Virginia Tech opens its fall football camp today, and with that comes many things. First off, it means that football is less than a month away (26 days if you're counting)! Secondly, it means that the roster is updated on Hokiesports with correct heights/weights for the players as well as any position changes. And believe me, there are some interesting ones.
Here's the official depth chart that was released earlier via Hokiesports. Keep in mind this is not final, it's just where the things stand going into camp. Below are some depth chart listings of note:
We'll start out at the quarterback position, where behind Logan Thomas and Mark Leal, Brian Rody has moved up to third team, placing Brenden Motley, Trey Gresh, Bucky Hodges and Kendall BeCraft in the "other" category.
At tailback Trey Edmunds and J.C. Coleman are listed as co-No. 1's. There is no one listed in the second team space to accomodate the loser of the battle for the starting job (not so sure that was necessary, but okay...), but the next backup listed is Tony Gregory. Chris Mangus, Daniel Dyer and Maurice Taylor are all listed as other, but I believe Mangus would be the next in line.
With the departure of Riley Beiro, something we discussed on Twitter yesterday, the Hokies now have three players who are limited in experience at the position with no clear-cut favorite:
Fuller Hoepner, Jerome Wright and Greg Gadell will battle at fullback now that Riley Beiro (medical) won't be playing for Tech. #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 5, 2013
Of course Wright is the only scholarship player currently at the position, but due to his greyshirting, he is a true freshman in the program. Gadell is the only one with game experience, but both he and Hoepner are redshirt-juniors, and Hoepner has extensive experience with the scout team.
As for wide receiver, there are a couple of notes, starting with the Hokies incoming athlete Carlis Parker:
Carlis Parker is listed as a fourth-string wide receiver, not at quarterback, for Virginia Tech on the preseason depth chart. #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 5, 2013
That is something we all expected from what was said in spring. This doesn't mean that Parker can't move back to quarterback, what many projected him as coming into Virginia Tech. More notes on receivers and tight ends, aside from the fact that Zack McCray now appears as the backup at tight end, it looks like the rest of the receiving corps depth chart is what we expected:
Zack McCray listed as backup TE to Ryan Malleck. Charley Meyer and Josh Stanford backup WRs to D.J. Coles, Demitri Knowles. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 5, 2013
Duan Perez-Means is listed as the third team tight end, followed by Darius Redman, Dakota Jackson and Kalvin Cline listed as others. At split end, behind Coles and Stanford is E.L. Smiling and Parker, David Prince and Austin Jones listed as other. At flanker, behind Knowles and Meyer are Joel Caleb and Willie Byrn, Deon Newsome and Malcolm Westbrook as others.
As of right now it looks like Jonathan McLaughlin is leading for the job at left tackle with Jake Goins behind him and Ross Ward listed as third team. At left guard, Benedict makes the flip across the line to accommodate Miller moving to right guard I'm guessing. He is backed up by Mark Shuman and Kyle Chung with Jack Willenbrock being listed as other. At center, Caleb Farris is the starter with David Wang moving over to serve as his backup. Strangely, Matt Arkema is listed as the third team center there. At right guard Miller is listed as the starter with Adam Taraschke and Marcus Mapp listed as the backups. And at right tackle, Laurence Gibson is the starter as of now with Augie Conte and Parker Osterloh listed as the backups as of now. For those of you who have a hard time picturing what the starting group looks like with all of that, the tweet below illustrates it:
O-line from left to right: Jonathan McLaughlin, Brent Benedict, Caleb Farris, Andrew Miller, Laurence Gibson. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 5, 2013
Oft-injured senior David Wang listed as backup center to Caleb Farris. Wouldn't be surprised if he still works at guard as well. #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 5, 2013
On the defensive line there are a few things to note. One, J.R. Collins and Dadi Nicolas are still listed as co-No. 1's, and Corey Marshall is listed as a backup DT along with Woody Baron:
Backup defensive tackles listed as Woody Baron and Corey Marshall. Looks like VT will try Marshall inside again this year. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 5, 2013
Behind James Gayle at defensive end are Tyrel Wilson, Matt Roth and Dewayne Alford and Seth Dooley listed as others. On the other side behind Collins/Nicolas are Marshall and Ken Ekanem. At defensive tackle, behind Baron and Marshall are Alston Smith and Nigel Williams. Others are Wyatt Teller, Kris Harley and Jarontay Jones. Strange to see Harley down there, who was one of the Hokies top backups there last year.
Overlooked this, but freshman Wyatt Teller is listed as a DT on the initial depth chart. Perhaps a quicker route to the field? #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 5, 2013
There are two interesting notes about the linebacking corps. Jack Tyler is the starter at mike, followed by Chase Williams, Devin Vandyke and Drew Burns and Andrew Motuapuaka as others. Tariq Edwards is listed as the starter at backer, with Deon Clarke backing him up, Dahman McKinnon, interestingly, behind him. Josh Eberly, Jamieon Moss and Sean Huelskamp are listed as others. But the real depth chart news is at WHIP, where freshman Kendall Fuller is listed as co-No. 1 atop the depth chart with Ronny Vandyke, the projected starter. While it appears that this only indicates Fuller will play the nickel corner instead of the ACTUAL WHIP, I wonder how many plays we'll see of that nature versus Foster's standard front. Also interesting is McKinnon's move from WHIP to backer.
At rover, the only thing that has changed is Anthony Shegog's inclusion at co-No. 3. At free safety, Der'Woun Greene is listed as the backup with Chuck Clark (also known as Charles during his recruitment) at co-No. 3.
At cornerback, Donaldven Manning and Brandon Facyson are listed as co-No. 1's with Nick Bush being listed as the only backup there. That of course, is likely to be the spot of Antone Exum if he can return in time for the Alabama game, although he is currently listed in the others section of the other cornerback position, fronted by Kyle Fuller and backed up by Donovan Riley, Davion Tookes and with Chris Caver also listed as an other.
In the kicking game, A.J. Hughes maintains the top spot at punter with no one listed as a backup yet. Journell is the top field goal/PAT kicker, followed by Mitchell Ludwig:
With Brooks Abbott transferring, freshman Mitchell Ludwig is listed as Virginia Tech's backup place kicker. #Hokies— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 5, 2013
R.J. Warfel is also listed behind Ludwig at that spot. Joe St. Germain occupies the top spot at deep snapper for both punts and PAT's with Eddie D'Antuono listed as the backup at both spots. Trey Gresh still is on top at holder with Mark Leal listed as the backup. Also, as of now, no kickoff or punt return players have been listed.
As for position changes? Well, outside of the ones we already mentioned, there is one interesting note left, news that was broken by Beamerball's Twitter account:
A couple of depth chart adjustments following this AM staff mtg. Caleb will get reps at TB and Motuapuaka will not be cleared until tomorrow— Beamer Ball (@Beamer_Ball) August 5, 2013
That's right, Joel Caleb, despite being listed as the third team flanker, will also get reps at tailback. This has many wondering about Caleb's long-term prognosis at wide receiver, including Andy Bitter:
Re: Caleb. If VT considered him a viable WR prospect, there's no way it would have moved him to TB given the WR depth right now. #Hokies— Andy Bitter (@AndyBitterVT) August 5, 2013
I agree that the move is fishy if they thought he could contribute at wideout right now. But despite Caleb's talent, he was a high school quarterback coming in, and as such, may have found it hard to make the transition. The coaches may recognize his athleticism necessitates him getting on the field earlier than he would at a position he doesn't fully grasp yet.
Lastly, we'll talk weights. Among the most notable changes are:
The most surprising one for me is first, as we're doing this positionally. J.C. Coleman, after complaining about playing too heavy and not being able to be as explosive or run as fast at around the 190 lb. range a year ago is officially listed at 191, up from 177. That's concerning if he doesn't plan to lose some of that during camp, or unless he has now found a way to play with that weight.
D.J. Coles at a hefty 6'4" 234 lbs.
Along the offensive line: Brent Benedict 301 to 292, Laurence Gibson 303 to 290, Jonathan McLaughlin 313 to 306 and Mark Shuman 295 to 314
Alston Smith 299 to 281
Deon Clarke 215 to 202
Donaldven Manning from 5'9" 150 to 5'10" 181
For all your fall camp coverage leading up to the 2013 football season, Gobbler Country is THE place to be. Don't miss it.