With Appalachian State spring practice now a couple of weeks completed it's time to take stock of the key learning from the 15-session camp. While there has been no official post-spring depth chart released by the program App State Mania takes a cut at the projected two-deep based on firsthand observation of practices and scrimmages, combined with post-practice coaches' commentary throughout the camp, and a little bit of speculation.
There's absolutely nothing official about this projection and, despite its current construction, this list will certainly change as spring and summer workouts eventually become 2017 fall camp.
APP STATE MANIA PROJECTED POST-SPRING DEPTH CHART
86 LEVI DUFFIELD (6-2, 205, Sr.)
87 COLLIN REED (6-3, 240, So.)
REVIEW: Who starts is not really significant, both Duffield and Reed will play key roles dependent upon game situation. Reed is more the receiving threat and Duffield is the better blocker, but both can and will have an impact in 2017. Mitchell McClurg showed nice development during spring camp but needs another year to become a difference-maker.
74 VICTOR JOHNSON (6-5, 290, So.)
50 Beau Nunn (6-4, 305, Sr.)
REVIEW: That Johnson maintains the starting spot is no surprise, he’s still learning but had a great freshman season. But, based on comments from Co-Offensive Coordinator and Offensive Line Coach Shawn Clark, I don’t get the sense that anyone distinguished themselves enough to prevent Clark from moving Beau Nunn across in the event Johnson were absent.
76 MADISON MALONE (6-5, 280, Jr.)
52 Tobias Edge-Campbell (6-2, 300, Jr.)
REVIEW: Here’s a total wild card spot; Malone was getting most of the starting reps during spring ball, and it feels like Edge-Campbell could spend some time there, as well. But, it also feels like perhaps this guard spot isn’t settled based just on spring practices. It’s somewhat uncertain how that might play itself out, but some ideas are shared immediately below in the center review.
52 TOBIAS EDGE-CAMPBELL (6-2, 300, Jr.)
58 Ryan Neuzil (6-3, 280, Fr.)
REVIEW: One factor that really didn’t seem to improve significantly as spring practices progressed was the consistency of shotgun snaps. Both Edge-Campbell and Neuzil struggled with making clean snaps day in and day out. It’s possible that incoming freshman Noah Hannon is going to factor into the situation come fall but, one way or another, snaps have to improve.
70 COLBY GOSSETT (6-6, 315, Jr.)
78 Chandler Greer (6-5, 280, Jr.)
REVIEW: Obviously, Gossett is the fixture here but the question becomes the spot behind him. Greer is here because this is where he finished last season, but he didn’t participate in spring practice while dealing with injury. Yet, as with the other guard spot, nobody seemingly jumped up to seize the position. This will still be an undecided battle this fall.
50 BEAU NUNN (6-4, 305, Sr.)
70 Colby Gossett (6-6, 315, Sr.)
REVIEW: Wash, rinse, repeat. Based on observations at this moment Gossett moves one spot to the right if needed, after Nunn. Again, there’s a lot of youth (redshirt freshman type of youth) behind the returning starters, and while there’s skill it’s the mentality of an App lineman they lack. Watch for the possibility of graduate transfer interest impacting this or other line positions.
WIDE RECEIVER (X)
6 SHAEDON MEADORS (6-2, 180, Sr.)
15 Mock Adams (6-4, 200, So.)
REVIEW: Meadors’ absence from live practices after a minor surgical procedure was irrelevant, as everyone knows what he brings come game days. It was a great opportunity for Adams to take a majority of snaps with the ones and he made the most of them. Mock brings great presence as a blocker and in the red zone. Watch for incoming freshman Thomas Hennigan to press for time come fall.
WIDE RECEIVER (Z)
2 IKE LEWIS (5-11, 180, Sr.)
82 Zy Letman (6-3, 200, Sr.)
13 Dante Jones (5-11, 185, Sr.)
REVIEW: It was a 2016 season where receiver contributions beyond Meadors were sporadic, but these Zs were very solid this spring. Lewis is the most explosive of the crew and showed that. Letman continued his late-season momentum and provides physicality and toughness. Jones would’ve gotten consideration for the most improved player for the offense in spring. Don’t forget Jalen Virgil here, despite missing some time to injury.
WIDE RECEIVER (M)
19 DARRYNTON EVANS (5-11, 185, So.)
2 Ike Lewis (5-11, 180, Sr.)
REVIEW: With the unplanned departures of Jaylan Barbour and Deltron Hopkins the slot spot became Evans’ very quickly. Or, more to the fact, it was going to be Evans’ spot and that led to the attrition. In either case, Darrynton has earned the burn here and will bring toughness and versatility to the slot. Expect one or both of true freshmen Jake Henry and Malik Williams to earn a game-day role.
25 JALIN MOORE (5-11, 200, Jr.)
21 Terrence Upshaw (5-10, 210, Sr.)
REVIEW: No surprise with Moore, he’s the reigning Sun Belt Offensive Player of the Year. Upshaw has returned with a vengeance. Terrence has always run hard, but he ran insane in spring camp. Yet, it’s not just Upshaw’s resurgence that allowed staff to move part-time runner Evans back to the slot. Marcus Williams showed himself to be rotation-worthy with a strong spring.
11 TAYLOR LAMB (6-2, 200, Jr.)
7 Jacob Huesman (6-3, 215, Fr.)
REVIEW: As with other positions, we all know what to expect at the starting quarterback slot with Taylor Lamb. It was the back-up position that was up for grabs throughout the camp, and while it seems Huesman has assumed that spot it still feels somewhat unsettled. Huesman and Zac Thomas bring different skill sets and are likely to compete throughout summer and fall.
42 ANTONIOUS SIMS (6-3, 250, Sr.)
47 Okon Godwin (6-2, 250, Jr.)
95 Devin Papenheim (6-6, 250, So.)
REVIEW: Sims battled injury at spots this spring but it’s clear he’s the alpha at the end. With Tee sitting out sporadically Godwin took the opportunity to have a very impactful spring. Papenheim was also partially impacted by injury in camp. Don’t sleep on redshirt freshman Elijah Diarrassouba in that rotation, as he also brought great pressure off the edge in multiple scrimmage sessions.
92 MYQUON STOUT (6-1, 285, Jr.)
68 Brody Barrett (6-3, 305, So.)
99 Baer Hunter (6-3, 285, Fr.)
REVIEW: Myquon Stout was the MVP of a defensive team that was lights out at points in the spring, simply dominating session after session. Behind Myquon is where the questions existed and still require some answers. Barrett was in and out battling injury and Hunter made plays in moments, but both need more consistency. Watch walk-on transfer E.J. Scott who’s raw but showed promise in camp.
51 CALEB FULLER (6-0, 240, Sr.)
90 Chris Willis (6-2, 250, Fr.)
REVIEW: With Fuller out this spring following shoulder surgery Willis took advantage of the extra reps and delivered a very effective camp performance. Willis came to work every day and was generating noticeable pressure in every scrimmage session. With Appalachian’s speed-oriented “NASCAR” defensive package where Fuller moves to nose we’ll likely see Willis setting the edge.
DOG OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
31 RASHAAD TOWNES (6-2, 220, Sr.)
37 Teh’Ron Fuller (6-2, 230, Jr.)
REVIEW:Townes was a terror throughout spring, repeatedly finding his way into the backfield with a vicious pass rush. With the decision to move Jordan Fehr to inside linebacker an opportunity has opened up for former ILB Fuller. But, Appalachian will also run faster sets with safeties, like Austin Exford or Jeremy Level, in the Dog slot in obvious passing situations.
44 ANTHONY FLORY (6-2, 235, Jr.)
33 Ed Davis (6-0, 230, So.)
REVIEW: Staff raved about the spring camp Flory was having in moving into a starter’s role, following the graduation of John Law. Flory brings athleticism to the position that could keep him on the field in some third-down situations. Davis has battled injuries in his two seasons at Appalachian but rebounded this spring to earn his two-deep opportunity.
45 ERIC BOGGS (6-3, 235, Sr.)
59 Jordan Fehr (6-2, 220, Fr.)
REVIEW: Boggs takes over at the Mike inside linebacker spot and has become the vocal leader of this unit. Behind him, redshirt freshman Jordan Fehr was another young standout this spring. Not only will he bring lumber when it’s time for contact, Fehr demonstrated great vision in finding gaps on blitz calls often tearing into the backfield in scrimmages.
ANCHOR OUTSIDE LINEBACKER
11 DEVAN STRINGER (5-11, 195, Jr.)
24 Akeem Davis (6-2, 200, Fr.)
REVIEW: Stringer enters his final season as the fixture at App’s Anchor outside linebacker spot. His absence from much of spring competition while recovering from injury allowed Davis to get the primary snaps, and Davis delivered with great versatility. Still, in certain down-and-distance situations expect strong safety A.J. Howard to drop down to Anchor in extra-coverage sets.
10 A.J. HOWARD (5-11, 185, Jr.)
9 Austin Exford (6-2. 200, Jr.)
36 Kaiden Smith (6-1, 190, Fr.)
REVIEW: Howard brought the same bone-jarring qualities this spring camp that have marked his career at Appalachian. Behind Howard, Exford stood out not only as a safety but also in dropping down to outside linebacker in specific situations. After an injury-dominated freshman season, redshirt Kaiden Smith also seized opportunity this spring with his high IQ and physicality.
7 JOSH THOMAS (6-0, 200, Jr.)
34 Desmond Franklin (6-2. 190, So.)
REVIEW: Thomas takes over the free safety role after an impactful first two seasons working between both safety spots. Franklin maintains the second spot on the depth chart based on his expanding knowledge of the expectations and reads at the position. But, competition for playing time will continue into fall, with redshirt freshmen K.J. Chamberlain and Jeremy Level pushing for reps.
22 CLIFTON DUCK (5-10, 175, So.)
12 Brandon Pinckney (6-0, 185, Sr.)
REVIEW: Not only did Duck come into spring camp as the starter he actually solidified that status further with his lockdown performance. Senior Pinckney was also strong throughout camp and will continue to provide enhanced length at cornerback in red zone situations. Redshirt freshman Aris Duffey and true frosh D’Andre Hicks continue to absorb the position requirements.
17 TAE HAYES (5-11, 175, Jr.)
18 Shemar Jean-Charles (5-11, 180, Fr.)
REVIEW: Hayes looked the role of starter in camp and brings significant big-game experience with him. Redshirt freshman Jean-Charles jumped off the page in camp, as he did in his role as a scout-team corner last season. Of course, the intrigue in this spot lies with the anticipated return of Latrell Gibbs from suspension, but Gibbs will not simply walk back into his former starting role.
41 MICHAEL RUBINO (6-3, 205, So.)
REVIEW: Rubino continued through spring with the same momentum he gained at the end of last season. His enhanced confidence is much more apparent in the way he carries himself and Rubino’s kicking from 40 yards-plus was very solid. The kickoff role is not nearly as certain, but it appears that candidate could come from among a group beyond Rubino.
94 RYLEE CRITCHER (6-1, 195, Fr.)
REVIEW: The Critcher era likely continues, but this was an area of less consistency during camp. Nobody in the competition displayed nearly the reliability of previous punter Bentlee Critcher, which could be expected. Nearly 40% of all Bentlee’s punts finished inside the 20, which was a primary weapon and defensive field-position factor in 2016.
19 DARRYNTON EVANS (5-11, 185, So.)
81 JALEN VIRGIL (6-2, 210, Fr.)
REVIEW: Not much full-speed work went on during spring camp with organized returns, but the prime candidates are easy to identify. Evans has already etched his place in App State Football history with the now legendary touchdown return in last year’s Camellia Bowl win. Virgil was explosive as a receiver this spring. and his speed and size make him a potentially lethal return threat.
22 CLIFTON DUCK (5-10, 175, Fr.)
REVIEW: Duck was the most consistent and effective punt returner in camp, one season after becoming a permanent part of the unit last season. Identifying capable back-up options is still in process and with a key starter like Duck, who’s always at risk for injury, reliable alternatives are going to be crucial.