By: Ryan Roberts
On Monday afternoon Scott Satterfield and his staff released the first unofficial depth chart for the 2023 season.
The Bearcats kick their season off this Saturday, September 2nd, at 3:30 against the Eastern Kentucky Colonels.
Here are my takeaways from the first depth chart release:
It's no surprised that Emory Jones opens the season as QB1. The redshirt senior has the most experience, something that Scott Satterfield values, and is the most talented player on the roster for the position. The surprise is the ascension of Brady Lichtenberg to take over the QB2 role. Lichtenberg has a solid camp and was able to get some reps with the first team to boost his confidence.
Corey Kiner was arguably the most talented back on the team last season but couldn't put together enough consistency to take over the starting role that he will see this season. With Myles Montgomery getting reps as a 1B, this is truly a thunder and lightning duo. Montgomery is an explosive back, similar to Jerome Ford, that can take it the distance at any point with a little bit of room. Kiner is small in stature but physical and runs extremely hard. Both should thrive in this outside zone scheme.
Gavin Gerhardt is the lone returning starter not just on the line, but the entire offense. Luke Kandra (Louisville) and Deandre Buford (Kentucky) both bring experience from the P5 level and should form a solid duo on the right side of the line. All reports suggest that John Williams had a great showing at Camp Higher Ground and he has earned the starting role at Left tackle. Dartanyan Tinsley earning the nod at left guard sticks out to me. He had a great camp but it was thought earlier in the summer that Penn transfer Trevor Radosevich would slot there to start the season. Radosevich is also the back up center so that could play a role in the decision as the majority of his snaps have come there throughout the off season.
No position group has made a bigger jump this off season than the wide receiver room. Braden Smith has shown to be an impact player from the slot while Xavier Henderson (Florida), Donovan Ollie (Washington State), and Dee Wiggins (Louisville) have all shown they can be a big, physical presence out wide. Add Evan Prater to the room along with Sterling Berkhalter and this room has plenty of options should they battle any injuries.
Chamon Metayer has always had all the physical tools to be a big time tight end. The fact that Payten Singletary has worked his way in to a similar role speaks volumes to his development throughout the off season under Satterfield and his staff.
No real surprises here. This should be the most dominant group on the team with the talent, size, experience, and athleticism that they return. Dontay Corleone is a preseason all american and Jowon Briggs, Eric Phillips, and Malik Vann all depth at different positions across the line.
Deshawn Pace and Daniel Grzesiak are going to be extremely tough to handle off the edge in Bryan Brown's new system. Dorian Jones finished with 34 tackles and 6.5 tackles for loss at Louisville last year and knows this system better than anyone else. Add Jack Dingle to the middle and this defense should be extremely stout in the front 7. This group lacks depth but Jah-Mal Williams had a really good spring game and carried that over to summer workouts and Fall camp.
This group is still a bit unknown but reports were encouraging out of fall camp with Florida transfer Jordan Young and Sammy Anderson taking hold of the cornerback positions and veterans Taj Ward and Bryon Threats manning the deep middle at the secondary positions. Ward has played a lot of ball over the years so his experience will be needed in the back end of this defense. The depth is young, but talented.
I would expect there to still be some moving parts over the next few weeks leading up to the conference opener against Oklahoma, but for right now it seems as though the team is starting to settle in to roles and responsiblities. Scott Satterfield has stated multiple times throughout the off season that it is important for each player to have a defined role on the team heading in to game 1.