Are you ready, Canes fans? You had better be.
The time is nigh, Canes fans. We are less than 24 hours from the opening game of the 2012 season, and guess what? We still only have about an 80% finalized depth chart! No, Golden is not trying to troll anyone, or keep anything secret (that we know of). He simply just has more than a few positions in which he either has a few guys who could start, or no guys have stepped up enough to take hold of the starting job.
Hit the jump and let's get right to it.
The official depth chart was last updated 11 days ago on August 20th, and as far as we know, it's the final version. Seeing as the team is already in Boston, that seems to be a pretty safe assumption. Many of the positions are clear and set, but some are still listed as "or", meaning we wont know who is starting until the team takes the field. Take a look:
MIAMI HURRICANES POST-SCRIMMAGE DEPTH CHART
Updated Aug. 20, 2012
|WR||1||ALLEN HURNS -OR-||6-3||192||Jr.|
|24||Davon Johnson -OR-||6-0||188||Sr.|
|55||Ben Jones -OR-||6-5||310||Sr.|
|78||Jermaine Johnson -OR-||6-6||316||RJr.|
|23||Eduardo Clements -OR-||5-9||195||Jr.|
|WR||83||KENDAL THOMPKINS -OR-||5-10||182
|94||Kelvin Cain -OR-||6-3||245||So.|
||34||THURSTON ARMBRISTER -OR-||6-3||222||So.|
|59||Jimmy Gaines -OR-||6-3||230||Jr.|
|S||22||KACY RODGERS II -OR-||6-2||210||Jr.|
|30||A.J. Highsmith -OR-||6-0||202||RJr.|
|3||Tracy Howard -OR-||5-11||185||Fr.|
Credit to HurricaneSports.com
Obviously, the quarterback position has been set for quite a while. Stephen Morris is your guy, backed up by Ryan Williams and Preston Dewey, who wont the third spot over Gray Crow. Crow will likely be red shirted for his freshman season, which is not a bad thing. A lot of people in the know think that the rest of the people in the know are sleeping hard on Morris. I sure as hell hope that is the case, because if he turns out to be the bad ass he has the skills to be, this team is going to be a lot better than expected.
QUARTERBACK - Morris will be flanked by a deep running back corps, led by Mike James. James is coming off an unproductive 2011 campaign, but that is due to a bout with turf toe and the emergence of Lamar Miller. Behind him is your first case of the OR's, with Eduardo Clements or Duke Johnson in the second spot. This is a bit misleading, as Clements will be the number two unless Duke shows he can handle a college running back load. Dallas Crawford rounds out the running back position, and provides a wild card simply because no one really knows what he is fully capable of.
WIDE RECEIVER - On the outside, the wide receivers have rounded into their expected shape, with Allen Hurns, Phillip Dorsett, Kendal Thompkins, and Rashawn Scott nabbing the tops spots. On the chart, they are separated by the word OR, but they will be used as needed, and they will be the names you see most often. The freshmen that will make an impact here are Malcolm Lewis, and Herb Waters. A lot of talk surrounded Robert Lockhart, and although he is not listed on the depth chart, he very well may show up in certain situations, since his strength right now is going up and getting the ball (think corner/back of the end zone).
OFFENSIVE LINE - Providing protection for Morris and hopefully large holes for the running backs is the offensive line. This group has not gotten a whole lot of attention outside of ZOMG SEANTREL SUXORS (he doesn't), but they should actually be very good. Shane McDermott anchors the middle, with Jonathan Feliciano and Brandon Linder on his left and right, respectively. On the outside of the line you have Malcolm Bunche on the left side, and true freshman Ereck Flowers on the right. Some fans are worried about having Flowers starting, but all it takes is a quick perusal of the practice reports to see just how well he has performed. I wouldn't worry at all about him. The backups on the line are Jared Wheeler at center, Ben Jones and Jermaine Johnson at guard, and Ben Jones and Jermaine Johnson at tackle. Yep. You read that right. The rest of the line is basically a committee, which shouldn't be an issue unless injuries start cropping up.
TIGHT END/FULLBACK - The tight ends have been set since day one of camp, with incumbent starters Clive Walford and Asante Cleveland providing the over the middle presence. Cleveland has shown flashes of brilliance in his brief career, and Walford started to round into a major threat last year. This position will be getting a lot of work this year, and I don't know about you guys, but I am very comfortable with these two guys. Dyron Dye stands in the third spot, and David Perry in the fourth, both better at blocking than anything else. The full back is of course big man Maurice Hagens, with little known Sean Harvey behind him.
DEFENSIVE LINE - The line is the biggest worry on the defensive side of the ball. Aside from the ends, the issues are across the board. Depth, injury, and production are all questionable at this point, although there is the feeling that someone will step up, whether it be during or after game one, or after a few weeks. Of course the big name on the line is Anthony Chickillo, who should be a monster this year. His counterpart is Shayon Green, who has shown a hell of a lot of improvement. They sandwich Luther Robinson and Olsen Pierre, who ended up winning the starting jobs towards the end of camp. Robinson's is a great story, if you are unaware. He was originally an offensive lineman with shitty conditioning (he started 2 games on the OL without passing conditioning tests under Shannon), but was moved to the defensive line. He originally disliked this move, and considered transferring at one point. Instead, he stuck with it, worked hard, and he is now starting on the D-Line. Pierre is another guy who battled his way to the top, and should play well. Behind them are Darius "The Plug" Smith and Earl Moore, a freshman who has played well. Curtis Porter will be back in the mix as well once he recovers from his appendectomy. Behind Chick and Green on the ends are Jelani Hamilton and Kelvin Cain. Freshman Tyriq McCord is listed an an OR behind Cain, but likely will see limited playing time.
LINE BACKER - The linebackers were a bit worrisome throughout camp, but guys have stepped up, gotten healthy, and save for freshman Raphael Kirby, the unit is together. your outside backers is either Thurston Armbrister or Eddie Johnson, and either guy is more than capable here. Gabe Terry backs them up. In the middle, its always been Denzel Perryman, who has stepped up to be a leader for the guys behind the line. Jimmy Gaines OR Gionni Paul back him up. Your other outside guy is senior Ramon Buchanon, who is fully healthy and ready to go after a bad injury sidelined him last year. Tyrone Cornelius provides the depth behind Buchanon. This is going to be a fun group to watch overall, especially Armbrister, who is playing linebacker at 6 foot 3.
SAFETY - Roaming around the middle of the field will be Kacy Rogers and Vaughn Telemaque. Vaughn had his spot on lock down since the start of the off season, not only because he has the skill, but he also has the most experience. Rogers is a guy who has worked hard, shown out, and should be a great player for the Canes. He does have a pretty big OR attached to his name though, and that comes in the form of freshman Deon Bush. Bush has shown that he can play the game at this level, and will see plenty of time out there. Behind these three guys are A. J. Highsmith and Rayshawn Jenkins, both of whom will be very good players.
CORNER BACK - The very back of the defense will be critical to the success of the Hurricanes this year. On one side of the field you have senior Brandon McGee, who played very well throughout camp and more or less held his starting job all year. Behind him, freshman Antonio Crawford shows his skills. He's young, but he is very fast and very capable. The other side has Ladarius Gunter listed as the starter, and he has absolutely earned it. However, its the kid on the other side of the OR here that everyone is waiting to see, and that is of course Tracy Howard. He likely won't start game one, but he will definitely see the field plenty. Thomas Finnie sits in the third spot behind those two.
And there you have it, Canes fans. This is more or less the team you can expect to see tomorrow afternoon. There will be a few variations just based on the still-open position battles, but these differences will not be monumental, nor will they really change the look of the team. Do you like the way things look? Let us know!