It's no secret that Nevada is thin on the offensive line and at running back. The Wolf Packís Spring scrimmage had to be cut short because of a lack of able bodies at both positions. Texas speedster D'Andre Fuller had to be employed in the backfield as a running back, outside his projected position at the X receiver position.
At running back, Nevada has 2 solid starters in Don Jackson and Kendall Brock, but after that there is a big drop off. Senior Nate McLaurin, a JUCO transfer from Grossmont College played well in the Spring, but if the injuries were to mount in the backfield, forcing McLaurin to become a primary back, the Wolf Pack running game would be faced with leaning on McLaurin and a group of untested freshmen.
If pressed, the staff may have to rely on one of the incoming freshman to carry some of the load. RB James Butler (5-9, 200) out of Bloomingdale, IL is one possibility. Butler was a first-team all-state selection in 2013 after rushing for 1,185 yards and 19 touchdowns on 138 carries. Blake Wright (5-10, 200) out of Fresno, CA rushed for 1,361 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior as the team went 11-2 overall. The other intriguing possibility is athlete Kelton Moore (5-11, 200) out of Seguin High School in Arlington, TX. Moore played quarterback in high school but is projected to change positions in college. He rushed for 2,135 yards in 2013, including a league record 99 yard touchdown run.
An expected strength coming out of the 2013 season was going to be wide receiver with the only loss being Brandon Wimberly. Unfortunately, starter Aaron Bradley chose to transfer rather than face a suspension and Nigel Westbrooks was dismissed from the team. That leaves a major drop-off in experience at the position after the starters.
Jerico Richardson is currently listed as the starter at Z Wide Receiver and freshman D'Andre Fuller is backing up Ritchy Turner at the X position. Fuller nearly made the 2 deep last season but the staff decided to red-shirt him.
The staff shored up some of the depth recently with the addition of walk-ons Malcolm Lee (6-3, 190) of Burnaby, Canada and sophomore JUCO transfer Brayden Sanchez (5-11, 170). While neither player will start off under scholarship, itís expected both will compete for a spot on the depth chart.
At quarterback, senior Cody Fajardo is firmly intrenched as the starter and if he can stay healthy, he's poised for an outstanding final year at Nevada and could battle Utah St.'s Chuckie Keeton for Mountain West Offensive Player of the Year honors . Like Keeton, Devin Combs will be coming off a major knee injury but he's listed at #2 at QB. Combs was playing a stellar game at Florida St. when he went down, if he's healthy, Nevada should feel pretty good with its QB 2-deep. Mayes and Stewart are in a battle for the #3 spot and coming out of Spring it looked like Mayes might hold the edge, however, they are listed as either/or on the depth chart.
On the defensive side of the ball there aren't many surprises.
Bryan Lane Jr. has been moved back to his more natural position, from safety to outside linebacker. Ian Seau continues to hold first team position over Lenny Jones at defensive end. Nevada's defensive front 4 (Seau, Hanson, Yates and Hekking) are loaded with veteran players and if they were able to put on size and strength during the off-season, should be much improved.
Newcomer Duran Workman (6-0, 200) came out of Spring as the starting free safety after transferring from Saddleback College. In 2 seasons at Saddleback, he combined for 100 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, 7 pass break ups and 2 interceptions.
Below is a list of the players expected to join the Wolf Pack for Fall Camp:Quarterback
Hunter Fralick QB 6-2 210 Fr. Sparks, NV
Cristian Solano QB 6-1 170 Fr. San Fernando, CA
Kelton Moore ATH 5-11 200 Fr. Arlington, TX
James Butler RB 5-9 200 Fr. Bloomingdale, IL
Blake Wright RB 5-10 200 Fr. Fresno, CA
Andrew Celis WR 5-11 185 Fr. San Quentin, CA
Wyatt Demps WR 6-4 200 Fr. Elk Grove, CA
Malcolm Lee WR 6-3 190 Fr. Burnaby, BC
Brayden Sanchez WR 5-11 170 So. Fresno, CA
Matt Moen TE 6-3 240 Fr. Cibolo, TX
Brandon Scott TE 6-3 225 Fr. Yucaipa, CA
Daren Echeveria OL 6-5 270 Fr. Antelope Valley, CA
Mat McDermand OL 6-5 265 Fr. Overton, NV
Chad Specht OL 6-5 305 Fr. Fresno, CA
PatrickChoudja DE 6-3 225 Fr. Oakley, CA
Malik Reed DE 6-1 220 Fr. Dothan, AL
Korey Rush DE 6-1 260 Fr. Salt Lake City, UT
Jordan Silva DE 6-4 240 Fr. Murrieta, CA
Kalei Meyer DT 6-1 285 Fr. Waipahu, HI
Jeremy Miller DT 5-11 300 Jr. Arlington, TX
Cliff Porter DT 6-5 260 Fr. Reno, NV
Jarid Joseph LB 6-2 220 Fr. Lakewood, CA
Jacob Lacaden LB 5-11 215 Fr. Kapolei, HI
Kendall Johnson DB 6-0 180 Fr. Lafayette, LA
Elijah Moody DB 5-11 175 Fr. Long Beach, CA
Ahki Muhammad DB 5-9 180 Fr. Hayward, CA
Asauni Rufus DB 6-0 185 Fr. Bakersfield, CA
Neil Henderson can be reached via Twitter.Follow @NeilSBS