What does first Texas Tech football depth chart reveal?

AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Trevor Walker
AUSTIN, TX - NOVEMBER 24: Trevor Walker /

Monday, the Texas Tech football team released its first depth chart of the season.  Let’s take a look at what we learned and what we still do not know.

Texas Tech football is now only four days away and Monday’s release of the season’s first depth chart only adds to the anticipation for the opener against Ole Miss.  But while the depth chart provides some insight about the team, it still leaves the biggest question of 2018 unanswered.

At the quarterback position, one will find all three starting candidates’ listed in order of seniority.  That puts McLane Carter first on the depth chart which is fitting because he is the overwhelming favorite to start against the Rebels.

While the quarterback competition has been the most discussed position battle, another interesting race has been taking place right next to the quarterbacks.  Sophomore running back Da’Leon Ward and senior running back Tre King have been competing for the starting job and it looks like that honor will go to Ward.

This development further’s the feel-good narrative of Ward’s return to the team following his suspension for all of 2017.  It is a nice nod to the work Ward has done but expect both running backs to be huge factors this week and if King proves to be the more effective back, he could wind up shouldering more of the load.

Another position battle on offense was waged at left guard where junior Madison Akamnonu has beaten out redshirt freshman Dawson Deaton.   Akamnonu started the first two games of 2017 at left tackle and the final ten games at left guard but coming out of the spring, Deaton was listed as the starter.

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Deaton will still be a critical member of the offensive line as he could be the first man off the bench should either of the starting guards or tackles go down.  Akamnonu, who has 19 starts in two years was a four-star recruit out of high school who has been inconsistent at times.  Still, he is big and athletic, traits that will serve him well as the Red Raiders look to increase the physicality of the o-line this year.

One interesting note at the receiver position comes at the “X” outside receiver spot where Antoine Wesley and De’Quan Bowman are both listed as starters.  What is a bit surprising is seeing the 5-foot-11 Bowman listed as an outside receiver as it was presumed he would be a candidate to replace Keke Coutee at the all-important “Y” inside receiver spot.

The other starting receivers are T.J. Vasher, Zach Austin and Ja’Deion High.  But with no proven commodities outside of Vasher, look for players like Seth Collins, Dalton Rigdon and true freshman speedster KeSeasn Carter to all see the field this week.

On the other side of the ball, the most intrigue has come at the corner back spot following the loss of presumed starter Octavious Morgan for the season to a knee injury.  Junior Desmon Smith, an Odessa native, is currently listed as the starting corner opposite sophomore Damarcus Fields.

Smith was competing with a host of players for that job including Douglas Coleman, Adrain Frye, John Davis Jr. and recent Texas transfer John Bonney.  All could fill important roles for Texas Tech this year and defensive back depth will be important against an Ole Miss team that has the best wide receiver group in the country.

Along the defensive line, senior grad transfer Preston Gordon is listed as the starting defensive tackle next to team captain Broderick Washington.  This is the spot vacated by the graduation of Mych Thomas and many thought that sophomore Joe Wallace would claim this job.

But the former Rice Owl, Gordon, has earned the nod perhaps because of the experience and leadership he could bring to a still young defensive line.  But expect to see Wallace as well as Nick McCann to also be part of the rotation that will take on a massive Ole Miss offensive line.

One notable omission from the depth chart, which lists the first and second-teams, is junior defensive end Lonzell Gilmore.  After putting on over 20 pounds of muscle following an injury-shortened 2017, many expected to see the freakishly athletic pass-rusher play a huge role this year.

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But Gilmore finds himself behind starter Eli Howard, who led Tech in sacks with 5.5 last year, Quentin Yontz and redshirt freshman Nelson Mbanasour.  However, this does not mean that Gilmore will not be on the field in passing situations.  His omission is likely a motivational tactic or could be the result of the coaches recognizing the work of Yontz or Mbansour by giving them the recognition of being on the two-deep.