USF depth chart out, with a few surprises
The last weekend before football season has managed to sneak in a little football news on a Sunday night, as USF has released its first official depth chart entering Saturday's opener against I-AA Wofford.
Most notable is probably that two true freshmen -- receiver Sterling Griffin and cornerback Kayvon Webster -- are listed as starters, and if they're that way Saturday, they'll be the first true freshmen to start on offense or defense since receiver S.J. Green in 2003. Other observations ...
-- It looks as though redshirt freshman Mark Popek has beaten out junior Jake Sims for the right tackle job, which means USF's second-most-experienced lineman won't be in the starting lineup. Sims has been limited by a muscle strain in his neck, and I imagine he'll see work in the opener, even if he doesn't start.
-- Looks like Theo Wilson has the punt return job, and is listed as lining up deep next to Dontavia Bogan on kickoffs. Delbert Alvarado is listed as the starting punter, kicker and kickoff specialist. Wilson's also listed as a starting receiver, which is striking when you remember he has zero catches at USF.
-- After having senior Aaron Harris work primarily at end, he's back inside as a starting defensive tackle, so the listed starter opposite George Selvie is a bit of a surprise: junior David Bedford, who had all kinds of hype when he signed with USF but made a quiet debut last season as he adjusted to major-college football. Terrell McClain as expected is the other starting defensive tackle, with newcomer Leslie Stirrups as his top backup. Another end, Craig Marshall, is listed as Harris' top backup at tackle, with Patrick Hampton and newcomer Jason Pierre-Paul as the second-team ends. Freshman Ryne Giddins and Julius Forte are listed as third-team ends, so we'll see whether that translates to them getting on the field Saturday.
-- Would-be starting receivers A.J. Love and Jessie Hester, both recovering from offseason injuries, are listed as second-teamers, behind Carlton Mitchell and Dontavia Bogan, respectively. USF lists four starting receivers, with Griffin and senior Theo Wilson as the other starters. Ed Alcin and Colby Erskin round out the top eight.
-- While Jim Leavitt has had praise for former walk-on Kenneth Luberice all preseason, it's senior Ben Busbee who's listed as the top tight end, with Andrew Ketchel listed second.
-- Junior Sabbath Joseph has held off challengers for the starting strongside linebacker job, and my understanding is he'll be the second linebacker (next to Kion Wilson) when USF is in its nickel defense. Senior Chris Robinson is listed as the starting weakside linebacker, with newcomers Jacquian Williams and Sam Barrington as the top backups on the outside.
-- Depending on what formation USF opens in, you could have eight first-time starters Saturday (Warren, Hine, Popek, T. Wilson, Griffin, Bedford, Joseph, Webster) and potentially four more making just their second start -- Young, Bogan, Robinson and Washington.