Now we are pulling these candidates from the brand new just reported freshmen and junior college players, the ones that reported in January, the redshirt freshmen and sophomores that played some last season, and even some third-year players that are either sophomores or juniors. The only criteria is that they have yet to regularly hold down a position in the two-deep depth chart.
Reviewing the players featured. Number 10 is freshman wide receiver James Washington, who has come in this summer and impressed the strength staff and his teammates with his work ethic and athleticism.
Number nine is Darius Curry, who impressed as a redshirt last season and gives the defensive staff a luxury of having a big, physical corner that can help against big and physical receivers. He is a good cover corner at his size.
Number eight is Sione Palelei, who has done a marvelous job of rehab on his knee injury of last fall during his senior season. He brings speed and power in a great combination to the running back position and has the ability to also be a home-run hitter at the position.
Number seven is Vili Leveni, who redshirted last season. He really used the season well in working on his frame and putting on good weight to get to 6-3 and 275 pounds. He is versatile enough to play end or line up inside in the right situations.
Number six is Emmanuel Ogbah, the second defensive end to make the list. Ogbah has a little more experience than Leveni, and he is big, strong and explosive and a real threat to the overall welfare of opposing quarterbacks.
Number five is one of three young safety prospects in Tre Flowers. The coaches redshirted him last season and then in the spring really liked the way his length and frame played into the defense and his role at safety. He is young and inexperienced and there is no way to overcome that other than be out there and get the reps.
Number four is Deric Robertson, another safety prospect, one of the two that played last season. I can remember when the shirt came off as both Robertson and Jordan Sterns entered the game together in the Alamodome in San Antonio against UTSA in the third quarter.
They were immediately greeted by a barrage of passing by Roadrunners quarterback Eric Soza. They were indoctrinated and that indoctrination will likely continue this season. The thing the coaches like about Robertson is he is physical and does not mind getting his nose in the middle of things. He had four tackles on the season, three came against UTSA and his fourth came against Texas.
Robertson is 6-2, 200 pounds and athletic. He is very squared away and responsible as both parents were in the Army.
The concern with Robertson, as it is with Flowers and Jordan Sterns, the third of the three young safeties, is that inexperience and how opposing quarterbacks are likely to try to take advantage of that.
The experience and ability of cornerbacks Kevin Peterson and Ashton Lampkin will help. The advantage that Robertson and Sterns have of being on the field in several games last season including some play on special teams is a big help.