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Northwestern football depth chart: Final fall camp projection

After Saturday's scrimmage, and based on everything we have heard over the past few months, here's how we see Northwestern's depth chart heading into the Stanford game — pending a starting quarterback decision of course. The program usually releases an official two-deep during game weeks, so this will be our final full update until then.

Depth Chart

Players with a * beside their name have injury concerns. See notes at the bottom.

Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Quarterback Clayton Thorson/Zack Oliver Clayton Thorson/Zack Oliver Matt Alviti
Running Back Justin Jackson Warren Long Auston Anderson/Solomon Vault
H-Receiver Solomon Vault Stephen Buckley Jelani Roberts
X-Receiver Cameron Dickerson Pierre Youngblood-Ary Macan Wilson
Y-Receiver Christian Jones Flynn Nagel Jelani Roberts
Z-Receiver Miles Shuler Mike McHugh Andrew Scanlan
Superback Dan Vitale Garrett Dickerson Jayme Taylor
Left Tackle Geoff Mogus Blake Hance Tommy Doles
Left Guard Ian Park Adam DePietro Sam Coverdale
Center Brad North Ian Park Jared Thomas
Right Guard Shane Mertz Connor Mahoney Matt Frazier*
Right Tackle Eric Olson Tommy Doles Kenton Playko
Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Defensive End Dean Lowry Joe Gaziano Trent Goens
Defensive Tackle C.J. Robbins Tyler Lancaster Ben Oxley
Defensive Tackle Max Chapman Jordan Thompson Greg Kuhar*
Defensive End Deonte Gibson Ifeadi Odenigbo Xavier Washington
SAM Linebacker Drew Smith Joseph Jones Tommy Vitale
MIKE Linebacker Anthony Walker Cameron Queiro Nathan Fox
WILL Linebacker Jaylen Prater Nate Hall Brett Walsh*
Cornerback Matt Harris Keith Watkins Parrker Westphal
Safety Traveon Henry Kyle Queiro Jared McGee
Safety Godwin Igwebuike Terrance Brown Jake Murray
Nickel Cornerback Keith Watkins Parrker Westphal Montre Hartage
Cornerback Nick VanHoose Marcus McShepard Alonzo Mayo
Special Teams
Starter/1st String Backup/2nd String Sleeper/3rd String
Kicker Jack Mitchell Matt Micucci Mason Weissenhofer
Punter Hunter Niswander Matt Micucci Mason Weissenhofer
Kick Returner Solomon Vault Miles Shuler Jelani Roberts
Punt Returner Solomon Vault Miles Shuler Flynn Nagel
Long Snapper Chris Fitzpatrick Brad North Ian Park


- The coaches haven't ruled Matt Alviti out of the QB competition, but based on what we saw Saturday, it's tough to envision him starting against Stanford. But Thorson or Oliver? It's anybody's guess.

- The running back depth chart is very fluid. Justin Jackson is a true starter, but after him, there are no true second- or third-stringers. All of Warren Long, Auston Anderson and Solomon Vault should touch the ball. Right now though, my money would be on Long getting the second most carries after Jackson.

- Wide receiver is still up in the air. For example, although we like what we've seen from Jelani Roberts, it's tough to put him ahead of a guy like Stephen Buckley. But just because a player is listed third at a wide receiver position does not mean he will not see the field.

- Matt Frazier is out indefinitely after having a staph infection over the summer. If/when he returns, there's a chance he could reclaim one of the guard spots. But for now, he is out of the picture. Shane Mertz has solidified himself at right guard in Frazier's absence.

- Greg Kuhar is still working his way back from a torn ACL late last season. His status for the Stanford game remains up in the air. When he returns to full health, he would likely jump ahead of Jordan Thompson, and perhaps Max Chapman as well. Regardless, there will be a rotation at defensive tackle, and Kuhar will be a part of it when he returns to full strength.

- There's a lot of fluidity at linebacker too. For example, Cameron Queiro has supposedly been in the competition for the WILL linebacker role, but saw plenty of time in the middle Saturday. Jaylen Prater does seem to have separated himself as the starter at WILL though.

- At defensive end, Saturday's scrimmage featured true freshman Joe Gaziano starting over sophomore Xavier Washington, a contributor last season. Fitzgerald mentioned Gaziano on Thursday as one of the freshmen who has impressed the most during training camp.