Charlie Weis mentioned last week that while he did not envision starting eight freshmen this season, he could see eight freshmen working their way into the two-deep. It turns out that eight freshmen have already worked their way onto the two-deep chart led by Kyle Rudolph, who is listed as the starter at tight end. Rudolph had been competing for the number one spot all camp with Mike Ragone and Will Yeatman, but his path to starter was cleared on Thursday when the Irish found out that Ragone would be out for the season.
Other freshmen who made the depth chart out of camp include wide receiver Michael Floyd, who is listed as David Grimes' backup at the Z position, offensive lineman Trevor Robinson, who is listed behind starter Chris Stewart at right guard and center Braxtson Cave, who is listed as the co-backup to Dan Wenger along with Thomas Bemenderfer.
Four freshmen are listed as backups on defense as well. Defensive end Ethan Johnson is the backup to Pat Kuntz at one defensive end position while Kapron Lewis-Moore is behind co-starters Morrice Richardson and Justin Brown at the other. Darius Fleming is behind co-starters John Ryan and Kerry Neal at the Will linebacker spot. Cornerback Robert Blanton debuts as the backup to Terrail Lambert at the right cornerback spot.
As expected Mike Turkovich won the battle with Paul Duncan for the left tackle spot and now Duncan is listed as Eric Olsen's backup at left guard. Sophomore Matt Romine is listed as Turkovich's backup.
Floyd is joined by sophomore Golden Tate, who is listed as Duval Kamara's backup at X. The presence of Floyd and Tate mean that juniors George West and Robby Parris are not in the top four among receivers.
Yeatman will back up Rudolph at tight end and just like Weis said on Friday, Luke Schmidt is listed as the co-starter with Asaph Schwapp at fullback, but is really considered more of a move tight end.
No surprises on special teams as Brandon Walker won the place-kicker job as expected with Eric Maust as punter and Ryan Burkhart handling kickoffs. Allen is the top punt and kickoff returner and is joined on the depth chart by Grimes and Tate respectively. Senior Kevin Brooks and Cave will split the snapper duties with Brooks listed as the starter for long snaps and Cave as the number one guy for field goal snaps.