The first depth chart of the season was released by Notre Dame Monday and there are a few surprises in the two deep heading into this weekend’s season opener versus Purdue.
Here are a few thoughts on the first two deep of the season.
- Tommy Rees won the backup quarterback spot over Nate Montana. This shouldn’t be too much of a surprise. It just makes sense to have Rees as the backup if he is capable since he has more upside than Montana and has more of a chance of starting down the road.
- Braxston Cave won the starting center position over 5th year senior Dan Wenger. Cave has become a bit of a fan favorite ever since he was recruited and held his own against Omar Hunter in the Under Armour Game. I said last week that if Cave is named the starter it backs up my notion that Notre Dame will run the ball more this year than Kelly typically does. We’ll see if I’m right in a few days.
- Taylor Dever beat out Andrew Nuss at right tackle. Nuss had spent a lot of time running with the 1′s in camp, but Dever was listed as the starter.
- Chris Stewart held off Chris Watt at left guard. Kelly had said that Watt was pushing Stewart for the starting role, but the 5th year senior held on to his spot. This shouldn’t be a surprise either. Stewart is the leader of the offensive line.
- TJ Jones is the only freshman listed as a starter after beating out Duval Kamara for the third receiver spot. I still think we’ll see plenty of Kamara – especially in the red zone, but after the Blue Gold game performance by Jones this shouldn’t surprise anyone either.
- Robby Toma will back up Theo Riddick in the slot with John Goodman backing up Michael Floyd. Neither Shaquelle Evans or Deion Walker is in the twp deep at wide receiver at this point and rumors are Evans is considering a transfer.
- Cierre Wood held on to the backup running back spot with Jonas Gray and Robert Hughes both outside the two deep to start the season.
- Carlo Calabrese is listed as the starting ILB opposite Manti Te’o. Anthony McDonald has been banged up throughout camp and is listed as the backup to Calabrese. In more of a surprise move, freshman Danny Spond is listed as the backup behind Te’o at the other ILB spot.
- At OLB, the biggest surprise is the omission of Steve Filer in the 2-deep. Freshman Prince Shembo is listed as the backup to Darius Fleming to start the season. This is a bit curious since Filer was seen running with the first team as recently as a few weeks ago.
- Also at OLB, Kerry Neal held off Brian Smith for the other starting OLB spot.
- Gary Gray and Darrin Walls held on to the starting corner spots with Robert Blanton listed as Gray’s backup.
- Not surprisingly, Jamoris Slaughter and Harrison Smith held on to the starting spots with McCarthy backing up Smith and Zeke Motta backing up Slaughter.
- Cierre Wood and Theo Riddick are listed as the top kick returners with Wood listed as the top return man. Armando Allen is also listed as the 3rd returner – the only position on the depth chart with three players listed.
- Armando Allen is the top returner with John Goodman listed as his backup.
- David Ruffer is listed as the kickoff man while Nick Tausch is listed as the place kicker.