This how I view the 2-deep if the season started today instead of training camp. This was put together with things we have heard from folks close to program, things Coach Petrino said at media days and a bit of the eye test from last year.
Seems like somethings in life are certain. As a Vandal fan QB competition is one of those things. Sometimes its good, sometimes it is bad. Last season was first time since 2017 season we didn’t have a QB Competition. Beaudry was the pen in starter. Coach Petrino has been open this year senior Mike Beaudry and Freshman Caleb “CJ” Jordan will compete again.
We have seen
Linehan beat out Challich
Linehan beat out Luton
Petrino beat out Richardson x 2
Who wins now?
The main thing for this position is finally having “the guy” and that guy staying healthy.
I would be remise, as a noted Nikhil Nayar fanboy to not say, “Don’t Sleep on Nayar!”
Logan Kendall, no question. Guy is All-Big Sky and possibly All-American. If he goes down the name to know is most likely Trase Letexier a transfer from Montana that can play some Tightend as well.
The myth, the man, the make Calin Criner breakdance, Aundre Carter has found himself back on the official roster. A happy site for many Vandals. I gave him the nod at starter. There is a lot to consider here though. We don’t know how fit he stayed while away and if he lost a step. I will give him benefit of the doubt right now.
It wont matter much as we really have so many solid options to carry the rock. Sophomore Nick Romano continues to impress, Redshirt Junior Roshaun Johnson has ability to close out a game, incoming freshman Elisha Cummings shows promise and should see some snaps, Redshirt Freshman Kiahn Martinez could have breakout year and what most of you are here for Redshirt Sophomore Zach Borisch is back in the RB room.
Though I expect Borisch to be a bit of Taysom Hill type. Just get him ball, whether it is RB, QB, TE, WR or KR, the guy is a W E A P O N.
It is odd to say we are stacked at a position, when our offense has been anemic at best at times. But we have had a lot of new talent come in. Picking this position is a crap shoot. For instance I have Cutrell Haywood listed as a 2. That probably wont be the case, this group is just going to be a heavy rotation.
Jermaine Jackson our speedster from College of Mateo that went out after only a few very promising plays to start the season should be back.
Then you have All-Big Sky Hayden Hatten returning. Also, Some younger guys that show promise Beachem, McCormick, Puffer and Noil.
You could get dizzy keeping track of who is on the field at this position group.
I am gonna be honest here, and shame on me. I am 5-foot-5 and the furthest thing from an offensive lineman. I know zero of the dudes in the trenches. I was a running back/linebacker in my youth and a cornerback in reality in high school.
Here’s what I know about the offensive line: Mathew Faupusa, Darius Archie and Logan Floyd were my picks last year and are my picks again this year.
I would expect Harwood to utilize the free year of eligibility and 4 game redshirt as he is the future. But if Chad Bagwell is healthy, I think this is his position to lose.
The real battle is at the LT spot. we have a few options to work through like, Carnahan, Transfer Straly and some younger guys like Abe Christensen, Eldride and Guzik.
Petrino spoke highly of Jory Dotts as being a mean son of a gun. I expect him to get reps with the free eligibility.
Rinse and repeat from the spring. Rufai, Crawford and Kim should be the guys. But we will have a rotation here utilizing guys like Nate Degraw and Noah Elliss.
Malakai will be interesting to watch as well.
Lets address the ELLISS in the room…. Okay, bad pun. That is the only bad thing about this section. Look losing Christina Elliss to the NFL is obviously a loss. But it is no secret, JUNIOR Tre “8 ball” Walker is larger than life right now. Tre Walkers accolades read:
2019 HERO Sports All-American Sophomore, 2nd Team All Big Sky
2020 Spring: 4 (Hero, STATS, AP, Phil Steele) 1st All-American honors, AFCS 2nd team All-American, 10th in Buck Buchanan award, 1st team All-Big Sky
2021 preseason: Big Sky defensive player of the year, Hero Sports Top Linebacker in country, Buck Buchanan watchlist, multiple 1st team All-American honors.
Starting the 5th paragraph, Tre Walker has been in all five. However, he is not alone. remind Christian Elliss struggled with injury a bit last year. Which allowed guys like Sully Shannon, Derek Tommasini, Hogan Hatten to really get a run. In fact the latter is where I’m the most worried to have left off the 2-deep. Hatten played in all 6 games last year. This group should really be a 3 deep.
Leo Tamba will “back-up” Tre, But in his time her, Leo has played in 88.88% of the games. He is slept on by even die hard vandals.
Tanner Brooks will be a Redshirt Freshman this season. When he showed up in 2019, Tanner was 6-4 224lbs. He is now 274lb. Want a name poised to explode off the page? #14 Tanner Brooks will have an impact shortly. Maybe I jumped the gun putting him in 2-deep over Hatten this season, But Christ all-might, he pops off depth chart at you.
Fa’avae Fa’avae may have “under preformed” by expectations i put on him last season. That said joining a program in middle of pandemic, playing in all six games and having a Root Sports player of the week game with 18 tackles vs SUU. I feel safe to say he was still highly productive and will take another step forward.
Akanno spent most of the spring trying to shake the rust from 2019 season. He showed flashes of his old self. We know that old self, is a potential All-American.
Look coach Petrino love Tommasini. I truly think that is the guy that will step into that lineup. But guys like Shannon, Hatten and Coleman will probably get looks.
The Back End
We got athletes. Safety vs Corner is a feeling for me.
Yes, we had a terrible secondary last season. Some of that is talent, some of this is the Big Sky conference is an air-out league.
Though we were bad Im still giving the incumbents their jobs back to start camp. Hoover and Dedmon are leaders in the locker room.
This could be my bias. I want Zamajay to be the savior of this secondary. I want another Keo. I am a Seahawks fan. Nothing is more fun than a lights out secondary. Zamajay Duncan is one of our highest recruits ever! I tampered my expectations and put him in the nickle spot for year uno.
Transfer are key to turn this group around short term. We brought in Jeremiah Salaam from Kent State. And yes Kent State might lose to half the Big Sky, why do you think he bounced? He played in 21 games in two season and we need experience. Also, balls.
Another transfer KJ Jarrel looks positioned to win the SS spot. The Sun Devil transfer has a very high ceiling and seems to be quick to the ball. One of those athletes I mentioned at the top, athlete, could easily play corner as well.
Parker and Jones could also make some noise.
*** As always I”m not an journalist so, take your gramatical error comments, & put them in a beg some-Where. Hope you enjoyed the content regarless if you maid it too dis disclaimer