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Position Battle: Nickel CB

Nolan Carroll, who was impressive in spring practice, and Anthony Wiseman, who started last year, are certainly the starters at the two CB spots. After that, it's a crapshoot. There's two special teamers, a redshirt freshman, and a sixth-year senior. Who'll emerge from the group of misfits?

The Contenders: Trenton Hughes, Michael Carter, Cameron Chism, Richard Taylor

Trenton Hughes: Hughes is a great athlete - he was on a AAU National gold medal-winning 4x100 relay - and took over for Nolan Carroll when he went down with an injury this spring. The fact that he took over in spring practice for the #1 guy has to count for something, and his athleticism is a major boon. He has very little experience, as I"m not sure he did anything at all last year, which could be a concern, and his thin build may not work too well in the coverage Don Brown is expected to employ.

Michael Carter: Unlike Hughes, Carter's seen the field a bit, mostly on special teams. He really made an impression on me during the Cal game, in which he had three tackles and a forced fumble, and I never really forgot his performance in that game. That said, players can't earn a job on a performance a year old, but at least he has some experience. He's nasty fast, but even slenderer than Hughes is, which may be why he's behind him on the depth chart right now.

Cam Chism: Chism, whose redshirt was burned last year on a few special teams plays (bad decision), must've impressed the coaches to see the field his true freshman year at all. The same as Matt Furstenburg, even though he never saw much playing time, the fact that he burned his redshirt shows the coaches like him. One of his big strengths is man-to-man coverage, which is Don Brown will look to implement a lot. He seems to be a good fit for the defense, so he could see some time.

Richard Taylor: The old man of the CB corps, Taylor seems like he's been around for forever. That's because he has. This will be his 6th year with the program - he's Jordan Steffy-esque. He was a reserve before he was injured last year, but he's (relatively) a wise sage, so he'll get a chance here. He's a great athlete, with the fourth highest strength index (really) on the team, and he also runs track - his strength and athleticism will serve him well in that press style.

Prediction: Taylor may be the man to beat here, as he's the strongest among the DBs, and his speed doesn't see a major drop. That said, he's never shown anything in his 5 previous years, so you have to think that Hughes - who's the current leader - and Carter - who has the experience - have a real shot to take him down. Don't count out Chism - he's impressed a lot of knowledgeable people and saw time in the Humanitarian Bowl last year. You never want to hazard a guess when it's this crowded, but I wouldn't be surprised if Chism came out on top.