An Early 2014 Depth Chart - Offense

With the 2014 off-season workouts starting for the Baylor football team, we take a look at what the starting lineup for the offense could look like against SMU on August 31st?

The 2013 Baylor offense was record setting, as we have already discussed. With the Bears only returning 5 or 6 starters, what do options do they have coming back? Well first off, to get a better picture of what the Bears are losing, let's take a look at their 2013 depth chart with only the players still on the roster showing:

2013 Depth Chart
Position Starter 2nd String 3rd String
QB Bryce Petty Seth Russell Chris Johnson
RB Shock Linwood
UB Devin Chafin
WR Antwan Goodley
IR Clay Fuller
RT Troy Baker Tre'Von- Armstead
RG Desmine Hilliard Jason Osei
C Kyle Fuller Troy Edwards
LG LaQuan McGowan
LT Spencer Drango Pat Colbert
TE Gus Penning
IR Levi Norwood Corey Coleman
WR Jay Lee Robbie Rhodes

As you can see, Baylor has quite a few holes to fill in the backfield, and offensive line. They are losing just 1 receiver though and no quarterbacks. So, now that we know what holes that the Bears need to fill, who are the players that could fill them? Well, most of the movement will be from guys already on the depth chart on offense, as the Bears have just one junior college transfer coming in on offense. They also have a transfer from an FBS school that is a sophomore coming eligible as well. Besides those two, the main new names to the depth chart will be redshirt freshman and true freshman. Who are the players that could come into play in the spring as they battle for positions?

Quarterback

The 3 quarterbacks listed on the depth chart right now are going to be the three that are on there in 2014. No quarterback recruits are looking likely for the Bears right now, so it appears they are going to be without a new freshman QB next year.

Runningback

There are several big names to watch in the backfield. The first is a player already on campus in Johnny Jefferson, a 5-foot-11, 200 pound running back, and former 3-star recruit. He is coming off of his redshirt year, and profiles as an every down type of back. He will definitely be in the running for a large role in the running game. Another returning player is Anthony Webb, though he is listed as a running back on the official roster, he was a safety for all of the offseason last year, and stayed there until the Bears needed running back depth. Whether he will switch back to safety or stick with the offense will be something to watch in the offseason.

In addition to the runners on campus, Baylor has already brought in a freshman running back for the 2014 class in Terence Williams. The 4-star power back from Ennis, TX is going to be looked at in more of the Utility Back role, formerly occupied by Glasco Martin. At 6-foot-2, 220 pounds, Williams profiles very well for the larger back role in this offense.

Wide Receiver / Tight End

This is the most talented group of newcomers to the depth chart, and with just 1 wide receiver spot open and two tight end spots open, the competition will be fierce. Two players that will look to contribute during their true freshman season are already on campus, with 5-star receiver Davion Hall and 3-star tight end Jordan Feuerbacher graduating early and coming to Waco for spring practice. With only Gus Penning returning as a tight end for the Bears, Feurbacher has an excellent chance at early playing time. Joining them in the summer will be Blake Mahon.

Hall will be in a battle for one of the open wide receiver spots, but will have to compete with redshirt freshman Quan Jones. Redshirt freshman Kaleb Moore and Lynx Hawthorne will also try and move up the depth chart after their second years on campus.

Joining these receivers in the summer will be another wave of extremely talented pass catchers, led by 4-star recruit Kd Cannon. The receiver from Mount Pleasant, TX is ranked as the 5th best receiver prospect in the nation, just behind the 4th ranked Hall. Cannon could be in line for playing time as an inside receiver or outside receiver, though he seems to fit nicely in the slot for the Bears offense. Also coming in the summer will be two completely different receivers. Chris Platt is all speed. In fact, he might be one of the fastest receivers in the country as a prep. Ishmael Zamora is a larger receiver at 6-foot-3 and will bring more of an outside skill set to the group.

Offensive Line

The two transfers mentioned earlier are both going to be heavily involved in the offensive line battles. Jarell Broxton is the junior college guard who appears to be destined to slot into Cyril Richardson's old spot at left guard. The other eligible transfer is Blake Muir, an interesting tackle that played very well for Hawaii before coming to Baylor. He is only a sophomore, but has experience at left tackle. With both Spencer Drango and Troy Baker expected to fully bounce back from injuries that hampered or shortened their 2013 campaigns, it will be interesting to see what the do with the elder Muir.

In addition to the two transfers being eligible, the Bears also have Sean Muir, the younger brother of Blake, coming off of his redshirt year. Sean profiles as a center prospect and could be one to watch in that race.

Baylor also has a very deep group of high school lineman coming to Waco in the summer. You can mostly assume that the Bears will redshirt all of these recruits, as it is very difficult for a high school lineman to come in and play right away, though two of them have the size and strength to possible make that leap. Blake Blackmar is the highest rated of the group with 4-stars, and at 320 pounds already has the size for guard. Out of the four lineman, he is the most likely to avoid a redshirt year.

The other lineman that could play right away is Josh Pelzel, who could contribute inside or outside. He has great size at 6-foot-6 and 320 pounds. Joining them will be tackle Patrick Lawrence, a 6-foot-5, 250 pound prospect that will need some time to fill out. Finally, the Bears will also bring in guard Devonte Jones. Again, it is likely that all of the freshman redshirt, but don't discount Blackmar or Pelzel.

The 2014 Guess

It is hard to figure where everyone will slot in the lineup, especially when a lot of the names aren't even on campus yet and they have not decided who will redshirt or not. At this time last year, no way would most have thought that Taion Sells would play as a true freshman, but he was the backup free safety and played a large role on special teams. Surprises happen. So, with that being said, here is my best guess at what the depth chart could look like for SMU.

Predicted 2014 Depth Chart
Position Starter 2nd String 3rd String
QB Bryce Petty Seth Russell Chris Johnson
RB Shock Linwood Johnny Jefferson
UB Terence Williams Devin Chafin
WR Antwan Goodley Davion Hall Quan Jones
IR Corey Coleman KD Cannon
RT Troy Baker Pat Colbert
RG Desmine Hilliard Jason Osei
C Tyler Edwards Kyle Fuller Sean Muir
LG Jarell Broxton LaQuan McGowan
LT Spencer Drango Blake Muir
TE Gus Penning Jordan Feuerbacher
IR Levi Norwood Clay Fuller
WR Jay Lee Robbie Rhodes

Not a ton of surprises, but enough to keep it interesting. I think that the Bears line will see Tyler Edwards win the starting center spot with Broxton replacing Richardson at left guard. The only other debate in my mind was whether Baker would hold off Blake Muir for the right tackle spot. In the backfield, Shock Linwood will get the start, but Jefferson and Williams will also get a lot of carries. The running back position will be fascinating to watch and see how the Bears split carries.

At the tight end spot, Penning will more than likely get the most snaps, as he has experience in the offense, and is more of a receiving threat at this point. Though do not discount Feuerbacher and his ability. He looks to be a better blocker and could shine given the reps he will simply have to get with the lack of bodies at the position.

The wide receiver spots were the most difficult to fill, not because of the holes to fill, but because of the new talent coming in. Davion Hall, Quan Jones and KD Cannon are all excellent prospects, and in most offenses, could come in and start. But with guys like Antwan Goodley, Levi Norwood, Corey Coleman, Clay Fuller, and Jay Lee already with starting experience, it will be hard for them to crack the starting roster right away.

Jay Lee has the most tenuous hold on his starting spot of the foursome, but he started to put it all together later in the year. Can he hold off Rhodes, who battled injury and comfort in the offense all year? Or will Hall come in and blow everyone away, and stop the freshman struggles for pretty much every Baylor receiver not named Reese or Wright? Could Baylor actually redshirt KD Cannon with their depth at inside receiver, or could they move Hall to the defensive side of the ball?


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