The start of the 2015 football season is just 27 days away, and here at TCR we continue to roll through our preseason coverage with a look at the overall depth chart for the team. If you haven't checked out the individual preview posts for each position, you can do so right here. Now let's dive right into the depth chart:
Illinois Projected Depth Chart
|1st String||2nd String||3rd String|
|QB||Wes Lunt||Chayce Crouch||Jeff George Jr|
|RB||Josh Ferguson||Ke'Shawn Vaughn||Henry Enyenihi|
|WR1||Geronimo Allison||Dionte Taylor||Sam Mays|
|WR2||Malik Turner||Zach Grant||Raphael Barr|
|WR3||Marchie Murdock||Tyrin Stone-Davis||Kameron Fly|
|TE||Tyler White||Andrew Davis||Ainslie Johnson|
|LT||Austin Schmidt||Chris O'Connor||Jordan Fagan|
|LG||Nick Allegretti||Gabe Megginson||Pat Flavin|
|C||Joe Spencer||Zach Heath||N/A|
|RG||Ted Karras||Adam Solomon||Zeke Martin|
|RT||Christian DiLauro||Chris Boles||Connor Brennan|
|DE||Jihad Ward||Kenny Nelson||Brandon Roberts|
|DT1||Jarrod Clements||Teko Powell||Tito Obengido|
|DT2||Rob Bain||Joe Fotu||Jamal Milan|
|LEO||Dawaune Smoot||Carroll Phillips||Henry McGrew|
|WLB||Mason Monheim||LaKeith Walls||Trey Watson|
|MLB||TJ Neal||Mike Sventina||BJ Bello|
|STAR||James Crawford||Eric Finney||Justice Williams|
|CB1||V'Angelo Bentley||Darius Mosely||Chris James|
|SS||Taylor Barton||Jevaris Little||Dillan Cazley|
|FS||Clayton Fejedelem||Caleb Day||Darwyn Kelly|
|CB2||Eaton Spence||Jaylen Dunlap||Davontay Kwaaning|
|P||Ryan Frain||Ryan Tucker||Chase McLaughlin|
|PK||Taylor Zalewski||David Reisner||Ryan Frain|
|LS||Michael Martin||Zach Hirth||N/A|
|KO||David Reisner||Taylor Zalewski||Ryan Frain|
|KR/PR||V'Angelo Bentley||Darius Mosely||Mike Dudek (injured)|
A couple of notes on some position battles that might occur during Camp Rantoul:
- The backup runningback spots could be an ever-changing carousel; guys like Kendrick Foster and Reggie Corbin, who aren't even listed on this chart, could see time on the field under Bill Cubit's offense and his "bag of tricks." Freshman Dre Brown, who was expected to possibly be an impact player in the backfield, was lost for the year due to a torn ACL he suffered in the spring.
- The second and third string offensive lines could see a lot of shifting after Camp Rantoul. Freshman Gabe Megginson could be slotted at either guard or tackle and can steal an upperclassman's starting spot if he performs well. Zach Heath, Chris Boles, and Pat Flavin could also push for playing time if a starter gets hurt.
- Due to the numerous injuries that have occured this offseason, the Illini wide receiver depth chart has taken a big hit. Expect guys like Marchie Murdock, Dionte Taylor, and Tyrin Stone-Davis to assume larger roles until Mike Dudek and Justin Hardee return. The good news is none of these injuries are season-ending.
- On the defensive side of the ball, there will be a battle for the starting DT positions. Teko Powell and Joe Fotu, while both listed on the second string in our depth chart, could force their away into more prominent roles depending on what happens this August with Jarrod Clements and Rob Bain.
- Expect Taylor Zalewski to grab the starting place kicker gig, despite his struggles last season. If he shows inconsistencies again early on this year, however, he might have to relinquish his role to David Reisner. On the flip side, I anticipate Reisner to get the nod for kickoffs because Zalewski was (at times) incredibly inaccurate and booted several kickoffs out of bounds for penalties in 2014. That said, the special teams depth chart could change greatly; the kicking game is a fluid situation for the Illini.