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Northwestern releases depth chart for Week 1 vs. Purdue

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Some interesting omissions and notes on the two-deep.

Michigan State v Northwestern Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Here it is. Northwestern released its two-deep for the season-opener in West Lafayette.

As expected, Clayton Thorson and TJ Green are listed as the starting quarterbacks with Pat Fitzgerald refusing to play his hand before Thursday night. The biggest surprise on offense is the inclusion of redshirt sophomore Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman on the first team. He gets the nod with Riley Lees, Jelani Roberts and Kyric McGowan on the second-team. Jace James figures to be in the mix as well.

On the defensive side of the ball, it will be Blake Gallagher starting alongside Paddy Fisher and Nate Hall. As a true freshman, Gallagher recorded 33 tackles as a second-team linebacker. Fred Wyatt makes the switch back to the interior after beginning the 2017 season as a defensive end. Mike Hankwitz loves to situationally substitute his defensive line, so look for Earnest Brown IV and Trent Goens early and often.

In the secondary, Alonzo Mayo and true freshman Greg Newsome II get the second-team nod at cornerback over Roderick Campbell. JR Pace will get the start alongside Jared McGee, and they’ll be backed up by senior Joe Bergin and redshirt freshman Bryce Jackson.

The true freshmen listed on the two-deep are right guard Sam Stovall and Newsome.

Injuries are purely speculation at this point, but James Prather may still be recovering from an arm injury that was first reported in Kenosha. Notably, Solomon Vault is not listed at wideout or kick returner, where he has excelled in his career. Vault missed the 2017 season after undergoing lower-body surgery. Jalen Brown is still injured, according to the Chicago Tribune. Travis Whillock should be in the mix for the starting safety role next to McGee, so his absence from the two-deep is a bit concerning. The program will release an injury report later this week, which may, but may not, shed some light on these omissions.

As for special teams, Charlie Kuhbander will kick and graduate transfer Jake Collins will punt, as expected.

Week 1 Depth Chart

Position First Team Second Team
Position First Team Second Team
Quarterback Clayton Thorson or TJ Green Aidan Smith or Andrew Marty
Running Back Jeremy Larkin John Moten IV
X-Receiver Ben Skowronek Riley Lees
Y-Receiver Flynn Nagel Jelani Roberts
Z-Receiver Ramaud Chiaokhiao-Bowman Kyric McGowan
Superback Cameron Green Eric Eshoo
Left Tackle Blake Hance Gunnar Vogel
Left Guard J.B. Butler Cam Kolwich
Center Jared Thomas Nik Urban
Right Guard Tommy Doles Sam Stovall
Right Tackle Rashawn Slater Jesse Meyler
First Team Second Team
Defensive End Joe Gaziano Earnest Brown IV
Defensive Tackle Jordan Thompson Fred Wyatt
Defensive Tackle Alex Miller Ben Oxley
Defensive End Samdup Miller Trent Goens
SAM Linebacker Nate Hall Chris Bergin
MIKE Linebacker Paddy Fisher Nathan Fox
WILL Linebacker Blake Gallagher Peter McIntyre
Cornerback Montre Hartage Alonzo Mayo
Safety Jared McGee Bryce Jackson
Safety JR Pace Joe Bergin
Cornerback Trae Williams Greg Newsome II
First Team Second Team
Placekicker Charlie Kuhbander Drew Luckenbaugh
Punter Jake Collins Cody Gronewold
Kick Returner John Moten IV Flynn Nagel
Punt Returner Riley Lees Flynn Nagel
Long Snapper Tyler Gillikin Peter Snodgrass
Holder Jake Collins TJ Green
Kickoff Specialist Charlie Kuhbander Drew Luckenbaugh