A number of starting jobs still up for grabs

Fall camp will be upon us before you know it. A number of positions are still up for grabs and could make for interesting watching over the course of August.

Quarterback: The real battle is for the No. 2 job where Kris Heavner may be entering camp as the frontrunner to back-up Willie Tuitama. Heavner had a very good spring and all reports have him learning the offense and playing very well in voluntary –on-7 drills. Although Tuitama enters the fall as the clear-cut number one, he still has to play well or else he could feel the others breathing down his neck.

Running Back: Chris Jennings enters the fall as the top tailback with Xavier Smith as his back-up. The starting spot is still up for grabs, but if the season started today Jennings would get about 60% of the reps.

The best battles are at the back-up spots. Terry Longbons and Glyndon Bolasky are fighting for the No. 3 spot and that could be vital with the rookies coming in to the program. Nic Grigsby and Joseph Reese are expected to push for time as well and if one of the veterans cannot hold off a freshman it could mean getting buried on the bench.

Wide Receiver: Being a starter is not as important at the receiver spot as is being in the rotation. The spread offense utilizes so many different players that there is enough touches for starters and non-starters alike.

There are two sure things, Mike Thomas and Anthony Johnson will see a lot of time and Terrell Turner is pretty close. After that things get interesting. Terrell Reese, B.J. Dennard, Delashaun Dean and Bobby McCoy all showed flashes in the spring. ‘Bug' Wright has been incredible in 7-on-7's and Mike Turner has been converted from defensive back to wide out to join the rest of the crowded rookie class.

Tight End: Like receiver, this is a group that has a lot of opportunities for people to play, regardless if they start. Freshman Rob Gronkowski is blowing people's minds in workouts and could have the inside track to be the main guy. Travis Bell, Brandyn McCall and A.J. Simmons will also be in the mix for serious playing time.

Offensive Line: It should come as no surprise that the line will have the most position battles. The only sure thing is that Eben Britton will be lining up at right tackle. All the other spots should see some good fights, including center where Colin Baxter could challenge Blake Kerley. The other positions will also be up for grabs as the whole unit should be healthy, which was not the case in the spring.

Defensive Line: The real battles are not for starting spots, but for getting in the rotation. Louis Holmes, Jason Parker and Johnathan Turner will all see time at defensive end, the only question is how much do Deaundre Reed and Ricky Elmore play. Inside Yaniv Barnett, Lionel Dotson and Donald Horton seem like sure things.

Linebacker: Again the unit seems set, although a guy like Xavier Kelly could challenge for time. The Tuihalamaka cousins could also contend for playing time in an already stacked unit.

Defensive Back: The two corners are set, and Dominic Patrick should be a starter. Strong safety could be the best battle of fall camp and nickel back could be right up there. Cameron Nelson may have the upper hand at nickel, while guys like Brandon Tatum, Nate Ness and Cory Hall could be among the guys in the mix to replace Michael Johnson.

Kicker: Jason Bondzio enters camp with the job, but Alex Zendejas will be right there to challenge him. Keenyn Crier seems set to punt.


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