Hot off the presses, here’s your official Game Week depth chart for Maryland:
Kyle Porter OR Chris Warren
X Wide Receiver
Dorian Leonard OR Lorenzo Joe
Z Wide Receiver
John Burt OR Jerrod Heard
H Wide Receiver
Reggie Hemphill-Mapps OR Lil’Jordan Humphrey
Tristan Nickelson OR Denzel Okafor
“Big” Defensive End
Taquon Graham OR Jamari Chisholm
“Slightly Less Big” Defensive End
P.J. Locke III
The Backup Punter
It’s a testament to how highly the coaches think of Kyle Porter that he’s atop the RB depth chart despite missing over a week of contact with his shoulder injury. Herman praised Chris Warren in the presser, but I suspect that the staff feels like Porter could be our most consistent back in the face of potentially choppy blocking. And reading between the lines, the staff seems to expect some choppy blocking given our situations at tight end and right tackle.
Hopefully not actual chop blocks, though - that’s a penalty.
Wide receiver is interesting - on the BC Unplugged Podcast we’d theorized some slot receiver run for Lil’Jordan Humphrey as a way to get him on the field given the crowd at outside receiver, and it looks like that’s coming to pass. Devin Duvernay’s raw speed is tough to keep off the field, but his less-than-refined route running looks to have pushed him outside and opened the door for camp star Reggie Hemphill-Mapps to star in the slot.
After drawing rave reviews during the first half of camp, Jerrod Heard seems to have come back to the pack and blocking is the most likely culprit. John Burt’s hands will determine whether he gets to shine or rides pine.
Tight end should be very interesting to watch on Saturday. Skepticism of grad transfer Kendall Moore looks to have been well-justified. Herman talked up a bulked-up Garrett Gray and praised Cade Brewer’s expertise in the offense after coming from a similar system at Lake Travis...but I’ll believe that they can handle angry 230+ pound dudes when I see it happen. Unless Herman is pulling a fast one, it seems like he’s planning to force his preferred 11-personnel identity on the offense and see if his Island of Misfit TE’s can sink or swim. If they’re sinking, we’ll see how long it takes this team to be base four wides. Reese Leitao will be in the mix at some point, but his early-season suspension obviously complicates matters.
No real surprises on the OL or across the defensive side. It’s encouraging that Jamari Chisholm has at least forced his way into OR status on the defensive front. From the presser it sounded like Andrew Fitzgerald’s Mystery Leg Injury wasn’t season-ending, so that’s good news. Hearing half a peep from D’Andre Christmas or Chris Daniels at some point certainly wouldn’t go amiss.
Herman sounded less than enthused about his depth at linebacker, particularly inside where he said he’s got three guys for two spots. Gary Johnson is my dark horse to lead this team in tackles by season’s end.
Our frontline talent in the secondary is diiiiiirty, but things could get dicey fast with a couple of injuries - which is honestly true everywhere on the squad. But with any luck, this team is ready to give hurt a lot more often than it gets hurt.
What are your two-deep deep thoughts as we gear up for Maryland?