Projected Depth Chart: Offense

With fall camp over, UCLA still hasn't released its depth chart, so we thought we'd beat them to the punch. After watching camp, here's our projected depth chart, starting with the offense...

With fall camp officially ending yesterday, here's our estimation of how the depth chart will shake out when UCLA releases it officially sometime in the next several days.

Injured players are in italics.

Split End

Junior Taylor (SR, 6-1, 213)
Marcus Everett (SO, 6-1, 200)
Gavin Ketchum (FR, 6-4, 199)
Andrew Baumgartner (JR, 6-0, 189)

With it looking like two receivers – Marcus Everett and Matt Slater – will be out for the San Diego State game, the depth chart at receiver has gotten thin quickly, with walk-ons filling out the ranks.

Everett was definitely pushing Taylor before Everett injured his shoulder earlier this week and is estimated to be out for a couple of weeks. When he returns, expect Everett to give Taylor a run at playing time at split end. Freshman Ketchum is clearly one of the most talented receivers on the team, and was one of the revelations of fall camp. UCLA is trying to bring him up to speed as quickly as possible, while also giving his injured shoulder, the one that made him miss a substantial chunk of fall camp, time to completely heal. Baumgartner, the walk-on, earned a spot among the top eight receivers, running good routes and showing sure hands in camp.

Flanker:

Joe Cowan (JR, 6-4, 220)
Matt Slater (SO, 5-11, 197)
Brandon Breazell (SO, 6-0, 165)
Matt Willis (JR, 6-0, 186)

Probably out of the rotation: Ryan Graves (R-FR, 6-1, 164, Jamil Turner, (FR, 6-1, 190).

With Slater out, another walk-on, Willis, will probably fill out the bottom half of the rotation. Willis, the track guy, has improved, showing better route-running and hands. He'll probably also be a kick returner, and hopefully he'll be able to take a football hit and hold on to the ball.

Cowan has come on in the last week or so and looked good, catching the ball better. Breazell, after taking some time off for a friend's funeral, still doesn't look like he's playing at the optimum level.

Graves will probably travel with the team as a punt returner, but it looks like he'll be edged out by the likes of Ketchum, Baumgartner and Willis in the receiver rotation. Turner catches the ball well but lacks explosiveness, which is enough to keep him out of the rotation as a freshman.

Tight End:

Marcedes Lewis (SR, 6-6, 256)
J.J. Hair (JR, 6-5, 248)
Logan Paulsen (FR, 6-5, 237)
Ryan Moya (FR, 6-3, 230)

Probably out of the rotation: Adam Heater (FR, 6-5, 245), Matt Raney (SR 6-3, 236)

It's pretty well accepted that Paulsen and Moya are the two freshmen tight ends who UCLA intends not to redshirt. Paulsen has shown great potential in fall practice. Moya, while his size might seem like a detraction, could be used to give opposing defenses matchup problems, with his quickness and running ability.

Running Back:

Maurice Drew (JR, 5-8, 205)
Chris Markey (SO, 5-11, 203)
Kahlil Bell (FR, 5-11, 206)
Derrick Williams (R-FR, 5-10, 208)

Bell was one of the biggest surprises of fall camp, coming to UCLA projected as a fullback, but when UCLA's depth at tailback became thin, he stepped in and really opened eyes with his ability to find holes and stay on his feet. Given the question marks at tailback, with Markey injured to start fall camp, Williams being suspended for the last week, and promising walk-on Ryen Carew (FR, 5-11, 191) out for the season after knee surgery, Bell was a very welcomed surprise.

While UCLA has said they want to use three tailbacks, you can probably expect most of the carries to go to Drew and Markey. It will be interesting to see how Williams figures in; he had a very good spring practice, where many thought he overtook Markey, but then had an injury and was suspended for a week this fall.

Fullback:

Michael Pitre (SO, 5-11, 240)
Jimmy Stephens (SO, 6-2, 244)

Not a big drama here, with Pitre clearly the starter, again showing this fall that he has a chance to be a true standout at the position. Stephens, though, is important, since Pitre has a penchant for injuries. Stephens looked solid this fall. After Stephens, you're looking at walk-ons, so it's a position without great depth, and health here will be something to watch for the season.

Quarterback:

Drew Olson (SR, 6-3, 225)
Ben Olson (R-FR, 6-5, 225)
David Koral (SR, 6-3, 216)
Patrick Cowan (R-FR, 6-4, 215)

Remaining: Brian Callahan (JR, 6-0, 194), Osaar Rasshan (FR, 6-4, 206)

There isn't much drama here either, with all indicators pointing toward Drew Olson getting the starting nod when Head Coach Karl Dorrell announces it, supposedly in the next couple of days.
Olson has had a very good fall camp, looking more consistent and confident and throwing better than he ever has.
Ben Olson is, of course, the superior physical talent and UCLA's future. His inexperience probably is what lost the job to Drew, with Ben obviously still getting command of the UCLA offense. But man, those passes are pretty. It would be a bit of a surprise if he doesn't see time in the SDSU game. He, of course, has a bruised throwing hand and is day-to-day, but is expected to be ready to play next Saturday.

Koral had a decent fall camp and probably beat out Cowan for the third spot. Cowan started out slowly but has come on in the last week, but Koral's grasp of the offense gives him the edge. Cowan showed, though, that he has talent, and the depth at the position over the next four years looks very good because of him.
Walk-on Callahan got very few reps this fall, with him and Rasshan running the scout teams. Rasshan looked really shaky for most of fall camp, but threw quite a bit better the last several days. True freshman quarterbacks almost always look horrendous in their first fall camp, but then make big leaps during their redshirt year in practice, so it will be interesting to watch Rasshan. Quarterbacks coach Jim Svoboda is working quite a bit with Rasshan individually.

Strongside Tackle:

Brian Abraham (SO, 6-6, 300)
Noah Sutherland (SO, 6-4, 290)

Abraham was the heir apparent to this open starting position and he did well enough in fall camp to hold onto it. He'll be one to watch in UCLA's first two games -- to see how he does in his first two games as a starter. Sutherland, actually, has proven to be solid at offensive tackle after making the move from the DL.

Strongside Guard:

Shannon Tevaga (SO, 6-3, 310)
Robert Chai (JR, 6-3, 285)
Scott Glicksberg (R-FR, 6-4, 300)

Tevaga won the starting position last season and it was his this fall. He's considered one of the most talented OLs on the team.

Going into fall camp it looked like Chai would be alternating reps at the weakside guard position, but now it looks like Chris Joseph has won that position, and Chai will probably back-up at the strongside guard spot.

Glicksberg is another young OL the coaches like, and gives them some unaccustomed depth.

Center:

Mike McCloskey (SR, 6-5, 280)
Chris Joseph (SO, 6-4, 290)
Aaron Meyer (R-FR, 6-3, 295)

The offensive line got shaky there for about a week in fall camp while McCloskey sat out with a shoulder injury. He's probably the most critical part to this year's OL.

Joseph is more than likely the center of the future. Meyer has been getting the reps with the 2s while Joseph has become a starter at weakside guard. Meyer, though, has a long ways to go before he's game-worthy.

Weakside Guard:

Chris Joseph (SO, 6-4, 290)
Robert Cleary (SR, 6-7, 316)
Aleksey Lanis (FR, 6-6, 338)
P.J. Irvin (SO, 6-4, 310)

This position quietly became one of the most interesting positions of fall camp. It appeared that the projected co-starters, Cleary and Chai, just didn't give offensive line coach Tom Cable what he wanted at the position, and last week Cable inserted the more athletic Joseph into the starting spot. Joseph isn't sharing reps, and it looks like he's won the position.

While on one hand you can think it makes UCLA's line more talented, on the other, the OL suddenly got very young. With the addition of Joseph as the starter, the OL now will start three sophomores, two who will start for the first time against SDSU.
It does give UCLA good depth, with Joseph, Cleary and even Chai probably available to play the position.

Lanis, the heralded true freshman, looked very good physically and in one-on-one drills in fall camp, but the word is that he's still a ways a way, and just couldn't compete on the level with the more experienced OLs. He'd probably only be used in case of injury, and UCLA is relishing the fact that they can redshirt such a talented player.

Irvin has improved but still is a long ways away from getting playing time.

Weakside Tackle:

Ed Blanton (SR, 6-9, 346)
Tony Lee (R-FR, 6-5, 290)
Justin Brown (FR, 6-6, 256)

Blanton had a very good fall camp, looking like he was in better shape and quicker. He should have a big senior season. Tony Lee was one of the biggest delights of fall camp, before he injured his knee this week. Lee, who came to UCLA as a 6-4, 240-pound tight end, has made the program feel secure about the future of the weakside tackle position, with his quickness and improving strength. He'll be out for a few weeks after getting his knee scoped on Friday.

Brown showed promise in his first fall camp, showing good quickness himself. As he gets bigger and stronger over the next couple of years he'll compete for playing time at tackle because of his quick feet.

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