Prepare to hear the name Zimbalist Odhams a lot Saturday. Well, actually, I guess we don’t want to hear his name much since he plays cornerback.
I bring up the 5’9”, 146 pound freshman transfer from Southwestern Oklahoma State for the simple reason that he’s the guy that’s #2 on the first depth chart release of the year behind Tre’Vius Hodges Tomlinson.
And if that has you saying “huh”, you’re not the only one.
Now, the first depth chart of the year — especially ahead of an FCS opponent — doesn’t necessarily mean all that much, but Friday morning’s late released version does point out some areas of concern.
For one, Noah Daniels, he of the unsaid off the field issue that led to him being escorted to class earlier this week, does not appear on it. Neither do Khari Coleman or Wes Harris, both expected starters who will miss the game due to injuries. Former defensive star turned WR Marcel Brooks makes the two deep, backing up Quentin Johnston, so we should get a good long look at one of the more intriguing prospects on that side of the ball Saturday night. Flanking QJ is Savion Williams, who beat out Quincy Brown at X, with sophomore Blair Conwright taking the reigns over Geor’Quarius Spivey and D’Andre Rogers — two tight end prospects who appear poised to play the Pro Wells role this fall — and Derius Davis earning the start over Taye Barber and JD Spielman. Gary Patterson has raved about D Davis this fall, but it’s a little shocking to see Spielman third string.
That’s a really young, but really talented WR corp that I can’t wait to see in action.
With Harris out, John Lanz and Coy McMillon start at guard this weekend, and a pair of second year players with incredibly high ceilings — Brandon Coleman and Garrett Hayes — are backing them up. Carter Ware starts at tight end, no surprise, but Jaspar Lott earning third string honors is certainly interesting.
We were told Matthew Downing would be the second string QB and that is the case, but the Frogs went ahead and listed four on the depth chart with Chandler Morris and Sam Jackson both making the cut. Looks like we won’t see Alex Honig this fall.
Zach Evans will miss the first two series Saturday for a minor team infraction, but all four running backs are co-starters Saturday anyway, and I bet we get OR OR OR all season. I expect Emari Demercado to get the first snap, Kendre Miller to have the most yards, and the stadium to explode when Daimarqua Foster makes his return to the field from injury. Zach will be the man by week two, though.
Spielman will be the leader for kick returns and split time in the punt game with Derius Davis, who was absolutely electric last season on special teams.
Defensively, Dylan Horton steps into Coleman’s vacated role, and apparently was vying for the starting job before Khari got dinged up. True freshman Landyn Watson, who has been impressive, will back up Horton, and I am super excited to see him play. Earl Barquet gets the start over the injured Terrell Cooper, who is listed as the third stringer but not expected to play. Corey Bethley returns to action and will be backed up by Kenny Turnier or Soni Misi, both of whom have impressed. Expect to see a lot of rotation on the interior line throughout the season, as it might be the deepest unit on the team.
At linebacker, Shad Banks backs up Dee Winters, and he’s a guy a lot of folks can’t wait to see in action. Wyatt Harris does indeed earn the nod over Jamoi Hodge at SLB, but I imagine we will see quite a bit of both. Zach Marcheselli is the third string — he came in with a ton of promise and it’s exciting to see him hit the field Saturday.
Safety is another area where there was a ton of competition, and I personally can’t wait to see Bud Clark as the starter at free. Equally as exciting is the emergence of Michael Onyemaobi as his backup; after years of dealing with a near career-ending injury, Yo-Yo making the two deep is a massive accomplishment and I hope he gets a chance to put some good film on tape this weekend. LVZ starts at SS as expected, backed up by talented and experienced Josh Foster. At weak, TJ Carter and Nook Bradford continue to battle it out for the starting job and get the dreaded OR as to who will be first on the field Saturday night. Both Free and Strong Safety have true freshmen at third string, with Da’Veawn Armstead and D’Arco Perkins McAllister making the initial release.
If you want to be concerned, well, hang out in the cornerback section of this release.
THT? Great. Don’t want to see him on the field much.
After him? Oh my.
CJ Ceasar had a strong finish to 2020 and more than earned the chance to start Saturday night because of it. Behind him, sophomores Keontae Jenkins and Donavann Collins have the chance to make their case for more PT when the competition ramps up. Behind Tomlinson are two freshmen: the aforementioned Odhams and Ahmonte Watkins, neither of whom have an FBS snap on their resume. GP has insisted that Carter won’t get moved to CB, but if Noah Daniels remains out, it’s hard to see him not moving a guy who has played that position a ton at the collegiate level and hasn’t been able to snatch away a starting safety job from Nook to this point. And TCU fans shouldn’t have any problem with Nook being the guy at WS, as he’s been pretty damn awesome the last couple of seasons when called upon.
Ultimately, this is just game one, and I expect several changes ahead of Cal. But it’s a great opportunity to see some young guys in action and get to know some new names.
Plus, I am totally rooting for Zimbalist Odhams to get a pick.
Here is the offensive and defensive depth chart in its entirety: