Taking a crystal ball to the two deep

The imminent arrival of fall camp for Kansas football also means the arrival of a revamped depth chart. As an exercise in fun and prognostication, Phog.net looks back at the pre-spring depth chart and takes our best shot at how things will have changed when the 2012 football season opens this week.

Offense

Left Tackle

Spring - Tanner Hawkinson, Chad Kolumber

Fall - Tanner Hawkinson, Gavin Howard

Hawkinson is an absolute no-brainer. A senior with a ton of experience and a team captain, he's the anchor of the offensive line. Kolumber's departure from the team leaves a void to be filled behind him on the two-deep, and in truth it could be any of a small handful of candidates. Howard has experience and is as viable an option as any in the backup role.

Left Guard

Spring - Duane Zlatnik, Damon Martin

Fall - Duane Zlatnik, Damon Martin

Zlatnik may have the best NFL future of any offensive lineman on the roster, and his experience level means his spot is as solid as Hawkinson's. The two should give Kansas a formidable blindside protection duo for quarterback Dayne Crist.

Center

Spring - Trevor Marrongelli, Dylan Admire

Fall - Trevor Marrongelli, Dylan Admire

No changes here either. Marrongelli slid over from right guard to nab the spot at center, and has been a veteran member of the offensive line with two years of starts under his belt. Admire will continue to grow and develop as his backup.

Right Guard

Spring - Gavin Howard, Luke Luhrsen

Fall - Aslam Sterling, Randall Dent

Sterling, a late signee to the Class of 2012, is a mammoth junior college prospect, 6-foot-5 and 330 pounds who on film looks as if he possesses all the necessary skills to succeed on the interior offensive line. He's a powerful run blocker, and once he gets that mass moving in the right direction and locks on to a defender, it's tough for the poor soul to defy the laws of physics. Like Pat Lewandowski, Dent was switched from defense and has the size and strength to perform well at the position.

Right Tackle

Spring - Riley Spencer, Bryan Peters

Fall - Riley Spencer, Pat Lewandowski

Spencer looks to have all the physical tools - he just needs the experience. Pat Lewandowski was moved from the defensive side of the ball with a purpose. If he can get up to the 290ish range this summer through the strength and conditioning program, he's a likely candidate as the backup.

Tight End (Y)

Spring - Jimmay Mundine, Trent Smiley

Fall - Mike Ragone, Jim May Mundine

A fifth-year senior transfer from Notre Dame, Ragone wouldn't have picked Kansas if he wasn't going to play. The other player to watch out for here is junior college transfer Charles Brooks. Mundine will have the edge on him in experience, but Brooks has superior size and excellent athleticism. He could end up seeing the field quite a bit this season.

WR(X)

Spring - Kale Pick, Justin McCay, Chris Omigie

Fall - Kale Pick, Chris Omigie, Josh Ford

With the NCAA ruling McCay ineligible for this season, Omigie - who by all accounts has had a fantastic spring and summer - gets bumped up the list. Also watch out for JUCO product Josh Ford, whom Weis mentioned at Big 12 Media Days as someone who could step in and make an impact.

WR(Z)

Spring - Daymond Patterson, D.J. Beshears, JaCorey Shepherd

Fall - Daymond Patterson, D.J. Beshears, JaCorey Shepherd

No changes necessary here. Patterson's return for a final season after injuring his knee during the 2011 campaign instantly increases the offense's playmaking ability. And as Weis historically likes to play a multitude of receivers, it's safe to say Beshears will see his fair share of snaps as well.

Fullback

Spring - Nick Sizemore, Ed Fink

Fall - Nick Sizemore, Ed Fink

No changes.

Halfback

Spring - James Sims, Tony Pierson, Brandon Bourbon

Fall - Tony Pierson, James Sims, Taylor Cox

This is one of the positions where things get interesting. With Sims suspended for the first three games of the season, will he still appear on the first fall depth chart? It seems likely he won't be getting first team or second string reps - reps who will go to players prepping for action during the first quarter of the season. So where does he fit?

For this little exercise, we assume he'll be left off. The depth chart is, of course, a fluid entity, and this is just for fun. Bump Pierson up, who could shine big-time if given more carries, and push a fully-healthy Bourbon into the bruiser role. Cox, a JUCO transfer, was one of the most productive running backs in the junior college ranks last season and has a skill set comparable to Sims'.

Quarterback

Spring - Dayne Crist, Jake Heaps

Fall - Dayne Crist, Turner Baty

Crist is the obvious starter, and Heaps will sit out this season due to transfer rules. That leaves either redshirt freshman Michael Cummings or JUCO transfer Turner Baty as the backup. Cummings has all the physical tools but Baty seems more well-suited to Weis' offense. And with both Crist and Heaps on the roster, it seems unlikely Baty would have selected Kansas if he wasn't confident he could put himself in the mix immediately.

Defense

The defense gets a little harder to predict. Well…a lot harder to predict. Not only are so many newcomers going to be playing significant minutes, but a couple of those JUCO talents projected to earn big-time snaps haven't even arrived yet. In fact, they may not be here until a few days after camp begins.

So how will next week's depth chart handle them? Will they be on it, if they're not here? Let's go ahead and construct this as if everyone is in place and ready to go come Wednesday, even if that won't be the case. Just for grins.

Defensive End

Spring - Keba Agostinho, Ben Goodman

Fall - Keba Agostinho, Ben Goodman

No changes here, though the DE position is going to be fluid with Toben Opurum and likely Michael Reynolds splitting time between the line and linebacker spot.

Nose Tackle

Spring - Shane Smith, Randall Dent, John Williams

Fall - Ty McKinney, John Williams, Shane Smith

McKinney is the definition of a lane-clogger at 315 pounds, and should start right away. A fully-healthy John Williams will provide a solid rotational presence, and help give the Jayhawks some punch they haven't had on the defensive line in a good long while.

Defensive Tackle

Spring - Pat Lewandowski, Julius Green, Kevin Young

Fall - Jordan Tavai, Keon Srtowers, Kevin Young

Tavai might be the gem of the Class of 2012, a JUCO DT with exceptional explosion off the ball. Stowers has impressed his teammates during workouts throughout the summer, and Young will get his shot as a rotational DT as well.

Defensive End

Spring - Toben Opurum, Josh Richardson

Fall - Josh Williams, Josh Richardson

Like Ragone, Williams is a fifth-year transfer, and the long, athletic defensive end wouldn't have chosen to try and improve his NFL profile at Kansas if he wasn't going to play big minutes. Opurum will be shifted to linebacker, and split time at one of the defensive end spots on pass-rushing downs as the situation - and the staff - dictates.

SAM

Spring - Tunde Bakare, Michael Reynolds

Fall - Toben Opurum, Michael Reynolds

Opurum is a defensive captain and the leader of the team, while Reynolds made a name for himself during the spring with his speed and athleticism, recording multiple sacks during the annual spring game.

MIKE

Spring - Darius Willis, Tyler Hunt

Fall - Anthony McDonald, Schyler Miles

McDonald is another on the list of fifth-year transfers, a former Army All-American known for his pass coverage skills. Regardless, Miles will see plenty of reps. He's got too much physical ability to remain on the sidelines.

WILL

Spring - Huldon Tharp, Colin Garrett

Fall - Huldon Tharp, Ben Heeney

After battling numerous injuries during his young career, Tharp is back and ready to make good on the promise he showed as a true freshman. Redshirt freshman Ben Heeney was another young pup who looked solid during the spring game, and should see some reps.

CB

Spring - Tyler Patmon, Dexter Linton

Fall - Tyler Patmon, Greg Allen

Patmon is poised for a breakout season and freshman Greg Allen is an outstanding young talent with all the physical gifts one could ask for - such as being one of the fastest athletes from the state of Texas in the Class of 2012.

SS

Spring - Lubbock Smith, Ray Mitchell

Fall - Lubbock Smith, Tevin Shaw

Smith, a senior, will get one more shot at his chance in the sun after bouncing in and out of the starting lineup for the past three years. Shaw, a freshman from New Jersey, was a late signee Weis only recently moved to safety. He played both ways in high school and was all-state as both a safety and an RB, and his film showed exciting potential at both. As a safety he's an intelligent player and a sure-handed tackler with good speed.

FS

Spring - Bradley McDougald, Victor Simmons

Fall - Bradley McDougald, Victor Simmons

McDougald has NFL potential as a safety, and Simmons - a local product - showed flashes last season as a freshman.

CB

Spring - Greg Brown, Chris Robinson, Corrigan Powell

Fall - Greg Brown, Nasir Moore

Brown is a veteran who has put himself in the best shape of his life heading into his senior year, and Nasir Moore was one of the more dynamic DBs in the JUCO ranks last season, despite switching to the position after the season started. If he takes well to defensive coordinator and cornerbacks coach Dave Campo's coaching, he could be exciting.

So there's our stab at things. Could be that a lot of it is incorrect. Could be that we're close, but it will look extremely different mid-way through the season, or vice versa. We do know there will be a plethora of new faces making up the majority of the defense, we just don't know exactly where they'll be or how much they'll play at the start.

One thing is for sure - the start of camp can't get here fast enough.


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