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A Way Too Early Look At Louisville's 2015 Depth Chart

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It's never too early to start talking about the next football season.

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

With signing day behind us I decided to take a look at what the depth chart might look like when the Cards face off against Auburn. This is what happens when there's no football on.

QB

  1. Tyler Ferguson
  2. Kyle Bolin
  3. Will Gardner/Reggie Bonnafon
I wasn't able to make it out to early fall practices to see Tyler Ferguson play but the overall feeling seemed to be that he looked better than the other guys on the field. Film of Furgeson is hard to come by but it does show that he has the mechanics and footwork to excel behind a potentially shaky offensive line. He doesn't have a big time arm, but he can make the throws needed in this offense. I think that the backup spot goes to Kyle Bolin as of right now but that can obviously change down the road. Bolin has the confidence to go out there and make some of the plays that Gardner and Bonnafon struggled to make this past year. Sometimes that's all you need to separate yourself. Realistically, any of these four guys could be the starter next year depending on how they progress after a year in the system. I don't see Lamar Jackson as an option this year because of how raw he is as a passer.

RB

  1. Brandon Radcliff
  2. LJ Scott
  3. Jeremy Smith/James Allen
Running back is a position that has really lacked a true star since Bilal Powell graduated. I think that this could be the year that we see another star. Brandon Radcliff is already a fan favorite and I think he will really begin to be noticed by the rest of the conference. Radcliff split carries last season with Michael Dyer but I think he will be more of a feature back this year with others getting carries to spell him. L.J. Scott is a jumbo back that should see his role increased as a tailback as well as a fullback. Scott has shown that he can run through tacklers and catch the ball out of the backfield. His versatility should get him plenty of snaps. James Allen and Jeremy Smith are likely to find their way onto the field, also. Allen is a compact home run hitter type of back that really improved from his junior year to his senior year. Smith is another jumbo back that brings experience to the backfield.

XWR

  1. Jaquay Williams
  2. Jamari Staples
  3. Paul Harris
Louisville loses a player that is arguably the most talented wide receiver in program history in DeVante Parker. They won't be able to replace everything he did here but if there is a player that resembles him it is Jaquay Williams. Williams has the size of a tight end with the quickness and suddenness of a wide receiver. He isn't as fluid or athletic as Parker, but he is a very talented guy that will be a solid replacement. All three of these guys will get snaps in the rotation and it will take time to see who really fits the best. Staples had a very nice freshman season for Garrick McGee two years ago so I expect him to have a leg up on Harris.

WWR

  1. Traveon Samuel
  2. Dontez Byrd
In my opinion Traveon Samuel will have the biggest impact of this incoming recruiting class. Samuel is a type of player that Louisville really hasn't seen before and I think that he will be utilized in a handful of different ways. Louisville will be replacing 2014's leading receiver Eli Rogers and his 45 catches. Samuel will likely be used as a slot receiver in passing situations as well as a player that is used for reverses, screens, and any other creative ways they can find to use him. If I had to take a guess I would say that Dontez Byrd is the reason that Cornelius Sturghill is listed as a cornerback now. Byrd got plenty of snaps last season as a blocker in Louisville's "Tex" formation (1 WR, 2 TE, 2 RB). Byrd could be a very useful player for the offense this year.

ZWR

  1. James Quick
  2. Javonte Bagley
  3. Jaylen Smith
James Quick is either due for a breakout season or he is likely to be a guy that is just an okay player for Louisville. He came in with extremely high expectations and he just hasn't lived up to them his first two years. With a full year in the system and what should be better quarterback play, I tend to think that Quick will have a much better year. Bagley was given a lot of praise by Bobby Petrino during fall practices but failed to make an impact on the field. The competition is likely more open this year and Bagley should get more snaps. Jaylen smith is my personal favorite out of this recruiting class.

TE

  1. Keith Towbridge
  2. Charles Standberry
  3. Micky Crum
Tight end is a spot on offense that really needs to take a step forward. The group did a good job in the passing game last year but they were almost non-existent as run blockers. The offense needs their pass catching abilities more but to be a good running team everyone needs to block well especially on the edge. Towbridge has the size to be a complete tight end and I think that Standberry and Crum will both be in much better physical shape with a year in the strength and conditioning program. The competition for snaps will be much better this year and I think it will help improve the group.

LT

  1. Aaron Epps
  2. Lukayus McNeil

LG

  1. Pedro Sibiea
  2. Jimmy Terry

C

  1. Tobijah Hughley
  2. TC Klusman

RG

  1. Skylar Lacy
  2. Chandler Jones/Kiola Mahoni

RT

  1. Khalil Hunter
  2. Kelby Johnson
The offensive line is an area of real unknown. Losing three starters will do that. I think Aaron Epps will make the move to left tackle after becoming a starter late in the season and playing exceptionally well. Newcomer Khalil Hunter will likely get the first shot at replacing Epps at right tackle and I think he will win the job easily. The interior of the line is really anyone's guess at this point. Tobijah Hughley started at center last season and I don't think there's anyone on the roster that would be an upgrade at this point. The two guard positions will likely be battled out by everyone listed above. I personally believe that Sibiea and Lacy end up getting the starting spots. Sibiea is a very athletic and gifted player that came to Louisville as a very raw player. After a full year as a guard I think he will step in and play well. Lacy got minutes last year and really left a lot to be desired. He does however, have that game experience under his belt. The fact that he got that shot shows that the staff has high hopes for him.

DE

  1. Sheldon Rankins
  2. Kyle Shortridge
Rankins will likely get preseason all conference recognition and I think he will exceed any expectations put on him. His progression the last three years really has me excited for his senior year. Shortridge got a handful of snaps last year and ended up making a few tackles on the season. I think he steps into the rotation and could play a big role when Rankins slides down to defensive tackle.

DT

  1. DeAngelo Brown
  2. Johnny Richardson
Brown and Richardson are a very good combination with Brown ready to have a breakout season. Both players do a very good job of disrupting blocking schemes to allow other players to make plays in the backfield. James Burgess and Keith Kelsey should really give both of these guys a part of their salary once they get to the NFL. If these two continue to play well, the defense should continue to be really good at stopping interior runs.

DE

  1. Pio Vatuvei
  2. James Hearns/Drew Bailey
BJ DuBose had a very solid senior season last year after a pretty vanilla career. He rotated with Vatuvei regularly and I expect him to move into a more consistent role. Pio is a high motor guy that outworks guys to make plays. With the issues the defense had stopping edge runs late in the season, I think this will be a key position on the field. Hearns or Bailey are likely to be backups at this spot. Bailey was bought in for a reason and I think the lack of proven depth at defensive end was the reason.

SAM

  1. Nick Dawson
  2. Henry Famurewa
Nick Dawson was a very sought after recruit coming out of high school who has yet to make a big splash for Louisville. I see that changing this year as he takes over for Deiontrez Mount at outside linebacker. Dawson wasn't a good fit at inside linebacker at the college level, but he's completely changed his body twice now and should really excel in a role that has him setting the edge and rushing the passer. I expect a breakout year from him. Henry Famurewa will find his way on the field in some role this season. He's bulked up his frame and I see him getting action at one of the two outside linebacker spots.

MIKE

  1. Keith Kelsey
  2. Keith Brown
Keith Kelsey is the most under-appreciated member of this football team. Not to say that people don't give him his due. He just tends to get swept aside a bit. Kelsey was the second leading tackler last year and he ended the season with six sacks. With a healthy Keith Brown behind him, I really think the defense has the potential to be much more versatile this year.

MO

  1. James Burgess
  2. Stacy Thomas
Burgess smartly made the decision to return to school for his senior season. Burgess had a great year and has everything it takes to be drafted but I think another year in this system will help him solidify a higher spot in the draft. Thomas hasn't had the opportunity to really show what he can do in a game but anyone that went out to fall practices could see just how good he will be. Louisville will be set at inside linebacker for at least another couple of years.

WILL

  1. Devonte Fields
  2. Travon Young
Lorenzo Mauldin probably one of the most popular and well-liked football players in recent memory and he will be replaced next season by one of the most controversial in Devonte Fields. Fields comes to Louisville as one of the highest rated defensive players ever recruited. Fields will definitely help lessen the impact of the loss of Mauldin. Young came to Louisville as one of the top JUCO defensive ends in the country. He got some playing time this past season when Mauldin was injured but it was very obvious that he wasn't comfortable doing much other than rushing the passer.

LCB

  1. Trumaine Washington
  2. Richard Benjamin
Washington was the only freshman to get significant minutes on the defensive side of the ball last year so I think he will get the first crack at replacing Terrell Floyd. Washington is undersized but he does have good speed and plenty of game experience against good competition. Benjamin is the guy I think will put the most pressure on Washington to win the starting spot. Benjamin has played three different positions since he arrived on campus. He got lost a lot as a safety during fall practices but I think he will do much better as a corner.

RCB

  1. Shaq Wiggins
  2. Devontre Parnell
Shaq Wiggins is taylor-made for Todd Grantham's system. He is a very aggressive player even though he is undersized. Wiggins got plenty of playing time at Georgia as a freshman and you can bet that he is already penciled in as the starter to replace Charles Gaines. Parnell has seemingly been injured since his senior year in high school. He hasn't been able to get himself on the field much but his speed and size are things you can't teach and I think they will help him finally get some decent minutes.

FS

  1. Josh Harvey-Clemons
  2. Jermaine Reve
Gerod Holliman tied the national record for interceptions in a single season. His production will have to be replaced at least partially and JHC has the ability to do that. Even though he is extremely tall and long, he does an exceptional job of turning and running. Another player that got early minutes at UGA, JHC will immediately step in and likely upgrade Louisville's run defense. If he can at least hold his own in pass coverage Louisville won't skip a beat at this safety spot. Jermaine Reve will continue his role as the backup safety and he will likely backup both spots as he did last year.

SS

  1. Chucky Williams
  2. Darius Smith/Jermaine Reve
Chucky Williams is a young guy that I think fans will really like. He's very similar to James Sample as he's a big hitter that plays with somewhat of a reckless abandon. Williams has everything needed to be a serviceable replacement but he lacks in game experience. He did step in for a handful of snaps in the bowl game which shows that the staff wasn't afraid to put him out there when needed. If there is a freshman on defense that could possibly steal a starting spot it's Darius Smith. If he can come in and learn the system, I think he will find himself in the two-deep.

NICKEL

  1. Jermaine Reve
  2. Richard Benjamin
Reve should reprise his role as the nickelback when needed. Benjamin will likely be the guy that replaces him if someone gets injured.

K

  1. John Wallace
  2. Jon Brown
Wallace is back for his senior season. I wouldn't be surprised if former soccer player Jon Brown ends up taking over the kickoff duties. He has plenty of leg, but struggled putting the ball where it was supposed to be.

P

  1. Josh Appleby
Appleby will finally have the punting role to himself. One could argue that his chance should have come earlier, but I'm sure there's a reason why a guy that looks so good in practice and pregame couldn't find his way onto the field.

LS

  1. Colin Holba
Grant Donovan didn't have a bad snap that I can remember in the last four years. It doesn't seem like much but it's a big plus to not have to worry about giving up a cheap turnover on a bad snap or missing a big kick because the snapper skipped the ball to the holder. Holba has big shoes to fill.

KR

  1. Traveon Samuel
  2. Corvin Lamb
I'm hoping that Corvin Lamb returns to form after another major knee injury. If he does he should team up with Samuel to really provide a big help to the offense. Samuel isn't a speed demon like Lamb, but he can cut on a dime and maintain top speed. That ability makes him a great return candidate.

PR

  1. Traveon Samuel
  2. James Quick
James Quick's issues with just catching punts last year will likely make it a big focal point for him this offseason. Even with that I think that Samuel will likely be the punt returner. Samuel reminds me of Joe Adams who Petrino coached at Arkansas. Adams was an electric punt returner and I think Samuel could be the same for Louisville.

Feel free to discuss in the comments.