I have an archive of every Big 12 team (and 50 or so other programs) depth charts over the last few seasons. I update them throughout the offseason and can now also look back at my own recruiting evals for those teams to see what I made of various depth chart climbers when they were coming out of high school.
There’s always a few surprises when the week one depth charts come out though and some updates and tweaks to be done. Here are my impressions of some of the week one depth charts we’ve seen around the Big 12 today, in bullet form.
The Baylor Bears
- It sounds like Davion Hall and Taion Sells are both hurt, but it’s not really shocking that some upstarts would take over the Baylor safety depth chart. Rhule wants guys that can play man coverage in the mix while “box safeties” tend to fill out the OLB spots in nickel and dime. This is even less shocking when you consider that Travon Blanchard is still not back with the team.
- KJ Smith is going to play 3-technique tackle again this season rather than strong side end like I had assumed. At 6-1, 260 he’s pretty quick and useful in there but he’s hardly a dominant tackle or what Rhule is going to want to feature in that role in the future. I wonder how often he’ll actually play DE in a 3-2-6 dime.
- The CB position looks a bit iffy. I guess Vaugh is hurt, potential NFL DB Chris Platt is apparently over on offense still, and a true freshman (Harrison Hand) is listed here. This could be the undoing of their defense this season.
- I doubt Zach Smith sticks around. Anu Solomon is a one-year patch while they develop for the future, which I believe is Charlie Brewer. I don’t see much of a future for Smith at Baylor.
- Rhule still has Feuerbacher out at TE along with Ish Wainwright and then some fullbacks he’s developing in Kyle Boyd and Dru Dixon. I’ve gone back and forth on whether we’ll see the “revenant” offense this year but I think they’ll utilize it if they feel they can. It could be one of their best hopes to catch some uppercuts on B12 foes.
- Rhule is going with his own guys. Converted TE at starting LG, true freshman at center, New Jersey boys cropping up at key positions like CB and RB. Seven years, guaranteed money, he’s going to take his time and not put up with anything from the Briles’ boys if they don’t fit the plan.
The Oklahoma Sooners
- The biggest shocker was seeing Ceedee Lamb as a starting X receiver and kick returner. I evidently likened him to Michael Crabtree and am curious if they think he can be the feature of the passing game or just the best adjunct to an attack built around Mark Andrews and/or Jeffrey Mead.
- The defense sure looks thin down mainstreet right? I know I keep harping on this but when you see the crucial 3-technique position backed up by a true freshman, the middle linebacker spot manned by a true freshman, and then the first responder free safety spot manned by a converted nickel it raises questions.
- I was corrected recently for listing Ben Powers and Dru Samia as the starting guards, told that Cody Ford would be starting. Well, so far it looks like it’ll be Samia. I’m not sure what that means because I don’t know Ford’s skill set well.
- Parnell Motley impressed in the spring game and apparently continued to do so because he’s starting over Jordan Parker at cornerback. The OU CB tandem looks like the best they’ve had since 2015 when Jordan Thomas played opposite Zach Sanchez. That tandem played behind a good pass-rush though, this tandem will need something similar.
The Kansas State Wildcats
- Nothing shocking at linebacker with veterans Trent Tanking, Sam Sizelove, and Jayd Kirby in the top three slots while backed by younger, more athletic options. Snyder prefers consistency so this is no shock. We don’t know which guy comes off in nickel though, or I don’t at least.
- Johnny D in the nickel! The former Aledo CB alarmed some K-State fans by playing first team CB in the 2016 spring game only to be replaced by DJ Reed in the season. I thought Johnny Durham’s future needed to be inside in the nickel and now he’s there, competing with Cre Moore. I’m curious to see how he does.
- Denzel Goolsby wins the SS job. That means that the dreaded space triangle of outside-backer, nickel, and strong safety could be staffed by Johnny D, Sam Sizelove, and Denzel Goolsby. Is that trio athletic enough to hold up?