Looking at Duke's football depth chart

Jul. 20, 2014 @ 02:07 PM

The publication of Duke’s football media guide and its distribution for the ACC Kickoff media event today and Monday at Greensboro’s Grandover Resort means we have a preseson depth chart to analyze.

Duke’s large number of returning players removes most of the intrigue from the first team, particularly on offense.

Quarterback Anthony Boone, wide receiver Jamison Crowder and tight end Braxton Deaver return to anchor the offense as seniors this season.

Junior Shaquille Powell is listed as the starter at running back but redshirt senior Josh Snead and redshirt freshman Joseph Ajeigbe will also get plenty of carries as coach David Cutcliffe prefers to spread the load.

Along the offensive line, right guard Laken Tomlinson and left tackle Takoby Cofield are redshirt seniors who have started the last three years. Center Matt Skura, a redshirt junior, begins his second season as a starter.

The interesting points on offense come at left guard and right tackle, where Dave Harding and Perry Simmons need to be replaced.

Lucas Patrick took over the right tackle job when Simmons was injured prior to the Chick-fil-A Bowl last December. Patrick, a 6-4, 305-pound redshirt junior, is listed as the starter at left guard.

At right tackle, redshirt sophomore Casey Blaser and redshirt sophomore Tanner Stone are battling for the starting position. That will be something to watch when practice begins Aug. 4.

Another position that’s listed as up for grabs in the preseason (pardon the pun) is at wide receiver. Redshirt senior Isaac Blakeney and sophomore Ryan Smith are listed as either/or on the depth chart.

They couldn’t be more different in terms of physical tools. Blakeney stands 6-6 and weighs 225 pounds. Smith is 5-7 and weighs 165 pounds. Blakeney is the big target, while Smith’s has the more trusted hands of the two.

On defense, Duke has some holes to fill which makes things more interesting on the depth chart.

Up front, defensive tackle Jamal Bruce is the lone returning starter of the four positions. Redshirt seniors Dezmond Johnson and Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo are listed as starters at defensive ends. Both have extensive playing experience, although mostly as reserves.

Junior Carlos Wray is listed as the starter at defensive tackle alongside of Bruce.

At linebacker, Duke is set with experienced and productive players in redshirt senior Kelby Brown and senior David Helton. Brown was an all-ACC selection last season, recording 114 tackles with 11 for losses. He also intercepted two passes. Helton led the ACC in tackles last season (133) .

The secondary sees an overhaul in the starting jobs but the players taking the jobs are not unknowns.

With Ross Cockrell off to the NFL’s Buffalo Bills and Garett Patterson also having graduated, sophomores Bryon Fields and Breon Borders are listed as the starting cornerbacks. Fields had six pass breakups in a reserve role last season, while Borders tied for the team lead with four interceptions.

At safeties, Jeremy Cash returns as a redshirt junior as one of the ACC’s top defensive backs. Cash also had four interceptions last season while finishing second on the Blue Devils with 121 tackles (including 9.5 for losses).

Sophomores Deondre Singleton and DeVon Edwards fill the other two starting jobs at safety. Edwards returned two of his three interceptions for touchdowns last season, while Singleton had one interception, four pass breakups and three tackles for losses.

Duke two-deep

Offense

QB: Anthony Boone, Thomas Sirk

RB: Shaquille Powell, Josh Snead

WR (X): Max McCaffrey, Anthony Nash

WR (Z): Jamison Crowder, Johnell Barnes

WR (Y): Isaac Blakeney or Ryan Smith, Quay Chambers

TE: Braxton Deaver, David Reeves

LT: Takoby Cofield, Gabe Bradner

LG: Lucas Patrick, Carson Ginn or Marcus Aprahamian

C: Matt Skura, Austin Davis

RG: Laken Tomlinson, Cody Robinson

RT: Casey Blaser or Tanner Stone

K: Ross Martin, Jack Willoughby


Defense

LDE: Dezmond Johnson, Kyler Brown

LDT: Jamal Bruce, A.J. Wolf

RDT: Carlos Wray, Jamal Wallace

RDE: Jordan DeWalt-Ondijo

LB (Mike): Kelby Brown, C.J. France or Deion Williams

LB (Will): David Helton, Chris Holmes

CB: Bryon Fields, DeVon Edwards

CB: Breon Borders, Evrett Edwards

S (Rover): DeVon Edwards, Dwyane Norman or Quay Mann

S (Strike): Jeremy Cash, Corbin McCarthy

S (Bandit): Deondre Singleton, Evrett Edwards or Phillip Carter

P: Will Monday, Danny Stirt

LS: Thomas Hennessey