Depth Chart 2023 Reaction

Coach Rhule and staff released a true depth chart on Friday, and we go over what we got right, what we got wrong, and our overall thoughts from what was released last week.


Analysis – Not a ton to go over here, anyone with a brain knew it was Sims. What’s interesting is the “OR” that is listed between Haarberg and Purdy. As we discussed in our preview, I think this is Purdy’s right away, but may shift to HH later. Or to go even deeper, if a team is struggling stopping Sims’ legs and he goes out, they may put Haarberg in.

Running Back

Analysis – Again, as we stated, Ervin Jr is your starter here. We told you in our preview that Grant was running with the 3s and that appears to be where he ended up. I don’t believe it’s a talent issue at all, it’s consistency and knowing the playbook. Johnson will get plenty of snaps. Johnson seems to be the younger guy they are leaning on as of now behind those 3.


Analysis – Bonner was almost always going to be the guy here, but I could see situations where Liebentritt may be a better fit such as at the goalline.

Wide Receiver

Analysis – We got Kemp and IGC as starters correct. I would be curious to know if Bullock won the job or they aren’t letting Washington start due to sitting out most of fall camp. I lean towards the latter, but that is to take nothing away from Bullock. He’s a great player. As we talked about in our preview, WR is unbelievably thin, and even at that time we thought Betts would be here. Our 6 top WRs consist of 2 walk-ons, 2 first year transfers, and 2 second year transfers. Sweet development by the previous staff.


Analysis – Nothing earth shattering here, I think Fidone is still about 90% and as we discussed in our preview, Boerkircher is no slouch. Interesting they only went 2 deep here and didn’t list a 3rd, but with fullbacks on the depth chart as well, maybe that makes sense. Also probably didn’t want to put on or leave off Gilbert with his waiver still in the air.

Offensive Line

Analysis – We nailed the starters here. Starting with LT, they have Prochazka at least on the chart as he has been sitting out all fall camp unfortunately. I would say that I think they would prefer to keep Gottula’s redshirt and create some separation there, same with Sam Sledge at LG. I would argue that Lutovsky will swing as backup between left and right guard. I also am curious what will happen if Scott goes down, as Evans-Jenkins is still a year away. Sledge and Gottula have gotten really good reviews as true freshman, I like what we have there. I was interested to see who the backup 4th tackle would be, and they are lucky they grabbed Knaak once it appeared Hood would struggle to see the field. I like about 8 of our guys here, but a couple we would really like to redshirt.

Defensive Line

Analysis – We again nailed the starters and also told you that Cazazos and DC White referenced Lenhardt as “going to be a stud”. That is shown here as he is a co #1 on the depth chart. We also talked about how much we loved Wallin as a pickup. Buckley was the one we weren’t high on, but let’s be honest, we need a backup NG. I still think you may see Robinson slide down if Hutmacher had an issue and Lenhardt/Gunnerson/Wallin be your DEs, but let’s tackle that when we need to. Jeudy is apparently still needing some work on intensity, but being a new father may have his priorities in different places. What I would be curious on is how far behind a guy like Umanmiellen is from this two deep. My guess is not far. I like our DL.


Analysis – This is where I would say we got some things wrong. Nailed the starters with Reimer, Henrich, and Sherman. However, Borders is listed as “OR” with Sherman, I thought there may be a bit more separation there. Also interesting Butler is third string, but he’s been sitting out a lot of fall. Bullock is your clear third best LB, but as we talked about, there is just no real depth. We had Wright at Jack LB but he is #2 behind Henrich at ILB. Kpai, Gbayor, and guys like that not helping at all. I’d be curious if a guy like Stenger could make some noise later in the year as he got moved here.


Analysis – Pretty much nailed this one, we had Newsome and Hartzog as your starting corners. What I did screw up is Hill is behind Newsome and Bootle II instead of Nation as the freshman corner getting ready to play. We got the 3 safeties correct with Gifford, Brown, and Singleton. We also had Sanford and Collier as backkups as well. Buford Jr they are taking their time with, so that makes sense you aren’t rushing him back as he hasn’t practiced, so don’t put him on the depth chart. What is nice to see is Bretz behind Brown. I mentioned in my preview that I loved him out of high school, he just wasn’t getting any publicity. Basically have him at #2 instead of Fields from my depth chart, makes sense.


Analysis – No real surprises. Alvano and Bleekrode taking the battle into game week with an “OR” next to their names. I still think Alvano is your starte at some point. Buschini is the clear punter.


Analysis – As we discussed, Emmett Johnson has been making noise and gets the nod along with Rahmir Johnson as starting kick returner. Good on him finding a niche to make a name for himself. They only have one guy listed at punt returner in Billy Kemp IV, will be curious if they try to find another guy not as valuable to the offense to get back there like Nation.

Long Snapper

Analysis – Seems right.


Not a ton that was surprising quite honestly. I think my main takeaway from this is that the staff actually leaned towards upperclassmen when it came to “toss up” situations. Guys like Koby Bretz, Javin Wright, and the entire WR group where they went with older walk-ons instead of the freshmen they brought in, all of that is interesting to me. Our depth is basically going to hinge on if new guys are ready to help. Somewhat scary.

What will be fun to watch is at WR if some true freshmen really start to make a push. Will Sledge and Gottula be able to maintain their redshirts? On the DL, will we have someone other than Lenhardt that makes a push like Umanmielen or other freshman? In the defensive backfield can Nation, Fields, or others besides Bootle II make a name for themselves?

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2 thoughts on “Depth Chart 2023 Reaction

  1. Didn’t think WR would be so grim, with the assumption that all returners were healthy and playing well. But with Betts leaving, depth now it’s looking a little scary. Assumed Washington would be a starter, hopefully it’s b/c Bullock is playing lights out or injury, not Washington not showing up.

    I wonder as far as seniority goes if this year he leans more to rewarding the guys who have stuck it out here?

    I know in some of his interviews, he talked about when he 1st got here, he could tell how much this program meant to the guys here, and how some of the upperclassmen were asking him about this 1st year, because they seemed to think his MO was tear it down, be awful the 1st year and play the young guys to build for the future (paraphrasing).

    Maybe be it strategically or just emotionally, he leans towards rewarding some of the upper classmen this year after all the staff changes, assuming there’s not some big discrepancy in level of play. Like he knows he needs those upperclassmen this year to be active and bought in for the locker room to grind for him this year.

    Just some random speculations.

    1. I believe with Washington it is simply he hasn’t been practicing much of fall camp. I think you’ll see him play more and more as the season goes on (if healthy).

      You may be on to something with the “not tearing it down” thing. If he were, we may see more underclassmen in the 2 deep.

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