Feast your eyes on the first depth chart of the 2020 season.
While the depth chart by and large appears as the media collectively assumed it would, there are some surprises.
Quarterback: Not much to talk about here, as Dekkers and Bouman came into the program as highly-touted quarterbacks. They land as backups due to roster attrition thanks to the play of #15.
Running Back: Again, not much to look at here, as we all knew Breece Hall would be the main man in the middle. The three-way tie for the backup role is interesting, as I would expect Jirehl Brock to get some run this fall.
Offensive Line: This position group is the one that garnered the most interest as we approached game week. From left to right: Sean Foster or Grant Treiber, Trevor Downing, Colin Newell, Robert Hudson or Derek Schweiger, and Joey Ramos or Jake Remsburg. Downing and Newell were undoubtedly the locks here, and Ramos is expected to anchor the RT position.
The real questions are at LT and RG. Sean Foster came in as a well-thought-of recruit, but has struggled mightily during his 4 seasons in Ames. He certainly has the talent to put it all together for a final senior campaign, but we also know the staff absolutely loves Grant Treiber, the 6’6”, 308# redshirt freshman. The WRNL staff expects Treiber to ultimately win the LT job. At right guard, redshirt junior Robert Hudson is an absolute mauler (6’7”, 360#), saw action in all 13 games, and was even the scout team POTY in 2018. Redshirt junior Derek Schweiger, on the other hand, has come on lately despite seeing action in only 3 games last season.
Regardless of who wins these battles, the offensive line has two star members, highly-touted recruits scattered across the depth chart, and plenty of playable depth, which are all very nice things to have.
Tight End/Fullback: No surprises here, despite Kolar and Allen having an OR designation between them. How can you not with 2 All-Conference level players? Soehner shows up as the main man for the F position, a combo TE/FB.
Wide Receivers: Xavier Hutchinson. Sean Shaw Jr.. Tarique Milton. Prepare yourself for a heavy dose of these three this fall. If you aren’t excited about the sound of that, then it’s time to take some Spark, flip some tires, and fire yourself up.
Matt Campbell absolutely LOVES Xavier Hutchinson, a redshirt junior from Blinn College in Kansas, was a top-10 JUCO wide out, and picked the ‘Clones over Syracuse, Nebraska, Oklahoma, etc.. Tarique Milton is the burner deep play threat on the outside, and Sean Shaw is more of the possession-type guy, whom Brock Purdy found for 5 touchdowns in 2019. Depth abounds here, as Shaw is a redshirt sophomore, and Hutchinson and Milton are redshirt juniors.
Backing up this crew is sophomore Joe Scates (WRX), true freshman Matt Campbell loves in Daniel Jackson (WRM), and the speedy combo of Landon Akers and Darren Wilson Jr (WRZ).
Defensive Line: Redshirt junior Zach Peterson, who played very well in 2019, anchors one end spot (backed up by Tucker Robertson), with JaQuan Bailey as the anchor at the opposite end position. Will McDonald, the sack sensation himself, is listed as Bailey’s backup, but will likely be used all over the field in 2020, especially in obvious passing situations.
On the interior line, redshirt sophomore Isaiah Lee (6’0”, 301#) is listed as the starting NG with redshirt senior Josh Bailey (6’2”, 288#). Isaiah Lee is likely to be the main man here. Interestingly, Latrell Bankston, the coveted JUCO defensive linemen, is listed as the backup to Enyi Uwazurike.
Linebacker: No surprises here, as Jake Hummel steps in as the WLB alongside the dynamic duo of Mike Rose (SLB) and O’Rien Vance (MLB). There is also strong depth here, as youngsters Aric Horne, Gerry Vaughn, and Dae’Shawn Davis are all incredibly talented and ready to play. This position is definitely a strength for the Cyclones.
Safety: Quite possibly the best safety unit in the entire nation, Greg Eisworth and Lawrence White are two seniors ready for their last go-around. Kym-Mani King and DJ Miller, both sophomores, provide some experience and solid depth here.
Cornerback: Isheem Young challenging senior Arnold Azunna at the Star position is an interesting development, and we expect both to earn regular playing time. Azunna started as a cornerback before transitioning to the star position. Sophomore Taybonn Kyle has beaten out Datrone Young for one corner spot, which is not shocking considering the play of both in 2019. Anthony Johnson Jr will anchor the other spot, who is considered a rising star on this defense.