Monday, September 17, 2012

Why Austyn Carta-Samuels started against Presbyterian

So why did Jordan Rodgers stay on the sidelines Saturday against Presbyterian?

First of all, it's not necessarily a slap in Rodgers' face. Think Eric Kresser. In 1995, when Florida was steamrolling to an SEC championship and a berth in the national title game, Kresser started against Northern Illinois — and Danny Wuerffel, an All-American and eventual Heisman trophy winner, didn't take a snap.

Kresser set a Gator record that day with six touchdown passes. What did Spurrier accomplish by playing Kresser and sitting Wuerffel? Well, he let an inexperienced backup run the team in a game the Gators couldn't lose, which protected Wuerffel from injury and prepared Kresser in case he was needed later in the season. (He wasn't. Kresser transferred to Marshall for his senior season, led the Thundering Herd to a national championship and played three seasons in the NFL.)

Maybe Franklin called Austyn Carta-Samuels' number because he's seen enough of Rodgers and he wants ACS, the Wyoming transfer, to run the team for the rest of the season.

I doubt it. He wanted ACS to get some experience because Vandy's going to need him at some point. Remember how Franklin gave Rodgers some limited reps in our first four games last season so that he was ready to run the team when Larry Smith faltered? Now Rodgers is struggling to get on track, and Franklin needs a second option. The Presbyterian game was the perfect opportunity to start developing a Plan B. (It was also a great chance to get walk-on John Townsley into a game.)

Franklin is looking to the future. If he really wanted to get the maximum number of wins this season, he'd have let Rodgers get a confidence booster against Presbyterian and he'd have burned the redshirts off a bunch of freshmen. You know, the Robbie Caldwell method. (Instead of starting Jared Funk in a blowout of Eastern Michigan, Caldwell decided to insert him in the game when Vandy had a 14-0 first half lead on the road against Arkansas and Larry Smith looked like RG3.)

Sure, Franklin wants to win now, but in the big picture he wants to build a solid program capable of consistently winning future games and even championships.

In his first season, he inherited an embattled quarterback whose backup was a transfer with no experience. This season, he inherited an embattled quarterback whose backup was a transfer with no experience.

Next season, his most experienced quarterback will once again be a senior transfer with only one partial season of SEC play under his belt. But here's the difference: He'll also have highly regarded redshirt freshman Patton Robinette, as well as a pair of four-star true freshmen quarterbacks, Johnathan McCrary and Chad Kanoff, to groom.

Finally, he'll have something to build on. It will take a couple of years, of course, but by that time our young offensive line, the best class of prospects we've ever signed, will be hitting their stride. Throw in a couple of four-star receivers, a couple of gifted young tight ends, a terrific class of linebackers, a stable of cornerbacks, and some talented edge-rushers and you've got something to work with.

In the meantime, Franklin has the mission of building a winning culture, staying in games against the SEC big boys and hopefully pulling an upset or two, and holding onto all these blue-chip recruits who've verbally committed to him.

As history constantly has shown, as the Vandy coach he'll need more than one experienced quarterback to do that. I think Rodgers gets the start against Georgia. If he does well, and continues to look sharp, then ACS may not be needed the rest of the season. But you can bet we'll need him, at least a little bit, next year. And odds are, we'll need him this year too, and sooner rather than later. 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Northwestern game a must-win for Vandy

Tonight's Northwestern game will be James Franklin's 15th as a head coach, and it's the closest thing yet he's had to a must-win game. 

You could argue that last season's Wake Forest game was a must-win because we needed a sixth win to become bowl eligible. But Franklin already had one more victory than the two previous seasons combined, and he'd secured a positive job evaluation and was building a solid recruiting base. A bowl berth was icing on the cake, but he didn't need it to show he was doing a good job. What he really needs is to show improvement year over year, and now the bar is raised to seven wins.

To get there, conventional wisdom says he must do what he did last season — win all four non-conference games and two SEC games — and then win the bowl game.

With the Presbyterian Blue Hose coming to Nashville next week, UMass entering its first season in the FBS, and Wake Forest squeaking by Liberty 20-17 last week, Northwestern appears by far to be Vandy's toughest non-conference opponent.

Northwestern can beat Vandy. The Wildcats have solid talent, great coaching and they have a way of winning close games regardless of the opponent, something we're still working on.

Right now, Vandy fans are talking about seven or eight wins. We're taking for granted that we beat Kentucky and Ole Miss as we did last year, and that we beat Northwestern and the other three non-cons. And then, because we had so many SEC teams on the ropes last year, we figure we'll get over the hump and beat one or two of our opponents ranked ahead of us in the current polls (including votes received): Georgia, Florida, Auburn, Missouri and Tennessee. (Thank God we don't play LSU, Alabama or Arkansas.)

Picking up these wins is not impossible. We believe those wins will come. But we need them to build on a 4-0 non-conference record and help us move up in the bowl pecking order. And with Texas A&M and Missouri joining the conference, we may need seven wins to even get a bowl bid. Do you really think bowl selection committees are going to take a 6-6 Vandy over a 6-6 Tennessee, 6-6 Florida or 6-6 Auburn, even if we beat them head to head?

Losing to Northwestern puts us in the position of needing one of those signature SEC upsets just to get six wins and then maybe needing another one just to get a bowl bid. 

I believe we win tonight, and when we look back on the season, the Northwestern game will be like last year's UConn game, one we had to dig deep to win, and one that enabled us to gain the momentum and confidence we needed to accomplish our goals.

Let's say Vandy 31, Northwestern 27.

Go Dores!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Message from SC game: "Good days are coming"

Sure, we got screwed by the officials last night on a do-or-die play, and it killed us. If you've been following Vandy football for any amount of time, it was impossible not to feel cursed.

It was a do-or-die play for us, but this was not a do-or-die game for us. James Franklin is building a winning program and it's not a matter of if he's going to knock off a big team but when. He's impatient but he's not desperate.

Listen to what he said at the post-game press conference:

"We gotta learn how to win... We have a blue-collar, fighter’s mentality... (but) we’ve got to find a way to win these close games we haven’t been able to win yet and that’s when we’ll be able to build a culture of winning here."

"That play didn’t define the game. When your opportunity comes you have to make the play. Our margin of error just isn’t that big."
And finally this: "Good days are coming."

That should be our motto and we should repeat it to ourselves this season when things like what happened last night happen. Because they will happen. 

Why do these things keep happening? Because we don't have the talent the other teams have and our margin of error is much lower than theirs. Bad things happened to South Carolina last night, but they overcame those. 

And when your margin of error is much lower than the other team's, then you're not in a position to win consistently and to build a tradition of winning. Right now, James Franklin has the mindset of a winner, which served us well last season, when we beat everybody we should have beaten and scared the daylights out of nearly everybody else. 

Now he's building the talent he needs to compete consistently. He's not doing it fast enough to please himself but he's doing it at a stunning pace. Consider this:

Currently, Vanderbilt has no upperclassmen who received a 4-star rating in high school from any of the top scouting services. 

Counting this year's verbal commitments and Franklin's last two recruiting classes, here's how many 4-star recruits we're looking to have on campus next season:

1. Dillon van der Wal, sophomore tight end
2. Brian Kimbrow, true freshman running back
3. Darreon Herring, true freshman linebacker 
4. Caleb Azubike, true freshman defensive end
5. Andrew Jelks, true freshman offensive tackle
6. Jacob Sealand, true freshman linebacker
7. Stephen Weatherly, true freshman defensive end
8. Jonathan McCrary, prep quarterback
9. Chad Kanoff, prep quarterback
10. Carlos Burse, prep wide receiver
11. Dominic Walker, prep wide receiver
12. Jay Woods, prep defensive tackle
13. Landon Stokes, prep defensive end
14. Mack Weaver, prep tight end/defensive end
15. Nigel Bowden, prep linebacker
16. Ryan White, prep cornerback
17. Tre Bell, prep cornerback
18. Malik Greaves, prep safety

 Amazing, huh? What you're seeing is an influx of talent that has recruiting insiders buzzing. How often in the past has Vandy ever signed a 4-star quarterback, receiver, cornerback or defensive tackle?


It will take a while for this talent to develop. The South Carolina game - and even this season - is not our only hope to produce a winner. It's not do-or-die. It's not a question of if, but a question of when, and I plan to be on board when it happens. How about you?

Good days are coming. Don't forget it.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Tonight not Franklin's best bet for first signature win

This time last season, James Franklin was preparing for his first game as a head coach. He beat Elon, of course, for his first win, and his first home win. Then he beat UConn for his first come-from-behind win. Then he beat Ole Miss for his first SEC win and his first D1 blowout. That season, he would also record his first win as a D1 favorite, against Army, and finally in the last contest of the regular season, his first road victory.

What he still doesn’t have is a signature win. He does have some signature losses – scaring the daylights out of Georgia and Arkansas at home – but those could fall under the category of Same Old Vanderbilt.

So does he get that signature win tonight against South Carolina? It’s possible, but we think other games this season are stronger possibilities.


1. Tennessee in Nashville on Nov. 17: Franklin’s teams last season played significantly better at home, and we think this year the Volunteers are going down. Despite all his talk about one week at a time, you got to believe he's got 11/17 circled on his calendar.

2. Florida in Nashville on Oct. 13: Another home game, and perhaps our best chance to beat the Gators in a long, long time, as they’re still breaking in a quarterback and developing a bunch of young talent.

3. Auburn in Nashville on Oct. 20: Who doesn’t believe we could beat the Tigers at home again? And like in 2008, they’ve got a new QB and a new offensive coordinator.

4. South Carolina in Nashville tonight: The Gamecocks are the best team we’ll face at home.

5. Missouri in Columbia on Oct. 6: Maybe this team will be different, but last year’s Commodores weren’t nearly as tough on the road in the SEC.

6. Georgia in Athens on Sept. 22: We beat Georgia at home when we sneak up on the Bulldogs. This year, they’ve got us circled on their calendar, and they’ve got significantly better talent and a seasoned QB to boot. That doesn’t bode well.


1. Kentucky in Lexington on Nov. 3: The Wildcats are always our best bet for an SEC win.

2. Ole Miss in Oxford on Nov. 10: The Rebels are always our second-best bet for an SEC win.

3. Wake Forest in Winston Salem on Nov. 24: We killed the Demon Deacs last season. A good coach like Jim Grobe doesn’t let that happen two years in a row.

4. Northwestern in Evanston on Sept. 8: The Wildcats were also 6-7, with an 11-point bowl loss to new SEC member Texas A&M. Thank goodness Dan Persa is gone.


1. Presbyterian in Nashville on Sept. 15: Wear your black and gold hose and pull against the Blue Hose.

2. UMass in Nashville on Oct. 27: Brand-new major college team is ripe for the picking.


It should be an interesting season, largely because we play most of our toughest games at home, and the games Vandy fans expect to win but won’t be heavily favored in are all played on the road.

We expect Vanderbilt to win seven games including:

• Two out of six signature wins. Our best guess is wins over Tennessee and Florida, with close home losses to Auburn and South Carolina, a close road loss to Missouri and a not-so-close road loss to Georgia.

• Three out of four wins that Vandy fans expect to win but maybe nobody else does: Our best guess would be rousing road wins over Kentucky, Ole Miss and Wake Forest, but a road loss in the second week of the season to Northwestern.

• Two out of two must-wins: We’ll beat Presbyterian and UMass. Take it to the bank.


• The best: We’re capable of beating any team on our schedule, but I don’t think we’re capable of winning all our games. Even with better athletes and a better frame of mind, we still have to play with an extremely low margin of error in order to win in the SEC. If we catch on fire and our opponents hit some bumps in the road, we could go 10-2 and land in a bowl like the Cotton our Capital One or at the worst the Chick-Fil-A.

• The worst: Looks like 4-8. I think we beat Presbyterian and UMass easily, and I’m counting on at least two out of four road wins over Northwestern, Kentucky, Ole Miss and Wake. But none of our SEC home games are slam dunks. If you think Tennessee is a slam dunk, you haven’t been following Vandy football very long.

Remember, kickoff is at 7 pm Eastern tonight on ESPN. Go Dores!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Yes, we're back for another season!

OK, we're back for another season. Hopefully, Vandy will start kicking people's butts on a consistent basis and the name Moral Victory! will become ironic instead of descriptive.

In case you're wondering, I landed my dream job in May as executive editor of my hometown newspaper and have been busy with that. If I start writing the long, analytical statistics-obsessed stuff that I've done here in the past, then I'm bombing my day job and will soon be living in the library and posting from there.

Tonight let's look at position groups, grouping them into "We're excited," "We're cautiously optimistic" and "We're kind of scared." Notice we're sticking with personnel here. No, I'm really not excited that we named the stadium foghorn "The Admiral." Here we go:


• Running backs: This is easy. The SEC's leading returning rusher (Zac Stacy) plus the fastest true freshman in college football (Brian Kimbrow) plus a healthy Jerron Seymour plus a hopefully healthy Warren Norman plus Wesley Tate suddenly and unexpectedly from the slot.

• Wide receivers: Jordan Matthews had a great preseason camp last season but took some time to get on track; expect him to come blasting out of the gate. Krause looks better than ever, Boyd looks as good as ever, redshirt frosh Jacquese Kirk will come out of nowhere, and Grady and Tate are capable of getting the ball anytime and anywhere. Should be fun.

 • Safeties: If they can stay healthy, Ladler and Marshall make a great combo, and senior Eric Samuels is primed for a breakout season before he rides off into the sunset. And you can expect Andrew Williamson to eventually be the latest 2-star Vandy DB to turn heads on the national stage.

• Punter: Has any punter in America seen more live game action than Richard Kent?


• Quarterbacks: James Franklin has said that QBs make a huge jump from their first season to their second. I've never thought Jordan Rodgers has a cannon, but with the Gamecocks' defensive ends he's not gonna have much time to drop back. Expect to see him throw a lot of screens and short stuff to the likes of Stacy, Norman, Kimbrow, Grady, Tate, Kirk and Kentera. Carta-Samuels should prove to be a capable backup in time, but let's hope he doesn't have to play any meaningful minutes Thursday night.

• Tight ends/fullbacks: Old man Monahan is back for his 17th season and will hold down the fort until van der Wal and Scheu take over. Kentera has made an astoundingly rapid conversion from quarterback and is an intriguing weapon. Lassing and Panu are solid. Lots of stuff to work with here, but as the departed Brandon Barden was prone to point out last season, we're not sure how any of it fits into the game plan.

• Defensive tackles: A nice mix of returning starters/seniors (Lohr/Nichter) and some young talent that's ready to take it to the next level (Morse, Taylor, Dixon). Heck, Taylor and Dixon are 300-pounders. One of Vandy's best D-lines in a long time, but still lacking the size and talent of most SEC teams.

• Defensive ends: One of Vandy's deepest and most versatile collections of ends in a while, but the best one (Azubike) is a true freshman. May and Thomas have starting experience, Woestmann continues to be a nice prospect, and Bryant and Stewart provide depth. Again, an interesting collection of talent, but it will take some time to gel, and does lack the size of other SEC units.

• Cornerbacks: OK, we've got the usual All-SEC candidate (Trey Wilson), the sleeper candidate (Andre Hal), the versatile vets (Foster and Clarke), the redshirted bluechipper (Derek King) and some talented true frosh (Head, McGaster and Banks). It's a nice collection of players, but again, we'll have to wait and see if they can shut down SEC opposition.


• Offensive line: Well, another season, another couple of starting offensive linemen booted off the team. That would be sophomores Mylon Brown and Logan Stewart. Junior Wesley Johnson is a rock here, and with senior Ryan Seymour forms a solid left side. Sophomore Spencer Pulley is the big question mark at center, and Josh Jelesky and Andrew Bridges are proving to be fast learners but maybe not fast enough. We'll see.

• Linebackers: We like Garnham at middle linebacker and Barnes outside, but wish we had some bigger boys at backer. The other starter and his backup (Butler and Franklin) are really safeties. The best one of the bunch (Herring) is a true freshman. Depth is coming from three more true freshmen (Sealand, Thomas and Harper), a walk-on (Williams), and the longsnapper (East). We could use engineer DeAndre Jones about now. In a couple years, this could be the strength of the team. But for now, these guys will be hanging on for dear life.

• Kickers: The good news is that Spear and Fowler staged a fierce competition, in the placekicking department but the bad news is that neither one emerged as the clear favorite. For now, we'll keep holding our breath.

It's good to be back. Let me know what you want to read about here.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Vanderbilt spring football preview: A pair of quarterbacks become receivers, Mylon and Brady say goodbye — and everything's open to the public

Here are some headlines as Vandy enters spring practice tomorrow. You won’t find these in the Tennessean, because the only reporter apparently allowed to think about the Commodores is in New Mexico right now covering our SEC championship basketball team.

You may remember that we had a whopping five scholarship quarterbacks on the roster last season, including three true freshmen – Lafonte Thourogood, Josh Grady and Kris Kentera. At the end of the season, during Liberty Bowl practice, coach James Franklin announced that Thourogood was moving to running back. Yesterday, he announced that Grady’s moving to slot receiver and Kentera’s moving to H-back/tight end. Recent signee Patton Robinette will likely redshirt while Jordan Rodgers and Austyn Carta-Samuels duke it out for the starting QB job, which means Grady would be the emergency No. 3 QB and will probably see some wildcat duty too. Franklin said Thourogood’s a big athlete who’s still looking for the right position, and that both Grady and Kentera needed to get on the field right away and would be competing for starting positions.

Zac Stacy was a workhorse last season, and he could be doing it again in his senior season. That’s because both Warren Norman and Jerron Seymour are expected to miss most or all of spring practice with injuries. Norman, the 2009 SEC Freshman of the Year, sat out last season with injury and redshirted, while Seymour played injured and spelled Stacy. The other running backs on the spring depth chart are Thourogood, who may or may not be a running back, and somebody named Hasan Clayton, a walk-on listed on the roster as a cornerback. Of course, true freshman Brian Kimbrow, the highest Vandy recruit ever, will arrive in the summer but at last glance weighed 165 pounds and will not be an every down back.

Sure, six fine-looking recruits will report for spring practice, but pickings are slim in the meantime. Rising junior Mylon Brown, a 300-pounder who started part-time last season, has been dismissed from the team. To make matters worse, stalwart guard Ryan Seymour and part-time starter Chase White will also miss spring while rehabbing injuries. Franklin hopes Wesley Johnson can play at his natural position, left tackle, this season, but that depends on whether Spencer Pulley can become the new center. (Starting center Logan Stewart, you may remember, was dismissed from the team at the end of last season.) Franklin said Pulley has never played center, but that he’s a solid kid and good leader and the kind of player and person, at least on paper, that you’d like to have at center. We’ll see. We’re betting this experiment is a success.

Receiver Brady Brown, to our knowledge the highest rated receiver that Vandy’s ever recruited (yes, even higher than Earl), has left the team for personal reasons, Franklin said. We’re guessing that one of those “personal reasons” might be that he was never going to see the field. From the moment he set foot on campus, Franklin was saying he didn’t want possession receivers, and used Brown as an example of the kind of receiver he didn’t want. Ouch.

Meanwhile, some other players who’ve received limited or no playing time early in their careers – and who we’ve speculated might transfer elsewhere if they want to see some playing time – are still on the roster. That includes offensive lineman Grant Ramsay, slot receiver Trent Pruitt, and defensive end Thomas Ryan.

We won’t be seeing Mason Johnston on the field for the Commodores for a long time, if ever. The rising redshirt junior, who we’ve speculated is finished playing because of serious and persistent leg injuries, is listed on the roster as a non-participant and medical redshirt. We’re guessing he’s done, but the terminology leaves hope that he might have a six-year career like fellow tight end Austin Monahan is having.

By my count, Vandy is two scholarships under the limit, even if Johnston does remain on scholarship. Take him away, and the Commodores have room for those three guys transferring from Maryland – all-star quarterback Danny O’Brien, offensive tackle Max Garcia and linebacker Mario Rowson. Just saying. We think O’Brien would immediately step into the starting job, and Garcia would start in 2013 when he became eligible to play and would give our bumper crop of linemen more time to develop. And five of our linebackers in 2013 will be starting their second year as either sophomores or redshirt freshmen, so we could use some experience there too. We don’t think all those guys will end up as Commodores, but O’Brien’s still a strong possibility. Franklin can’t talk about prospects, but he repeatedly said that he was always trying to improve the talent level. In fact, he used that tone of voice he uses when he’s speaking in code. Like when he said, “I have great respect for COACH RICHT,” meaning that he hates Todd Grantham’s guts, or “I was really impressed with the enthusiasm and support from the fans at TENNESSEE,” meaning that our fans suck.

Grant Ramsay’s our starting left guard? Walk-on John Townsley has moved from quarterback to wide receiver and is starting ahead of Jordan Matthews? Walk-on Hasan Clayton is listed ahead of superstar recruit Lafonte Thourogood at tailback. WTF? Actually, Franklin ranks players on the spring depth chart according to seniority. You know, so players will get the message that every position is truly up for grabs.

As expected, the following players have graduated and left school with one year of eligibility remaining: Receivers John Cole and Akeem Dunham, defensive end Dexter Daniels, defensive tackle Taylor Loftley, linebackers DeAndre Jones and Al Owens, running back Micah Powell, offensive lineman Caleb Welchans and walk-on receiver Jamison Sackey.

The following players are listed as having already graduated but are returning for a final year of eligibility: DT Cole Nichter, QB Jordan Rodgers and LB Tristan Strong. The following players are returning for a fifth year and will give graduation the old college try: LB Archibald Barnes, OG Josh Jelesky, DT Rob Lohr, TE Austin Monahan and DE Johnell Thomas. Austin Monahan hasn't graduated yet? We figured he'd be a doctor by now.

These players are listed as having already graduated, though they haven't completed their third year of college yet: RB Zac Stacy, CB Trey Wilson and S Eric Samuels.

Franklin announced that, “upon further notice,” all Vandy practices will be open to the public, at least until reporters start writing about the new schemes and trick plays he’s installing. Franklin’s doing a masterful job so far of changing the story of Vandy football, and he’s also doing a masterful job of dictating this story to the media. Here’s Vandy’s practice schedule:
• Opening practice at 4:15 on Friday.
• Saturday practices at 10 a.m. through April 17.
• Tuesday practices at 4:15 through April 10.
• Thursday practices at 4:15 through April 12.
• Black & Gold Spring Game at 6 p.m. on April 14.

Go Dores! Beat Harvard!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Vandy uses up its last scholarship — at least for now

Our recent reconnaissance of the signing day war room depth chart revealed that Vanderbilt had filled 84 scholarships, with one left to give.

There were two candidates:
• Cornerback Anthony Standifer, who didn’t commit anywhere on signing day and was scheduled for a campus visit to Vandy, Pittsburgh and Ole Miss.
• Maryland quarterback Danny O’Brien, a James Franklin protégé, whom everybody assumed would transfer to Vandy if Randy Edsall would grant him permission to do so.

Since then, Standifer committed to Ole Miss and Edsall graciously reconsidered – or did damage control after getting blasted by every media outlet known to man – and allowed O’Brien to transfer to Vandy after all.

But the other day the Commodores offered the remaining scholarship to kicker/punter Colby Cooke, who was going to grayshirt but who will now enroll in school in the fall. That means Vandy now has four kickers on scholarship, placekickers Carey Spear and Ryan Fowler and punter Richard Kent. Sure, that’s a boatload of kickers, and Cooke may still redshirt, but considering last year’s performances by Spear and Fowler, we need him available.

So what about O’Brien? Don’t worry, if O’Brien and Franklin both want the transfer to happen, we’ll find scholarship room. This time last year, in Franklin’s first spring, three rising sophomores – Charlie Goro, Blake Southerland and Blake Gowder – were cleared from the roster for the usual variety of reasons, including injury.

Here’s a look at how our 85 scholarships are currently allotted:

1. Jordan Rodgers, R-SR
2. Austyn Carta-Samuels, R-JR
3. Josh Grady, R-FR
4. Kris Kentera, R-FR
5. Patton Robinette, FR

1. Zac Stacy, SR
2. Warren Norman, R-JR
3. Jerron Seymour, SO
4. Lafonte Thourogood, R-FR
5. Brian Kimbrow, FR

1. Brady Brown, R-JR
2. Wesley Tate, R-JR
3. Jonathan Krause, JR
4. Jordan Matthews, JR
5. Chris Boyd, R-SO
6. Trent Pruitt, R-SO
7. Jacquese Kirk, R-FR
8. Cory Batey, FR
9. Tip McKenzie, FR

1. Austin Monahan, R-SR
2. Fitz Lassing, JR (also fullback)
3. Dillon van der Wal, SO
4. Darien Bryant, R-FR
5. Steven Scheu, R-FR

1. Josh Jelesky, R-SR
2. Ryan Seymour, R-SR
3. Mylon Brown, R-JR
4. Wesley Johnson, R-JR
5. Andrew Bridges, R-SO
6. Grant Ramsay, R-SO
7. Spencer Pulley, SO
8. Chase White, R-SO
9. Joe Townsend, SO
10. Jake Bernstein, R-FR
11. James Lewis, R-FR
12. Jose Valedon, R-FR
13. Adam Butler, FR
14. Blake Fromang, FR
15. Barrett Gouger, FR
16. Will Holden, FR
17. Andrew Jelks, FR
18. Kevin McCoy, FR

1. Rob Lohr, R-SR
2. Colt Nichter, R-SR
3. Jared Morse, JR
4. Vince Taylor, R-SO
5. Barron Dixon, SO
6. Conor Hart, R-FR (also offensive lineman)
7. Torey Agee, FR
8. Ladarius Banks, FR

1. Johnell Thomas, R-SR
2. Walker May, R-JR
3. Thad McHaney, R-JR
4. Thomas Ryan, R-SO
5. Kyle Woestmann, R-SO
6. Jimmy Stewart, R-FR
7. Caleb Azubike, FR
8. Stephen Weatherly, FR (also linebacker)

1. Archibald Barnes, R-SR
2. Tristan Strong, R-SR
3. Chase Garnham, JR
4. Karl Butler, JR (also safety)
5. Larry Franklin, R-FR (also safety)
6. Harding Harper, FR
7. Darreon Herring, FR
8. Jacob Sealand, FR
9. Ja’Karri Thomas, FR

1. Eddie Foster, SR
2. Trey Wilson, SR
3. Steven Clarke, JR
4. Andre Hal, JR
5. Derek King, R-FR
6. Brandon Banks, FR
7. Paris Head, FR
8. Torren McGaster, FR

1. Eric Samuels, SR
2. Javon Marshall, R-JR
3. Kenny Ladler, JR
4. Jahmel McIntosh, R-FR
5. Andrew Williamson, R-FR

1. Ryan Fowler, R-SR (placekicker/punter)
2. Richard Kent, R-SR (punter)
3. Carey Spear, JR (placekicker)
4. Colby Cooke, FR (placekicker/punter)

1. Andrew East, R-SO (also linebacker)