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Way-Too-Early 2016 Baylor Depth Charts

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Looking ahead to the 2016-2017 football season and taking stock of what we have to replace before then.

Rob Foldy/Getty Images

Every year, I try to get as far out in front of the coming season's Depth Charts as possible.  Last year, that meant January 8, just a week after the Cotton Bowl loss to Michigan State.  This year, because I wanted to wait to see how things shook out with NSD and potential early departures to the NFL, I decided to wait a little longer.  Laziness only played into it a little bit.*

*Or a lot.

The purpose of this post is two-fold: 1) I want to show what we're losing from the previous season, and 2) I want to try to predict how things might shake out when we take the field in 7 months.  I'm going to get some things wrong because it's almost impossible not to, and there's a ton of guesswork involved.  If you have better information, by all means share it.  If you have different opinions, share those, too.

NOTE: I'm pulling the existing 2-deep from the Russell Athletic Bowl Media Guide (with a few obvious exceptions due to injury), so if you have any problems with it, sorry.

NOTE #2: The "Guys to Watch" sections will be dedicated to younger players not on the 2-deep now that may make their way in over the coming season.  We don't have a great way to know who they will be, so it's entirely speculation based on practice reports, rumors, and the like.

Baylor Offense

2015-2016:


FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
QB 14 Seth Russell (JR) 17
13
Jarrett Stidham (FR)
Chris Johnson (SO)
RB 32 Rashodrick Linwood (JR) 2 Johnny Jefferson (SO)
UB 28 Devin Chafin (JR) 22 Terence Williams (FR)
WR 1
Corey Coleman (JR)
8
Ishmael Zamora (RS-FR)
IR 16 Davion Hall (SO)
7 Lynx Hawthorne (SO)
IR 9
K.D. Cannon (FR)
14
Chris Platt (RS-FR)
WR 4
Jay Lee (SR)
12
Quan Jones (SO)
TE

80
15

LaQuan McGowan (SR) OR
Gus Penning (SR)
85 Jordan Feuerbacher (SO)
LT 58 Spencer Drango (SR)
68
Ishmael Wilson (SO)
LG 73 Blake Muir (SR)
57
Tanner Thrift (SO)
C 55 Kyle Fuller (JR)
72
52
Blake Blackmar (RS-FR) OR
Rami Hammad (SO)
RG 61 Jarell Broxton (SR) 67
Desmine HIlliard (SR)
RT 69 Pat Colbert (SR)
68 Ishmael Wilson (SO)

That's a lot of red, but you expected it.  Baylor loses 4/5 of arguably the best offensive line in our history, 2 starter WRs in Lee and Coleman, both starting TEs/blocking backs, and one of our key experienced backup OLs, too.  Am I worried? Absolutely, particularly about that OL.  But do we have a lot of talent ready to step in.  Absolutely.

Seniors Graduating: 9 | Starters Leaving: 7*

*Counting just one TE as a "starter," but we're losing both.

2016-2017:


FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
QB 17 Seth Russell (SR) 3
Jarrett Stidham (SO)
RB 32 Rashodrick Linwood (SR) 2 Johnny Jefferson (JR)
UB 8 Devin Chafin (SR) 22 Terence Williams (SO)
WR 12
2
Quan Jones (JR) OR
Blake Lynch (RS-FR)
11
--
Pooh Stricklin (RS-FR) OR
Tren'Davian Dickson (FR)
IR 7
Lynx Hawthorne (SR) --
Devin Duvernay (FR)
IR 9
K.D. Cannon (JR)
23
Chris Platt (SO)
WR
8
Ishmael Zamora (SO)
2
Blake Lynch (RS-FR)
TE 85 Jordan Feuerbacher (JR)
88
13
Sam Tecklenburg (RS-FR) OR
Chris Johnson
(JR)
LT 76 Maurice Porter (JR) 70 Josh Pelzel (SO)
LG 72 Blake Blackmar (SO)
57
Tanner Thrift (SO)
C 55 Kyle Fuller (SR)
52
Rami Hammad (JR)
RG --
Branton Autry (JR)
52
Rami Hammad (JR)
RT 64
Dominic Desouza (JR) 68
77
Ishmael Wilson (SO) OR
Patrick Lawrence (SO)

Most things here are pretty easy to predict since all the RBs and QBs come back, and we have a number of talented WRs waiting for their turns.  On the OL, however, things are murky, at best.  It seems likely that both JUCOs we were able to redshirt last season, Porter and Desouza, will get every chance to start at the tackle spots, but this year's redshirt freshmen (next year's sophomores) could push them at key positions.  So, too, could both of our recent 4* OL transfers.

You probably noticed that I have Chris Johnson moving to pass-catching TE, mostly because I think Zach Smith will take advantage of having enrolled early to grab a spot. In addition, don't be surprised if one of the younger OL, maybe Thrift, Pelzel, or Riley Daniel, gets time at blocking back.

GUYS TO WATCH: RB/WR JaMycal Hasty, TE Sam Tecklenburg (he's on the list, but still), RB Kameron Martin (FR), OG Patrick Hudson (FR).

Baylor Defense

2015-2016:


FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
RE 2 Shawn Oakman (SR)
15 Brian Nance (SO)
DT 95 Beau Blackshear (SR) 91
Andrew Morris (RS-FR)
NG 75 Andrew Billings (JR)
96
Byron Bonds (JR)
LE 92 Jamal Palmer (SR)
56
K.J. Smith (SO)
WLB
1
Taylor Young (SO)
20
Aiavion Edwards (JR)
MLB 5
Grant Campbell (SR) 19
Raaquan Davis (SO)
NB 48
Travon Blanchard (SO) 21
Pat Levels (JR)
CB 9
Ryan Reid (JR)
3 Tion Wright (JR)
DS 28 Orion Stewart (JR) 26
Taion Sells (JR)
CS 18
Chance Waz (SO)
13
24
Terrell Burt (SR) OR
Terrance Singleton (JR)
CB 4
Xavien Howard (JR)
7
24
Jourdan Blake (RS-FR) OR
Verkedric Vaughns (RS-FR)

Just like on the offensive side, the problem here is going to be that we're losing 4 starters.  The difference? We only have 4 starters to lose.  Billings leaving early for the NFL (best of luck, Andrew!) leaves quite a hole in the middle of the defense that we're going to have to fill.  Honestly, I don't know who will do it.  Elsewhere, things are a little easier to project based on who has played in the past.

Seniors Graduating: 5 | Starters Leaving: 5

2016-2017:


FIRST TEAM SECOND TEAM
RE 15
Brian Nance (JR)
94
90
Xavier Jones (SO) OR
Tyrone Hunt (RS-FR)
DT 96
Byron Bonds (SR) --
97
DeQuinton Osborne (JR) OR
Ira Lewis (SO)
NG --

Jeremy Faulk (JR)

91
--
Andrew Morris (SO) OR
Bravvion Roy (FR)
LE 56
K.J. Smith (JR) 99
52
Josh Malin (SO) OR
Greg Roberts (SO)
WLB 11
Taylor Young (JR)
44 Clay Johnston (RS-FR)
MLB 20

Aiavion Edwards (SR)

19
Raaquan Davis (JR)
NB 48 Travon Blanchard (JR)
21
49
Patrick Levels (SR) OR
Eric Ogor (RS-FR)
CB 9
Ryan Reid (SR)
3 Tion Wright (SR)
DS 28
26
Orion Stewart (SR) OR
Taion Sells (SR)
16
Davion Hall (JR)
CS 18 Chance Waz (JR) 26
--
Taion Sells (SR) OR
Kenan Ivy (FR)
CB 6
27
Henry Black (RS-FR) OR
Verkedric Vaughns (SO)
7
Jourdan Blake (SO)

I'm going to level with everyone: there's a lot of hand-waving here that I may or may not be able to substantiate.  My main goal was to get all the right names on the list with the idea that things would shake out later, but a big part of why that is necessary: we have a lot of question marks.  I'm not in love with our NG spot, for example.

Behind that, though, things actually look pretty good.  We've got an opening at corner opposite Ryan Reid (who finished the season very strongly), and there's a new safety in the mix that will get an opportunity to make an impact.  At LB, all signs point to a Young/Edwards/Blanchard trio that is both experienced and athletic.  They'll do well.

GUYS TO WATCH: LB Jordan Williams, CB Jordan Tolbert; CB Parrish Cobb (FR), CB Grayland Arnold (FR), DE Brandon Bowen (FR)

Thoughts:

  • Malcolm Pridgeon would look really good at RT right about now, but we're going to be ok.
  • I think Ish Zamora and Blake Lynch will end up being the best outside WRs we have. I'm hoping their development will mean we can move Cannon back inside, where he dominated as a freshman.  That's what I'm projecting right now.
  • The DL will be baptism by fire personified.  I anticipate Faulk playing immediately because I think he's the better of the two JUCOs we got, but I wouldn't be surprised to see both playing eventually.  I'm just not sure either is a true NG.
  • I'm excited to see what Tyrone Hunt can do.  Some have suggested that he might move inside eventually to the 3-technique. 
  • You've probably seen it on the board or heard it on last night's podcast, but it's true: Davion Hall is reportedly a safety again.  Let those burning candles for the last two years hoping against hope, rejoice!

*****

There's a lot of talent here, but a lot of question marks.  Baylor has to replace 4/5 of last year's offensive line, all four starters on the DL, our best corner, our best WR, and both starting TEs.  Taken altogether, that's a very tall task.  Thankfully, we've been recruiting better than ever before in the Art Briles era and have the benefit of several impact JUCOs to fill in the holes.

Thoughts? Tell me where I went wrong. Seriously.