Charlie Weis is set to kick off his second season as the head football coach at the University of Kansas. Heading into this season the big story is obviously the massive roster turnover. From the start Charlie Weis thinned out the herd so to speak and has rebuilt the Jayhawk football team through transfers and junior college players. Weis will now face the task of integrating the infusion of more ready made talent with the talent that was retained from the originally inherited roster. It's an approach that will look to swing the Jayhawks fortunes on the field a little more quickly.
With so many changes over the last 12 months, what might the Kansas football depth chart look like when camp gets started on Wednesday? That's a tough question, but we're going to give it a run. We'll keep this top level for now and dive deeper into each position as camp progresses.
Quarterback - Jake Heaps
This is an easy one. Heaps transferred to Kansas to start and that's exactly what he's going to do this year. Now we're just all holding our breath that this isn't Dayne Crist 2.0, fortunately I think Heaps is already starting from a better place in his career.
Running Back - James Sims, Darrian Miller
Sims has earned the starting spot here based on his production during his career and his continued effort during the offseason. Don't count Miller out though. Miller was turning heads at Butler and receiving early attention from some notable programs. He beat out Sims for a time as a true freshman and he's a pretty dynamic back. Managing this one two punch is not a bad problem to have.
WR - Tony Pierson
Pierson is going to move out of a traditional running back role from what we can gather and integrate more into the passing game and allow him an opportunity to work in space. This has a chance to be a great move for Pierson and a big weapon for Heaps.
WR - Justin McCay, Christian Matthews, Rod Coleman, Tre Parmalee
The other two receiver spots might be the more difficult to project. Justin McCay looked pretty solid during the Spring and will likely start camp at one spot. Rod Coleman is reporting this week and has the talent to move into a top spot but he might not start there. Christian Matthews is a player that we heard about during the Spring and throughout his career but he hasn't quite hit it off with this new staff entirely. Parmalee is another interesting candidate to watch. If I'm putting money on it today it's McCay at one, Parmalee at the other?
Tight End - Jimmay Mundine
This has been another offseason where we hear the praises of Mundine but this time he seems like he might have a head on his shoulders to match his ability. Mundine seems to have a little more maturity about him as he enters his junior year. This could be a huge asset for Heaps.
OT - Aslam Sterling, Riley Spencer, Pearce Slater
Weis wants Sterling to move into the left tackle spot and newly signed Pearce Slater to take the other spot. At this point Kansas is still waiting on the development of others and these two are monsters. The staff is still waiting on Slater to report officially, but if he does Kansas has a pair of giants as bookends. Riley Spencer is your wild card but we have yet to see a healthy Spencer for an entire season.
OG - Mike Smithburg, Randall Dent, Ngala Fusimalohi
Smithburg and Fusimalohi were brought in because they have the ability to step in and play right away. Dent made some very positive strides last year and perhaps the increased competition can continue to progress his development.
C - Dylan Admire
Admire seems like the heir apparent here. Smithburg could slide inside if Weis feels more comfortable with the guard situation and wants to move a more experienced player to the center spot.
DE - Jordan Tavai, Andrew Bolton
Tavai is the known product on campus, Bolton is expected to report Wednesday an provides another legitimate option with NFL size. Depending on your set these are the guys playing an end spot in a 3-4 type set, a strongside type end in a 4-3.
Buck - Ben Goodman, Michael Reynolds.
This is where the loss of Chris Martin hurts. Goodman has really improved, we keep hearing what Reynold could become. Bottom line Martin was ready to take on this role, unfortunately he won't be so Kansas will need these other two to step up. My money is on Goodman early.
DT - Marquel Combs, Kevin Young
Combs was brought in as the top junior college player in the country and a difference maker at tackle. Young will be a senior.
DT - Keon Stowers, Ty McKinney
Stowers has had a great first year and a half at Kansas and is developing nicely. He's also turned into a bit of a leader and a positive influence for the team. McKinney finally made it to Lawrence a year later but he has the opportunity to work into this role as well.
LB - Jake Love, Samson Faifili
Love was a wrecking ball last year and fun to watch. Samson is supposed to be a larger version of that. It's going to be a fun competition to watch during camp.
LB - Ben Heeney, Schyler Miles
This is likely Heeney's spot, but Miles isn't going to lie down and depth is important. Also, does Darius Willis reappear? There has been some talk that he's made some major improvements.
LB - Courtney Arnick, Victor Simmons
At this point it's pretty clear that something is wrong with Michael Jenkins-Moore and we shouldn't expect him on day one due to injury. Arnick turned a lot of heads during Spring ball, Simmons is entering year two at the position. This is by far the toughest spot to project at the moment.
CB - Dexter McDonald, Kevin Short, JaCorey Shepherd
Short is waiting on one class. If he reports you've got three solid options that can compete. If Short is missing we're down to two guys that most of the focus will revolve around.
S - Cassius Sendish, Isiah Johnson, Tevin Shaw, Greg Allen
Sendish was a representative at media days. Take that as a pretty strong indicator as to what he's done during his short time in Lawrence. Johnson is a junior college addition, Shaw and Allen were part of Weis' initial recruiting class and two players he was very high on.
It's early, if last year was any indication Weis will use the initial depth chart as a motivator and also as a way to give repetitions to guys that the staff hasn't had a chance to fully evaluate. These are the guys that we'd hope to see on the field if things kicked off tomorrow, but a lot can change. Who are the sleepers? Who might not show up on the initial depth chart as a motivating factor? It's a simple piece of paper, but when football teams release the depth chart it makes for some pretty good conversation during the early part of camp.