But it sure is fun to speculate which players will be where come August isn't it? Especially when its only February.
Whispers of John Leake moving over to free safety have already surfaced, but we believe that probably will not happen. Too much talent will be infused into the secondary to require such a position shift. Look for Leake to start at outside linebacker against Georgia.
The freshmen we are predicting to get immediate playing time: FS Jeff Francouer, CB Larrey Williams, CB Justin Miller, ILB Kelvin Morris, OLB Brandon Jamison, and DE Cory Groover. Each one of these players has a legitimate chance to crack the two deep depth chart this fall. (Obviously we are assuming that Cory will qualify.)
One guy we expect to really make a difference in the secondary this year is Jamaal Fudge. Fudge has all the ability in the world to take over one of the starting cornerback positions. He has outstanding speed, good strength, and a full year at the Division I-A level under his belt. He'll have the opportunity to help this defense improve tremendously in 2002.
LB Kelvin Morris will likely claim one of the starting linebacker spots the moment he steps onto campus. He's extremely quick, and he'll help bring some of that nastiness that has been missing from the Tigers' defense over the last few years. Mark it down, he'll be a starter in Athens.
It is extremely difficult, and almost unheard of, to have a true freshman start in the secondary in the opening game of the season. Multiply that statement by 40 if Lovett plans on utilizing an 8-man front.
As talented as many of our incoming freshmen are, it is unrealistic to expect any of them to come in and start in an enviroment as hostile as Sanford Stadium on August 30. However, as the season wears on, Larrey Williams, Jeff Francouer, and Justin Miller could all easily see significant playing time. All three of these guys have unmatched athleticism, speed, and instincts on the football field, but keep your eye on Jeff Francouer. He will probably surprise a lot of us by being the first one of this group to become a starter.
At the ends, Bryant McNeil and Maurice Fountain should make for a formidable pass rush, but you just have the feeling that Cory Groover and Brandon Cannon both could command serious playing time by the time the thick of the ACC schedule comes around.
Groover has an incredible physique and he won't back down from anyone.
At the defensive tackles, Nick Eason and Donnell Washington have the inside track for the first team. Khalid Vaughn, Irvin Brisker and Vontrell Jamison will all challenge for playing time.
|2002 CU DEFENSIVE DEPTH CHART|
|Position||First Team||Second Team|
|CB||Jamaal Fudge||Larrey Williams/Kevin Johnson|
|CB||Brian Mance||Justin Miller/Ryan Hemby|
|DE||Maurice Fountain||Cory Groover/Charles Bennett|
|DE||Bryant McNeal||Brandon Cannon|
|DT||Nick Eason||Khalid Vaughn|
|DT||Donnell Washington||Vontrell Jamison/Irvin Brisker|
|OLB||John Leake||Brandon Jamison|
|ILB||Kelvin Morris||Rodney Feaster|
|OLB||Rodney Thomas||Eric Sampson|
|FS||Eric Meekins||Jeff Francouer|
|SS||Altroy Broderick||Marcus Houskin|