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Northwestern football depth chart: Summer Guide projections

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Here's how we see the Wildcats' depth chart headed into training camp.

So we've come to the conclusion of our Summer Guide. Over the past month, our goal has been to give you an overview of the state of Northwestern's current roster headed into the 2015 season. If you've missed any of our content, whether it be positional previews, our most important player countdown, or breakout player predictions, you can find everything here.

To tie a bow on everything, it's now time for our projected depth chart. We must remind you, of course, that this is anything but official. It is our educated guess as to how things stand headed into fall camp. And even if we had all the necessary information to correctly slot starters and reserves into their places, it's also still only July.

A lot can and will change between now and the season opener against Stanford on Sept. 5. We'll update our projections after Big Ten Media Days, which are July 30 and 31, and again as things play out during training camp, which opens August 9. For now, though, this is what we have.

As opposed to previous depth charts, where we were content to use "AND" or "OR," or a "/" to signify position battles that were up in the air, or to signify rotations, we've decided to be more definitive with these projections, even if it means we had to include some guesswork.

The best examples are at quarterback and running back. Unless you've been living under a rock for six months, you're probably aware that the quarterback job is a three-way competition. However, we believe that Thorson is the favorite in the race, so we've listed him as the starter. And because Alviti could see the occasional snap even if he doesn't win the job outright, we've listed him second.

At running back, each one of Justin Jackson's three "backups" will have his own role in the offense. Warren Long will be the short yardage guy. Auston Anderson will be the big-play threat. Solomon Vault will be the receiver out of the backfield. But we've listed Anderson second because we believe it's his role that will be the second biggest.

There are also some positions where the depth chart is either very fluid or a total crapshoot. At wide receiver, things are still very much up in the air, and on the offensive line, not only are there still position battles, there are even some players, like Geoff Mogus or Shane Mertz, who don't have their position classifications set in stone. The outside linebacker projections are also still very rough.

Also notice that some players are listed at multiple positions. For example, we've listed Mogus as the starter at left guard, but also the backup at left tackle. The idea there is twofold. First of all, there is a chance Mogus starts at left tackle. But secondly, if Hance were to win the job, but then go down with injury, there's a chance Mogus would slide over to tackle, and the backup left guard, Adam DePietro, would take the starting spot.

With all that being said, here's how we see the depth chart, as of July 19:

Offense

Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Quarterback Clayton Thorson (RS Fr) Matt Alviti (So) Zack Oliver (Sr)
Running Back Justin Jackson (So) Auston Anderson (RS Fr) Warren Long (Jr)/Solomon Vault (So)
H-Receiver Solomon Vault (So) Stephen Buckley (Jr) Jelani Roberts (Fr)
X-Receiver Cameron Dickerson (Sr) Pierre Youngblood-Ary (Sr) Austin Carr (Jr)
Y-Receiver Christian Jones (Sr) Flynn Nagel (Fr) Macan Wilson (So)
Z-Receiver Miles Shuler (Sr) Mike McHugh (Jr) Andrew Scanlan (Jr)
Superback Dan Vitale (Sr) Garrett Dickerson (So) Jayme Taylor (So)
Left Tackle Blake Hance (RS Fr) Geoff Mogus (Sr) Tommy Doles (RS Fr)
Left Guard Geoff Mogus (Sr) Adam DePietro (Jr) Connor Mahoney (Jr)
Center Brad North (So) Ian Park (Jr) Jared Thomas (Fr)
Right Guard Matt Frazier (Sr) Shane Mertz (Sr) Sam Coverdale (So)
Right Tackle Eric Olson (Jr) Tommy Doles (RS Fr) Shane Mertz (Sr)

Defense

Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Defensive End Dean Lowry (Sr) Xavier Washington (So) James Prather (RS Fr)
Defensive Tackle C.J. Robbins (Sr) Max Chapman (Sr) Fred Wyatt (RS Fr)
Defensive Tackle Greg Kuhar (Jr) Sean McEvilly (Sr) Tyler Lancaster (So)
Defensive End Deonte Gibson (Sr) Ifeadi Odenigbo (Jr) Max Chapman (Sr)
SAM Linebacker Drew Smith (Sr) Cameron Queiro (RS Fr) Tommy Vitale (Fr)
MIKE Linebacker Anthony Walker (So) Jaylen Prater (Jr) Nathan Fox (Fr)
WILL Linebacker Brett Walsh (So) Nate Hall (RS Fr) Joseph Jones (Jr)
Cornerback Matt Harris (Jr) Parrker Westphal (RS Fr) Kyle Queiro (So)
Safety Traveon Henry (Sr) Kyle Queiro (So) Terrance Brown (Jr)
Safety Godwin Igwebuike (So) Kyle Queiro (So) Jared McGee (RS Fr)
Nickel Cornerback Keith Watkins II (So) Parrker Westphal (RS Fr) Alonzo Mayo (Fr)
Cornerback Nick VanHoose (Sr) Marcus McShepard (So) Keith Watkins II (So)

Special Teams

Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Kicker Jack Mitchell (Jr) Mason Weissenhofer (Fr) Arthur Omilian (Sr)
Punter Hunter Niswander (So) Matt Micucci (Jr) Mason Weissenhofer (Fr)
Kick Returner Solomon Vault (So) Miles Shuler (Sr) Jelani Roberts (Fr)
Punt Returner Solomon Vault (So) Miles Shuler (Sr) Jelani Roberts (Fr)
Long Snapper Chris Fitzpatrick (Jr) Brad North (So) Ian Park (Jr)