The first official depth chart of the 2010 season was released on Friday. There weren’t a lot of surprises, but we’ll take a look at both sides of the ball and speculate how things may shake out before the season opener.
First up, we’ll take a look at the offensive side of the ball.
- #10 Dayne Crist (Jr)
- #16 Nate Montana (So)
No surprise at the top of the depth chart here. Crist is the clear #1 quarterback and after him there isn’t really any experience at all. Nate Montana will start fall camp as the backup, but it wouldn’t surprise anyone if one of the three freshman quarterbacks on the roster – Tommy Rees, Luke Massa, or Andrew Hendrix – ended up as the #2 quarterback by the time Purdue makes it’s way to South Bend for Notre Dame’s season opener. Kelly has given each of the three frosh QBs praise in the early stages of fall camp, but it’s anyone’s guess who pulls ahead of the pack by the end of August.
- #5 Armando Allen (Sr)
- #33 Robert Hughes (Sr)
Again, no surprise here at the top of the depth chart. Kelly mentioned throughout spring that Allen had distanced himself from the other running backs. The strong performances of Cierre Wood and Jonas Gray will make it tough for Hughes to hold on to that #2 spot though. Hughes is by far the biggest back on the team and put in a lot of work in the off-season in the weight room. Still, Wood and Gray might be the home run threats this offense has lacked for years from the running back position.
- #3 Michael Floyd (Jr)
- #11 Shaquelle Evans (So)
It might be more interesting to see the wide receiver depth chart listed 1 through 5 because Notre Dame will be running five wide receiver sets with actual wide receivers (if you’ve read this site over the last few years you’ll remember how many times I wrote about Weis’s offense having five receiver sets made up of tight ends and running backs instead of receivers) making the 4th and 5th receivers very active members of the offense. Floyd is the clear #1 receiver on the team and his NFL future has been debated since his freshman season. How much of an impact Evans makes remains to be seen though. He was a fast riser in last year’s camp before disappearing a few games into the season.
- #18 Duval Kamara (Sr)
- #81 John Goodman (Jr)
This could be one of the more fun position battles to watch during camp. Kamara has the edge in experience, but Goodman has been mentioned by more than one person as a player ready to break out in 2010. Kamara has been compared to Maurice Stovall throughout his career and if the comparisons continue to hold true, the senior from New Jersey could be primed for a big year. After three up and down seasons, Stovall exploded under the guidance of first year head coach Charlie Weis in 2005. Could Kamara be in for a similar transformation? If he’s not, Goodman will be more than capable of stepping in. One name that didn’t appear at either of the first two receiver spots was Deion Walker. The junior receiver came to Notre Dame with a lot of fanfare, but time may be running out for the former prep star.
Wide Receiver (Slot)
The slot receiver position literally cannot get any less experienced than it is right now. Jones is a true freshman and Riddick spent his freshman season at running back before moving to wide receiver in the spring. Kelly and staff clearly have high hopes for the Jersey native, though, since Kelly mentioned Riddick’s growing pains at the position while still listing him as his starter at the position. Jones meanwhile was one of the better stories of the spring after enrolling early at Notre Dame. He was a star in the Blue-Gold game and if his early position on the depth is any indication, Notre Dame fans will be seeing him in real games before too long. Sophomore Roby Toma could push for playing time here as well.
- #9 Kyle Rudolph
- #41 Bobby Burger
The first real surprise of the depth chart shows up at the backup tight end spot where former walkon Bobby Burger gets the node over senior Mike Ragone. It’s possible Ragone’s position on the depth chart could be tied to his off field issues, but all Kelly has said on the issue was that the situation was handled internally. While a fine blocker, Burger doesn’t have the same receiving skills as Ragone and it would be a mild upset if Ragone wasn’t the backup tight end behind Kyle Rudolph before too long.
- #70 Zack Martin (So)
- #77 Matt Romine (Sr)
Martin had one of the best springs among the offensive linemen so it’s no surprise to see him listed as the starting left tackle to start camp. Romine came to Notre Dame a very highly regarded recruit, but injuries and inconsistency have plagued his career thus far. It is going to be tough for Romine to unseat Martin who could end up being the steal of last year’s recruiting class.
- #59 Chris Stewart (5th)
- #57 Mike Golic, Jr (So)
Stewart is the leader of the offensive line and was singled out by Kelly for his work in the weight room this off-season. Stewart added weight while cutting down on his body fat and looks to be ready to be the mauler in the middle of the offensive line most felt he’d be when he committed to Notre Dame five years ago. Golic was listed as the backup here, but he could get work at center as well – especially if Braxston Cave ends up winning the starting nod there. Dan Wenger has played a lot of guard and could shift over here as a backup if Cave beats him out. In general, look for a lot of shifting on the line.
- #51 Dan Wenger (5th)
- #52 Braxston Cave (So)
This could be the fiercest position battle of camp this year. Wenger has the starting experience, but Cave is a beast of a center and has reminded me of Jeff Faine at this point in his career. Cave ran with the first team offense at times in the spring and it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he ended up winning the position. Kelly mentioned on Monday that its possible both Wenger and Cave see time at center this fall since they are that close right now.
- #78 Trevor Robinson (Jr)
- #66 Chris Watt (So)
Robinson is the most talented offensive lineman on the team and Watt could be one the most talented lineman on the team as well in the near future. The previous staff was really high on Watt even though he did not see the field as a true freshman in 2009. Robinson saw time at tackle in the spring and there’s a chance he could slide over to right tackle at some point if Taylor Dever doesn’t lock down the starting spot there. If Robinson moves over to tackle, Watt could move up to the top spot here or Dan Wenger could move back to guard if he doesn’t lock down the center spot.
- #75 Taylor Dever (Sr)
- #76 Andrew Nuss (Sr)
Dever starting camp as the starting right tackle isn’t a surprise, but Nuss moving over to tackle is a little bit surprising as he’s played on the interior line for most of his career. This position could end up effecting multiple positions. If Dever locks down the starting spot, the offensive line could look very similar to this first depth chart. If he doesn’t and Robinson ends up moving over to tackle, then the line could get shuffled around quite a bit. Regardless, it’s safe to assume that we’ll be seeing a lot of different offensive linemen and groupings throughout camp until the staff decides on a starting five.