With kick-off only 49 days from now, I thought it would be a good time to start looking at what our football team is going to look like this year. Now that we finally have an official roster to look at, I was going to take a shot at a depth chart for each of our positions, starting with the QBs and RBs tonight.
QB is pretty simple. Our starter from day 1 has been Matt Johnson. He had his ups and down in year one but that was to be expected with a QB in his 1st season of college football. Johnson ended the season with 2581 yards passing, 21 TDs, and 12 INTs. He also rushed for 418 yards and 3 TDs. I am looking forward to seeing how much he has improved after an offseason in the weight room and watching college film. His development this year is very important if he is to be our QB going into C-USA in 2015.
Johnson’s back-up last year was Lee McNeill. In limited time he completed 6 passes for 37 yards and 1 TD. He will likely continue as Johnson’s back-up in 2014. Not returning from last year is 3rd string QB Patrick OBrien who transferred back to UNCP.
Incoming freshman Brooks Barden is a highly touted QB from Cartersville, GA. He enrolled in the Spring and participated in the April Spring Game but did not complete a pass. Barden will likely use this year as a Red Shirt unless there are injuries.
8 Matt Johnson – RS-SO
5 Lee McNeill – RS- SO
12 Brooks Barden – FR
At Running Back, the Niners return leading rusher Kalif Phillips who had 716 yards and 12 TDs in 2013. Phillips had shoulder surgery after the season and was not healthy enough to participate in the Spring game. He will be the starter if healthy. The second leading rusher from last season, Alan Barnwell was dismissed from the team after his arrest in the offseason. The Niners lose his 636 yards and 5 TD.
Without Phillips and Barnwell, Demarrell Alexander and Jachin Watkins led the 49ers rushing attack in the Spring Game. Alexander (R-JR) looks to be the front runner to start the season as Phillip’s back-up. He had 280 yards and 1 TD last season. Watkins sat out last year as a RS, but worked with the H-backs last year. Will he stay with the RBs and compete for the #2 spot or go back with the H-backs in 2014? He’s listed as an H-Back on the current roster.
Also returning from last year is RS Soph Donjore Gainey. He was the scout team RB last season, playing in 3 games and gaining 55 yards. RS-SR Quintin Gay also returns to add depth.
A big question with the RBs is if incoming Freshman Maetron Thomas from Stockbridge, GA will challenge for playing time right away or will he red shirt in 2014? The staff would probably like to RS him as long as Phillips is healthy. There was also talk of red shirting true freshmen from last season. Phillips could be a candidate for that, especially if his shoulder is not 100%.
3 Kalif Phillips – SO
32 Demarrell Alexander – R-JR
17 Jachin Watkins – RS-FR
22 Donjore Gainey – RS- SO
30 Quintin Gay – RS-SR
23 Maetron Thomas – FR