special teams intrigue, take a look at that holder position—Harrison-Ducros and Ced Wilson.

What’s it mean?

Nothing...but it gives us something to talk about until camp opens. Shall we?