After soaking in spring practice, with the new schemes tweaking some positions, we project here what we think the depth chart will be when the UCLA football team heads into its first game of the season against Texas A&M Sept. 3rd.
Some players are listed twice because we think they would probably be the first option as a back-up at another position.
We're going to go against the grain and say that Kenny Lacy wins the starting left guard spot. It didn't appear he was the leader after spring practice, with Najee Toran probably leading for the starting position, but we think that Lacy is one of UCLA's best OLs, just a little inconsistent. This being his redshirt junior year we think he'll show the commitment in fall camp to earn that spot. We then also think Toran will continue to look as good as he did in spring and win the other guard spot. It wouldn't be surprising if James gets a look at guard, too, in that age-old effort to get the best five on the field. There's been a great deal of discussion about OL depth, and it's a concern, but really the OL depth problem is mostly at tackle. For that reason, we also would really like to see Lacy be an option at tackle, since he has good length and feet.
At receiver, even though Adams and Howard are listed #2 at their positions, we believe they'll get about as much playing time as the listed starters, especially Adams. We also are going against the grain and think that Van Dyke will beat out Massington at the bigger receiver spot.
At quarterback, we think it's likely that Modster's superior arm will move him to third on the depth chart, despite Lynch participating in spring practice. We don't think, however, he'll be able to supplant Fafaul as the primary back-up to Rosen. We suspect that Lee will remain at quarterback going into the season.
Alex Van Dyke (6-4, 210, Jr.)
Eldridge Massington (6-2, 210, R. Jr.)
Mossi Johnson (6-0, 190, R. So.)
Adewale Omotosho (6-2, 190, Fr.)
Conor McDermott (6-8, 310, R. Sr.)
Andre James (6-4, 290, R. Fr)
Alex Akingbulu (6-6, 255, Fr.)
Najee Toran (6-1, 285, Jr.)
Poasi Moala (6-4, 290, R. Jr.)
Mike Alves (6-5, 315, Fr.)
Tevita Halalilo (6-4, 335, R. Fr.) Inj.
Kolton Miller (6-8, 310, R. So.)
Andre James (6-4, 285, R. Fr.)
Zach Bateman (6-6, 310, R. Jr.)
Nate Iese (6-3, 250, R. Sr.)
Austin Roberts (6-2, 220, R. So.)
Jordan Wilson (6-5, 245, Fr.)
Caleb Wilson (6-5, 240, R. Fr.)
Darren Andrews (5-10, 190, R. Jr.)
Ishmael Adams (5-8, 190, R. Sr.)
Stephen Johnson (5-11, 195, So.)
Damian Alloway (5-10, 175, Fr.)
Demetric Felton (5-9, 180, Fr.)
Josh Rosen (6-4, 210, So.)
Mike Fafaul (6-1, 201, R. Sr.)
Devon Modster (6-2, 205, Fr.)
Matt Lynch (6-4, 190, Fr.)
Dymond Lee (6-2, 185, Fr.)
There are a number of guesses here, and most of it comes from just eyeballing players around campus. Tuioti-Mariner looks huge, and probably bigger than 270, and we think he fits at the three-technique. We do think, though, that in situations, Terry would also back up both defensive tackle spots. After seeing Odighizuwa on campus he looked like a future defensive tackle. We have no idea where Nnoruka ends up, because he looks pretty big physically, and he also could end up inside. We wouldn't be surprised if Marcus Moore ends up a tight end.
At linebacker, we took some liberties. We think Woods is just going to be too good to keep off the field and, with the weakside starting spot taken up by Brown, they'll start him at the strongside spot. Judge, with his experience, then, probably becomes the first back-up option at both Will and Sam. Even though we think Young will be chosen by the coaches to start at the Mike, we like Savaiinaea better, so we'll go with him. We're really looking forward to seeing if the extremely talented Juarez, with a spring practice under his belt, can shake up the depth chart.
There are many mysteries in the secondary, not in terms of depth or talent, but just where it all fits. The biggest mystery is Goforth, a two-year starter at safety who played corner during the spring (but mostly because there were guys sitting out at corner in spring, we think). We suspect ultimately, with so many options at corner, Goforth will settle back in to safety, but that bigger hitters like Goodman and Pickett will shuttle in more often in running situations.
Takkarist McKinley (6-4, 250, Sr.)
Deon Hollins (6-0, 230, Sr.)
Keisean Lucier-South (6-4, 225, R. Fr.)
Marcus Moore (6-3, 255, Fr.)
Jayon Brown (6-0, 220, Sr.)
Cameron Judge (6-1, 230, Sr.)
Breland Brandt (6-5, 230, Fr.)
Leni Toailoa (6-2, 200, Fr.)
Jaleel Wadood (5-10, 185, Jr.)
Adarius Pickett (6-0, 195, R. So.)
William Lockett (5-11, 180, R. Fr.)
Brandon Burton (6-1, 200, Fr.)
Randall Goforth (5-10, 190, R. Sr.)
Tahaan Goodman (6-2, 195, Sr.)
Octavius Spencer (6-0, 175, So.)
Dechaun Holiday (6-2.5, 215, R. Fr.)
J.J. Molson (6-0, 190, Fr.)
Andrew Strauch (5-11, 170, Fr.)
Austin Kent (6-2, 210, Fr.)
Adam Searl (6-0, 170, Sr.)
Johnny Den Bleyker (6-0, 200, Fr.)