With the departure of Tavien Feaster, the Tigers are now left a little thin when it comes to experience in the backfield. Travis Etienne and Lyn J Dixon provide one of the nation’s best 1-2 punches but who is it that will lock down that third spot. On the surface it doesn’t seem to be that big of an issue but this is an offense that has thrived off of their use of a three back system. Darien Rencher was that guy during the spring but it will be hard for the former walk on to hold off true freshman Chez Mellusi. Fellow freshman Michael Dukes will also have an opportunity to show what he can do.
Here’s another spot the Tigers don’t have a whole lot of experienced depth at. They’ve also lost a lot of size on the interior. Behind starters Nyles Pinckney and Jordan Williams there is only inexperience. Plenty of talent though. Xavier Kelly is one guy to watch. After making the move inside from end a season ago, he’s poised for a breakout season. After that it’s all freshmen. Tyler Davis, Ruke Orhorhoro, Etinosa Reuben, and last but not least, Tayquon Johnson. Johnson is a guy that could possibly crack the two deep sooner rather than later.
Can Jaelyn Lay grasp enough of the offense and quickly enough to become that bonafide pass catching threat the Tigers have missed since Jordan Leggett. Braden Galloway was supposed to be that guy this season but instead he’s ineligible until December. At 6’6 Lay is a potential matchup nightmare. However, weighing in at 273 he might be just a little heavy. If that’s the case, there’s a month of practice time in the heat on the horizon so it shouldn’t be to hard to drop a few pounds.
One position battle not getting much play is the one possibly brewing at punter. Freshman Aiden Swanson has a strong leg but it will take a lot to unseat the incumbent here, though certainly not impossible.
With Amari Rogers sidelined, there’s a starting spot up for grabs. Cornell Powell looks to be the frontrunner to lock it down but don’t count out a guy like TJ Chase. Diondre Overton took some snaps there during the spring as well. Another guy to watch is the new #13, Brannon Spector. Never count out a guy given that number. Even if he’s just a freshman.