Northwestern football wrapped up its spring Saturday with a crisp indoor practice. It was the final of 15 spring sessions for the Wildcats, though only two of the 15 were open to media, and none were open to fans (due to weather).
We gave you our observations from practice on April 2 and April 9. The following depth chart reflects what we saw at practice, what we already know, what we've heard throughout the spring, and any other pertinent information.
That being said, it is still nothing more than an educated guess at how things stand several months away from the season. Plenty will change between now and September; injuries will take their toll; players will separate themselves from others.
As of now, here's how we see things:
Incoming freshmen are only listed to fill in numbers where necessary. Notes and explanations are below.
|1st string||2nd string||3rd string|
|Quarterback||Clayton Thorson||Matt Alviti||Lloyd Yates/T.J. Green|
|Running back||Justin Jackson||Warren Long||John Moten|
|X-receiver||Austin Carr||Andrew Scanlan||Jelani Roberts|
|Y-receiver||Solomon Vault||Flynn Nagel||Cam Green|
|Z-receiver||Marcus McShepard||Charlie Fessler||Steven Reese|
|Superback||Garrett Dickerson||Jayme Taylor||James Prather|
|Left tackle||Blake Hance||Ben Oxley||Sam Coverdale|
|Left guard||Connor Mahoney||J.B. Butler||Andrew Otterman|
|Center||Brad North||Jared Thomas||Ian Park|
|Right guard||Ian Park||Shane Mertz||Graham Bullmore|
|Right tackle||Eric Olson||Tommy Doles||Adam Lemke-Bell|
|1st string||2nd string||3rd string|
|Defensive end||Ifeadi Odenigbo||Trent Goens||Tommy Carnifax|
|Defensive tackle||Jordan Thompson||C.J. Robbins||Jake Saunders|
|Defensive tackle||Tyler Lancaster||Fred Wyatt||Greg Kuhar|
|Defensive end||Xavier Washington||Joe Gaziano||Heath Reineke|
|SAM linebacker||Joe Jones||Jaylen Prater||Josh Roberts|
|MIKE linebacker||Anthony Walker||Cameron Queiro||Nathan Fox|
|WILL linebacker||Nate Hall||Brett Walsh||Tommy Vitale|
|Cornerback||Matthew Harris||Trae Williams||Alonzo Mayo|
|Safety||Godwin Igwebuike||Jared McGee||Tommy Odell|
|Safety||Kyle Queiro||Jake Murray||Parrker Westphal|
|Cornerback||Keith Watkins||Montre Hartage||Roderick Campbell|
|1st String||2nd String||3rd String|
|Kicker||Jack Mitchell||Mason Weissenhoffer||Matt Micucci|
|Punter||Hunter Niswander||Matt Micucci|
|Kick returner||Solomon Vault||Jelani Roberts||Auston Anderson|
|Punt returner||Matt Harris||Jelani Roberts||Marcus McShepard|
|Long snapper||Chris Fitzpatrick||Holder||Hunter Niswander|
- We put Austin Carr as a starter out wide rather than in the slot, and while he is probably the most likely of Northwestern's slot receivers to be able to handle that shift, he's still a better fit inside. It wouldn't be at all a surprise in four wide receiver sets for Northwestern to leave Vault or Nagel off the field, even if they are perhaps better overall wideouts than either Scanlan or Fessler. Scanlan seems to be in the second spot of true outside receivers behind McShepard. It also wouldn't be a surprise to see one of the true freshman wide receivers sneak into the rotation, but it's difficult to project any of them in there just yet.
- The offensive line is hard to pin down. Three of the starting spots are locked up with Hance at one tackle spot, Olson at the other, and Mahoney in at one of the guard spots. Ian Park is likely going to start, the question is if he will go to guard or center. If he's at guard, North would probably start at center, and if Park is at center, Mertz and North would battle for that spot.
- The third running back spot is still a competition and will continue to be fought for through the fall, but Moten appears to be the leader for now. That isn't to say that Anderson won't ever see the field, but Moten looks comfortably ahead right now to our eyes.
- It's a little unfair to list any of Robbins, Thompson, or Lancaster as backups, as all three will be rotated early and often. Those three are competing for two spots and while we have Thompson and Lancaster on top, Robbins is a de facto third starter. It also wouldn't be at all surprising to see Robbins or Thompson in at defensive ends in certain situations. Northwestern is going to need those three guys in as often as possible.