It’s a day and a half before kickoff as of this posting and we finally have a depth chart to talk about.
Here’s the picture, but I’ll get one of the charts going for it so we can deal with it a bit better.
I was worried about the offense for quite a while, but of late, I have been gaining a bit of confidence. The Offensive Line seemed to be a unit that might struggle for traction, but the Joe Rudolph effect seems to have taken over the spirit of the issue and I am breathing a bit easier with this depth chart, along with the receivers.
Hokie 2022 Depth Chart for Game 1 - “unoffical” of course
|Kaleb Smith||WR-L||1||As expected Kaleb will be one of the 2 starting receivers|
|William Kakvitsas||WR-L||2||Kakvitsas is a bit of a surprise being plugged into the #2 position here - must have had a great camp|
|DaWain Lofton||WR-R||1||Lofton as #1 is a bit of a surprise with Blue being slotted into the running at a high level|
|Jaden Blue||WR-R||2||Blue as #2 is interesting and not a step down looks more like a package oriented thing|
|Stephen Gosnell||WR-S||1||Looks like Gosnell is going to fill some sort of tall function sort of like H-Back|
|William Kakvitsas||WR-S||2||Same goes for Kakvitsas who is also the #2 for one of the wide out positions|
|Jalen Holston||RB||1||The word was Holston had seriously upped his game - the disappearance of presumed #1 Malachi Thomas is worrisome|
|Keyshawn King||RB||2||King was always going to be at playing depth look for outside stuff from him|
|Chance Black||RB||3||Played well on special teams last season so this really makes sense.|
|Nick Gallo||TE||1||This is going to look interesting - NG and DD were always destined to be at the top - dual purpose pass heavy|
|Drake De lulis||TE||1||Blocking packages but he can catch when needed|
|Connor Blumrick||TE||2||The Wild Turkey of the Bunch can come in just about any time for any package except blocking heavy|
|Grant Wells||QB||1||We knew this but he might not be the only QB in if things get gadgety or he starts struggling|
|Jason Brown||QB||2||Wells might be on a shortish leash so Brown might get reps if the coaches think Wells needs some coaching up|
|Devin Farrell||QB||3||Farrell's choice as #3 is an honor for him but the QB room was pretty light this preseason so he was bound to get work|
|Silas Dzansi||LT||1||It was always going to be Danzi baring injury - out on the left side - leadership-skill-strength-experience all count big|
|Xavier Chaplin||LT||2||The #2 was the competition we will probably see Chaplin at times|
|Jesse Hanson||LG||1||Not a surprise worked hard to earn this tall for a Guard - but over 300 so going to have some power inside|
|Braelin Moore||LG||2||Moore making the chart is not a surprise - he will end up being a consequential player for the Hokies|
|Johnny Jordan||C||1||The Center is the captain of the line audibles and the anchor of the inside Jordan was expected here|
|Jack Hollifield||C||2||JH is a real surprise showing up in the middle middle and in the chart at 300 - been at the training table and in the weight room|
|Kaden Moore||RG||1||Moore was expected to be here and will dominate at his improved size - the skills are already there|
|Danijel Militec||RG||2||This one is a huge and pleasant surprise-two years ago DM was in Germany cooling his heels waiting for COVID to clear from a EuroClub to #2 on an FBS roster-WOW|
|Parker Clements||LT||1||3rd Team All ACC last season we expected to see him here - now|
|Bob Schick||LT||2||This was a major surprise - coming in from the Wasatch Mountains in Utah of all places Schick is another of the big surprises in this squad|
There are the expected personnel in the #1 slots, but there have been some interesting surprises and a lone note of concern and caution.
The Surprises First, Please
On the Running Back chart box, the appearance of Chance Black as the #3 is an interesting surprise. He had good chances last season, and this year looks to pick it up to the next level. The listed three different positions for Wide Receiver with William Kakvitsas as appearing as the #2 for one WR stack and #2 for what appears to be an H-Back/Motion Slot behind a surprising Stephen Gosnell at #1 is in and of itself sort of a revelation. The stacking of Da’Wain Lofton #1 and Jaden Blue #2 seems a bit odd but Sophomore Lofton beating out experienced transfer Blue is a shock.
Along the Offensive line there were few gotchas but Bralin Moore showing up already at #2 for Left Guard is an interesting occurrence. No one is much surprised by the Dzansi/Chapin stack at Left Tackle. The two big surprises on the line are the appearance of Jack Hollifield as the #2 Center sporting bigger physical stats, and Redshirt Freshman Danijel Militec as the #2 Right Guard in the chart. Folks, that’s fantastic! Militec came from Germany by way of Serbia and two seasons ago was playing German Club Football. Making the depth chart in this situation is pretty phenomenal.
The Unpleasant Missing Name
The running back slot presented a nice reward for Chance Black but there was a disappointing missing name from any level of the 2-deep. There was no Malachi Thomas anywhere to be seen. He is still listed on the roster so hopefully there isn’t anything related there, but it was hoped that Thomas would be the feature back. Now Jalen is going to tote the rock and the coaches are really impressed this season, so we’ll have to see on Friday how that plays out.
No Other big Surprises
The Tight end and other receiver slots have lined up pretty much as we thought other than what’s been mentioned. So, it is looking like the Offense might be settled for exactly one game. This season the depth chart for the “O” might be hopping around quite a bit.
Look there just aren’t any big surprises here, at all. The first nonsurprise is that Pry is running a 4-3 which was his standard configuration at Penn State. Maybe the hardest thing though is the probable disappointment felt by Alan Tisdale and Keyshawn Artis for their #2 placements. Though really that all is really situational, and we haven’t seen any sort of fancy anything from Pry on how he’s going to call this “D”, at all.
2022 Hokie Defense - unofficial chart with comments
|TyJuan Garbutt||DE-R||1||This was expected Garbutt is the most experienced player on the squad and when healthy has played very well|
|Jorden McDonald||DE-R||2||Redshirted last season star at Salem High School just up the road - looks like he is getting his shot|
|Kyree Moyston||DE-R||3||A true Freshman from the 757 KM seems to have impressed|
|Jaylen Griffin||DE-L||1||Looks like Griffin who is on the short-ish side for a DE is sharing starts and reps|
|Cole Nelson||DE-L||1||CN being a co #1 is not surprising he played well in his Freshman season|
|Keyshawn Burgos||DE-L||2||What a fantastic start of a career for this 804 true Freshman|
|Norell Pollard||DT-L||1||More experience at starter Pollard gets his chance to shine inside but he has competition|
|Wilfried Pene||DT-L||2||Wilfried is also pushing some good experience and will add to the 2 deep as a complete unit for the first time in ages|
|Mario Kendricks||DT-R||1||three solid season of starts and games put Kendricks in a natural #1 who knows maybe we will see both MK and KF on the field together|
|Josh Fuga||DT-R||1||Fuga is a natural Nose Tackle but there is no hint that this DL will be a Bear Front so that he is a co#1 with Kendricks is not surprising|
|Jaden Keller||Will||1||This is two things - height and speed and not surprising either|
|Jayden McDonald||Will||1||Both Jaydens are prototypical modern Whip/Will Linebackers|
|Alan Tisdale||Will||2||Kind of a bummer for Tizzy - he had a good camp but was just out of the zone - he'll play though count on it they will need his experience|
|Dax Hollifield||Mike||1||Please - who else goes here?|
|Keyshon Artis||Mike||2||Artis might be a #2 behind Dax but in a heavy situation he just might be on the field with Dax|
|Keonta Jenkins||Sam||1||Not a surprise here - Jenkins getting the #1 Sam slot was expected|
|JR Walker||Sam||2||This is the big defensive surprise on the edge of the box Walker must have really impressed - experienced but it was light|
|Dorian Strong||CB-1||1||Strong was expected to be the #1 experienced and better every game|
|DJ Harvey||CB-1||2||Harvey was a Freshman last season with limited game experience the coaches evidently thought his effort merited a promotion|
|Armani Chatman||CB-2||1||Chatman and Murray were in a battle for one of the Cornerback positions|
|Brion Murray||CB-2||1||No one seems to have come out on top so it looks like situational job share|
|Elijah Howard||CB-2||2||Howard coming up as a 2 behind the two 1s is indicative of really hard work in practice|
|Chamarri Conner||S-1||1||Conner was expected to start and much will be expected of him to finish - too|
|Jalen Stroman||S-1||2||Stroman rising to #2 with a new staff and new discipline is impressive look for him to shine in coming seasons|
|Nasir Peoples||S-2||1||Peoples has the experience and the eyes for the job - he's gotten better every season too with an All-ACC Honorable Mention last year|
|NyQuee Hawkins||S-2||2||Hawkins has some experience on the field filling in for Peoples isn't going to be easy|
This is an experienced crew. The #2’s in the secondary are going to be challenged and will have to elevate their games quickly. There are no true rookies in this space, and the only real surprises were as mentioned along with the pile up at will with two redshirt Freshmen in the #1 slot (Keller and McDonald) in front of Tisdale. The Defense is still really short on the inside of the Defensive Line, and really light at the Defensive End positions. That presents the greatest challenge to JC Price as a coach. His players need to rise to the occasion in more ways than one.
I’m not grinding a chart for specialists. The starting field goal kicking job for Game 1 goes to Will Ross. The punting and kicking backup will be John Love. No one was going to displace Peter Moore at starting Punter - short of a disaster. Peter Moore will be holding, and Justin Pollock will be long snapping with Enzo Anthony backing Pollock up.
There will be a kickoff specialist, and supposedly cannon legged Kyle Lowe will be trying to match Joey Slye and John Parker Romo’s records for touchbacks. DJ Harvey and William Kakvitsas will be returning punts. Chance Black and Keyshawn King will be running back kickoffs. We’ll see how this coaching staff handles the other.
The Game is Afoot!
That’s the List and It’s not Final since it’s never actually really final because football is what it is, and the depth chart is a moving list of personnel moves for more reasons than there are players on a roster.