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August 15, 2005

Inside Miami: A depth chart breakdown

CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE LATEST DEPTH CHART

The CaneSport.com staff project how the Hurricanes' roster is shaping up in this pre-season look at the depth chart.

QUARTERBACKS
How many: 5
How many with starting experience: 0
Comment: Kyle Wright is the starter with Kirby Freeman his backup. Both are highly talented and were top recruits out of high school. The other three are walk-ons: Trey Burklin is currently third team with freshmen Jorge Fernandez and Matt Perrelli also on the roster.

RUNNING BACKS
How many: 9
How many with starting experience: 1
Comment: Fullback Quadtrine Hill is the only returner with starting experience. Tyrone Moss is the anticipated starter at tailback this year, and last year he backed up Frank Gore. Moss has lost weight this year and the slimmed-down version of the back looks explosive. Hill is talented as a blocker and pass catcher. There's quality depth here with fullback James Bryant, who has shown himself as a huge force opening holes in practices, and redshirt freshman tailback Derron Thomas and sophomore Charlie Jones. Thomas is currently the second-team tailback. George Timmons is inexperienced after moving from DB, fullback Jean Volcy is a walk-on, Jerrell Mabry is a freshman fullback and tailback Andrew Johnson is coming off knee surgery.

RECEIVERS
How many: 8
How many with starting experience: 4
Comment: There's plenty of experience and talent here. Lance Leggett started the final six games last year, Darnell Jenkins started two, Sinorice Moss started four, and Ryan Moore started two. The current first-teamers are Moore, who dazzled in the spring and is playing well this fall, and Moss, who has shown off his tremendous speed in two-a-days. Expect Leggett to get tons of time in games as the Canes will rotate in and out and use three-wide sets. Jenkins is also a weapon. Other receivers are speedster Terrell Walden, a converted CB, redshirt freshman Khalil Jones and junior Akieem Jolla, who is having a strong fall. Eric Marino is a walk-on here.

TIGHT ENDS
How many: 4
How many with starting experience: 2
Comment: Greg Olsen started two games when the team opened with two-tight end sets last year. Even though he was Kevin Everett's backup and missed time with a wrist injury, Olsen showed flashes of why coach Larry Coker calls him the nation's best tight end. Look for big things from him this season. Buck Ortega started the Peach Bowl last year with Greg Olsen and Kevin Everett injured, and he is a quality No. 2 receiving tight end. Chris Zellner has showed some good things after moving from DE in the spring. DajLeon Farr is a true freshman who is working on improving his route-running.

OFFENSIVE LINE
How many: 21
How many with starting experience: 5
Comment: The five players who started games last year and return are Rashad Butler, Tyler McMeans, Derrick Morse, Tony Tella and Eric Winston. But Morse (shoulder) and Tella (ankle) are currently out. Coach Larry Coker has already said Morse will miss the FSU game, and Tella also may not be ready by then. The current first-teamers here are, from left to right, Winston, McMeans, Anthony Wollschlager (he surpassed Tyrone Byrd Aug. 15 as the first-team center), Andrew Bain (with Tella and Morse out) and Butler. The main depth here comes from Byrd, Chris Rutledge and Cyrim Wimbs. Others hoping to step up: Dave Howell, Alex Pou, John Rochford and Jonathan St. Pierre. Of freshmen Chris Barney, Matt Pipho, A.J. Trump and Reggie Youngblood, it appears Trump is best positioned for immediate playing time -- the team needs depth at center and guard, which is where Trump is playing. Walk-ons are Chris Napoli, Adam Bates and Jonathan Teske.

DEFENSIVE LINE
How many: 16
How many with starting experience: 5
Comment: Returners with starting experience include Baraka Atkins, Thomas Carroll, Orien Harris, Javon Nanton, Bryan Pata and Kareem Brown (who started briefly last year due to injuries). The first-teamers here right now are Harris and Atkins at tackle, and Carroll and Pata at end. There's tons of quality depth across the line. Talented young ends include Calais Campbell, Rhyan Anderson and Eric Moncur, and tackles Antonio Dixon, Luqman Abdallah and Joe Joseph are also playing well. Joseph, Abdallah and Dixon are battling Brown for the third and fourth tackle spots. Others hoping to make an impact along the line are tackle Dwayne Hendricks and end Vegas Franklin along with true freshman Courtney Harris. Tackle Teraz McCray will miss the season due to injury.

LINEBACKERS
How many: 12
How many with starting experience: 6
Comment: There is tons of experience here. Jon Beason took over as the starting strongside linebacker for the final month of last season; Glenn Cook made two starts; Romeo Davis started twice; Tavares Gooden started nine games; Roger McIntosh started nine games before a back injury sidelined him; and Leon Williams started five games. Add in talented redshirt freshman Willie Williams and talented true freshmen Spencer Adkins, Eric Houston, Darryl Sharpton and Demetri Stewart, and this is a solid, solid group. Willie Cooper is also hoping to find room here. The current starter on the weakside is Jon Beason, who is backed up by Willie Williams. At middle linebacker Romeo Davis recently moved ahead of Leon Williams, but this is still a battle. The strongside will be a battle between McIntosh and Gooden when both are healthy - they missed the start of fall drills due to injury. With them out, Cook has worked with the first team.

DEFENSIVE BACKS
How many: 15
How many with starting experience: 6
Comment: Kelly Jennings returns after starting every game last year at cornerback, and he's as solid as they come. On the other side Devin Hester and Marcus Maxey are battling, and both started four games last year. Hester is currently behind Maxey on the depth chart, as Maxey has enjoyed a strong spring and fall. At safety, Brandon Meriweather started seven games last season, Anthony Reddick started six games as a true freshman, and Greg Threat started 11 of the team's 12 games. Threat is currently playing in a reserve role, with Reddick and Meriweather performing well as the first-teamers. Providing cornerback depth are true freshmen Randy Phillips and Bruce Johnson. Safety depth comes from Kenny Phillips, who has been an interception machine this fall in practices, Rashaun Jones and Lovon Ponder. Cornerbacks Glenn Sharpe and Carlos Armour will miss the season with torn ACL's. Walk-on Joe Tolliver is also working here. Tanard Davis has returned to the team after considering a transfer, and he provides cornerback depth.

SPECIALISTS
How many: 7
How many with starting experience: 2
Comment: Punter Brian Monroe and placekicker Jon Peattie both return and are proven. Monroe will also handle kickoffs. Walk-ons are Ross Abramson, Grant Brown, Chandler Cleveland, David Strimple and Francesco Zampogna. Mark Gent is on scholarship as the backup kicker.

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