Early Depth Chart: Offense
Arkansas State will have to replace two starters from the offensive line that played in the GoDaddy Bowl game against Toledo. The Red Wolves have talent ready to fill in for the departed seniors but there could be some reshuffling in certain spots to put the best 11 on the field for the 2015 season, which opens against a talented USC team on Sept. 5 in Los Angeles.
Fredi Knighten. 2. James Tabary or Cameron Birse
Senior Fredi Knighten, the MVP of the 2014 GoDaddy Bowl victory over Ball State, is the starter going into the season after earning first team All-Sun Belt Conference honors in first year as a starter. With the expected departure of Stephen Hogan, we look for James Tabary, a player coach Blake Anderson is high on because of his talent and competitive spirit, and Cameron Birse, a redshirt sophomore with a big arm, to battle for the back-up spot.
J.D. McKissic (A-back) , Tres Houston (X), Dijon Paschal (Z) are all coming off big seasons, or have had big seasons. McKissic, a freshman All-American 3 years ago, played injured through most of the season and still wasn’t 100 percent at the Bowl game. Blake Mack, who has grown to 230 pounds, grabbed a pair of long TD passes and appears to be set for a big soph season. Booker Mays emerged as a dependable play maker and Daryl Rollins-Davis, who is coming off ACL surgery, is a strong candidate to back up McKissic. Tyler Trosin is a playmaker who can play several positions.
Darion Griswold, Warren Leaphart, Jerry Moorehead
Even with the graduation of Kenny Rains this is still one of the deepest positions on the team. Griswold has all-league talent and could be a NFL draft choice in 2016. Leaphart is emerging and Moorehead will get more opportunities.
Michael Gordon, Johnston White, Terrance Hollingsworth, Brandon Byner.
It is sad to say Michael Gordon is going to be a senior. He missed a couple of games early, but when healthy continued to bring big plays to the A-State offense. He is an all-conference performer. Johnston White, in his redshirt freshman season, emerged as a guy who can be counted on. A durable north-south runner, White had a 100-yard game in the overtime victory over Utah State. Hollingsworth and Byner saw spot duty as rookies. They should be better in year two.
We preface this by saying we really believe there will be some shuffling during the spring in an effort to put the best five on the field.
Colton Jackson returns as a 3-year starter at one of tackle spots and Jemar Clark is back at the other. The big question with this year’s OL is will they remain in that spot. A junior college OT --Joseph Bacchus has been brought into the mix. Freshman Daniel Keith played in two games before getting injured and will apply for a hardship season. He would have been able to play late in the 2014 season even though not at 100 percent.
Devin Mondie returns as the starter at left guard and is backed up by Travis Bodenstein and redshirt freshman Christian Beard. Graduation costs the Red Wolves a guard and it is speculation on who steps in there. Austin Moreton got a shot during the season because of injury and was immediately injured early in that start. He is a candidate at guard along with Steven Stevens.
Kyle Harris, who missed the GoDaddy after shoulder surgery, played both tackles, one guard and the center spot last season. Brandon Berg is a juco addition who plays center and they are the top candidates at that spot. If Berg wins the job Harris could be moved to another spot.
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