As promised, USF coach Skip Holtz made some changes in his first depth chart, which was released Monday afternoon.
The most significant came in moving sophomore Lindsey Lamar, who spent last year and the early part of the spring at running back, to wide receiver, Holtz said after practice.
“I feel like we’ve got to turn and get him in space a little bit more,” Holtz said of Lamar, who runs a 4.3 40-yard dash and is a standout track and field athlete. “When you look at his size, I don’t know if he’ll be able to hold up at the running back position … (Monday) was his first day (at receiver). I think he has a chance to learn (wide receiver) and be an addition out there with his speed.”
Lamar, listed as a second-string receiver, joins sophomore Sterling Griffin as the top backups, while seniors A.J. Love and Dontavia Bogan are listed as starters.
Lamar’s position change opens up new opportunity at running back, where sophomore Demetris Murray, who rushed for a touchdown in USF’s first scrimmage on Saturday, is listed as the primary backup to senior Mo Plancher, who was granted a sixth year of eligibility.
Sophomore Isaac Virgin, who played tight end last year, is now second-team fullback behind senior Richard Kelly. Holtz also surprisingly listed sophomore Jeff Hawkins as first-team tight end over senior Andrew Ketchel, who played last season.
“Our tights ends and fullbacks are kind of interchangeable in what we do,” Holtz said.
Along the offensive line, seniors Jamar Bass and Jake Sims are first-team tackles, sophomore Jeremiah Warren and junior Chaz Hine are listed as first-team guards and senior Sampson Genus is listed as the starting center. Sophomore Mark Popek, who started five games last season, moved to left tackle.
“Those guys are really starting (to) solidify themselves as starters,” Holtz said of the first-team offensive line. “We have a handful of guys competing for those spots – that fifth spot when you look at left tackle … (Bass and Popek) are even right now.”
Defensively, sophomore Jon Lejiste moved in front of junior Jerrell Young as first-team strong safety. As expected, junior Quenton Washington and sophomore Kayvon Webster are first-string cornerbacks.
“… Kayvon Webster and (Quentin) Washington have kind of separated themselves. Those two have a chance to be really good corners,” Holtz said.
Seniors Craig Marshall and David Bedford hold the starting defensive end positions, which opened after Jason Pierre-Paul and George Selvie – two of the best players in USF’s history – left the program. Senior Terrell McClain and junior Keith McCaskill are listed as the starting tackles.
Sophomore Ryne Giddins, one of USF’s highest-rated recruits in school history, and junior Patrick Hampton are second-string ends.
At linebacker, senior Jacquian Williams is listed as first-team strongside linebacker, sophomore Sam Barrington is first-string middle linebacker, and senior Sabbath Joseph is first-string weakside linebacker.
“Our front seven is probably the thing I’m most encouraged about,” Holtz said. “It has depth. We’re nowhere near ready to play a game, but there are 12 guys to rotate on the defensive line. I’ve never had that many competing to be in the two-deep.”
Holtz said sophomore Maikon Bonani and senior Eric Schwartz are “neck and neck” at kicker – even though Schwartz, who filled in last season after Bonani sat out with injury, is listed as the starter.
“They kick every single day in a competition,” Holtz said. “We chart everything. I go in there and look at it after practice, and there’s about a one-kick difference every day between the two of them. I put Schwartz up because he’s a senior, but it’ll be a heck of a competition for both of them.”
Sophomore Justin-Brockhaus Kann is the No. 1 punter.
“You’re beginning to see what the picture is going to look like,” Holtz said. “It’s a long way from done. Everybody has a chance to change where they are right now.”
Former USF players to participate in Pro Day
Several former USF players will have a chance to impress NFL scouts at 1 p.m. today at USF’s Pro Day held in the USF Soccer Stadium.
Notables expected to compete are quarterback Matt Grothe, kicker Delbert Alvarado, receiver Carlton Mitchell, cornerback Jerome Murphy, Pierre-Paul, Selvie and linebacker Kion Wilson.
Players will complete 40-yard dashes and timed agility and position drills.