The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs released their week one depth chart on Tuesday in advance of their opener against Northwestern State. We know J’Mar Smith is the starting quarterback, but who else will get the start for the Dawgs?
Redshirt sophomore J’Mar Smith at QB is no surprise. His backup will be Weston Elliot, a sophomore JUCO transfer from Blinn College. No third string QB is listed, although there are a few others on the roster. Skip Holtz has been known to use three QBs in blowouts, so if it gets to that point it will be interesting to see if someone else takes the field.
The starting offensive line looks like this: at RT, senior Gewhite Stallworth, 6-8 320; at RG, RS junior Shane Carpenter, 6-6 309; at C, RS sophomore Ethan Reed, 6-4 295; at LG, junior O’Shea Dugas, 6-5 329; and at LT, RS senior Joshua Outlaw, 6-6 305. Two seniors at tackle, juniors at guard, and a sophomore center. It should be noted that the backups do not include any seniors, so this offensive line should be mostly intact next season, as well.
Tech doesn’t list a tight end in the depth chart. As for running backs, no surprises there. Seniors Jarred Craft and Boston Scott are back in the same roles as last year, with Craft starting and Scott coming in relief. Jaqwis Dancy is also listed as the third string back.
La Tech lists four wide receiver positions, and this is the position I was most interested in seeing. Junior Teddy Veal, senior Marlon Watts, sophomore Alfred Smith, and junior Kam McKnight are listed as the starters. It should be noted that Skip Holtz noted other receivers will get playing time, as well. Adrian Hardy, Rhashid Bonnette, Marcus Gaines, and DeJuawn Oliver are listed as backups. Javonte Woodard and Cee Jay Powell are also listed as third stringers. Holtz stated that he doesn’t expect just one or two receivers to dominate the statsheet like Taylor and Henderson did, but he did note that Veal could be the main target.
All in all, the Tech offense has plenty of new faces that will be debuting, but there’s talent here. The key will be putting it all together and being on the same page. Listing four wide outs shows that despite the loss of last year’s quarterback and dynamic receiving duo, Holtz still plans to run a spread offense and throw the ball, even if not quite at the same level as last year.
No real surprise at defensive line, which is expected to be the best part of this defense. 6-5, 255 RS junior Jaylon Ferguson and 6-2, 261 senior Deldrick Canty will start at defensive end. At defensive tackle, 6-2, 284 junior Jordan Bradford and 6-3, 290 sophomore Ka’Derrion Mason get the start. The depth chart goes three deep at both ends and one tackle, going two deep at the other tackle position.
Russell Farris and Brandon Durman will start at linebacker. Farris, the lone returning starter, is a senior coming in at 5-11, 224. Durman, 6-2, 224, is a junior. Each has one backup listed.
Three safeties are listed, although here I should make a note. Secdrick Cooper will be the lone returning starter from the secondary, but he is currently not listed. He’s been out with an injury that occurred in camp. Holtz said that he’s day-to-day, and they hope to have him back by game time, but for now he’s not listed. In his place, Elliot Blankenship, Darryl Lewis, and DaMarion King will start. Blankenship and King are seniors, while Lewis is a sophomore. I would also note that sophomore L’Jarius Sneed, who played corner last year, has moved to safety behind Lewis.
At corner, junior Trey Spencer will start on one side, with Amik Robertson on the other. Robertson was a name who’s place on the chart I was very interested in. Robertson, if you recall, is the player that committed to Tech, decommitted, received P5 offers to include LSU, but then recommitted to Tech. He will start at cornerback as a true freshman, and I am excited to see how he performs.
Two other top DB commits, JaCorion Andrews and Jaiden Cole, did not make the depth chart, but they should provide quality defense in years to come.
We see that La Tech will be utilizing a 4-2-5 nickel base defense, which should be a good fit for the Dawgs. Raw talent at DB and a thin linebacking corps coupled with a league that likes to air it out makes this a good call. We’ll see how it works out.
Senior Jonathan Barnes is back at kicker, and will handle kickoff duties. Aussie junior Davan Dyer will start at punter. Sophomore JUCO transfer Brady Farlow will be the back up to both Barnes and Dyer.
The deep snapper will be a name Tech fans may recognize. Cameron Linck, who was a pitcher for the Tech baseball team, is listed as a graduate and will start for the football team. Freshman Reeves Blankenship will back him up. Will Parker will start at holder, with Davan Dyer behind him.
Trent Taylor and Carlos Henderson didn’t just torch defenses as receivers, but also as returners. Who is taking those jobs? For punt returns, Teddy Veal will be the man, with backup corner Michael Sam as the backup. Kickoff returns will come from Rhashid Bonnette and Boston Scott.
So there you have it. The 2017 Bulldogs are ready to go! Above are the names you should know if you plan on keeping up with Louisiana Tech this season. We’ve made it through the long offseason, and it’s almost time for some football in the Joe.