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Maryland football: Preseason depth chart released

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The biggest changes come in the secondary. Also, welcome, true freshmen! You get to be on the bottom of the depth chart.

Howard Smith-US PRESSWIRE

Maryland went ahead and announced their preseason depth chart without telling anybody, sneaking it into their Preseason Notes (published on the athletic department's website) without so much as a press release. A hat-tip to BSL's Zack Kiesel for first noticing the update.

Let's take a look!

Offensive backs:

QB TB FB
C.J. Brown Wes Brown OR Kenneth Goins Jr.
Caleb Rowe Albert Reid OR Tyler Cierski
Perry Hills Brandon Ross OR Andrew Stefanelli
Shane Cockerille Jacquille Veii
Will Ulmer Joe Riddle
Tehuti Miles
Zac Morton

Nothing surprising here -- none of those four running backs separated themselves in either direction during spring, and they'll continue to battle for some time. Ulmer is listed at quarterback, so that answers some questions for now. Morton is a new walk-on from Whitman. Goins beat Cierski for the starting fullback job last season.

Wide receivers:

WR WR WR TE
Stefon Diggs Deon Long Marcus Leak P.J. Gallo OR
Levern Jacobs Nigel King Taivon Jacobs Derrick Hayward OR
Daniel Adams Amba Etta-Tawo Malcolm Culmer Andrew Isaacs
DeAndre Lane Juwann Winfree Eric Roca
Brian McMahon
Andrew Gray

If you didn't know how talented Maryland's wide receivers are, just look at that middle column. Holy crap. That's nothing against the other columns, which are both fantastic in their own right, but there's a legitimate argument that Winfree stays fourth at that position (despite his incredible talent).

As far as tight end, here's your first surprise -- former linebacker Derrick Hayward is in contention for the starting spot. No word yet on whether that's good news or bad news, but he'll be competing with expected starter P.J. Gallo and former high-profile recruit Andrew Isaacs for the job.

Offensive line:

LT LG C RG RT
Michael Dunn Silvano Altamirano OR Sal Conaboy Andrew Zeller Ryan Doyle
Jake Wheeler Evan Mulrooney Stephen Grommer JuJuan Dulaney Derwin Gray
Damian Prince Mike Minter Joe Marchese Maurice Shelton Banks Agaruwa
Brendan Moore Sean Christie

Left guard hasn't been settled yet, but things will likely shift around as the true freshmen move up the depth chart. Prince and Gray are at left and right tackle, as (mostly) expected, while Brendan Moore slots in at his expected center position. Sean Christie is kicking inside to guard, which makes a ton of sense as well. Newcomer Agaruwa is a walk-on from Eleanor Roosevelt.

Defensive line:

DE NT DE
Quinton Jefferson Keith Bowers OR Andre Monroe
Malik Jones Darius Kilgo Roman Braglio
Spencer Myers Azubuike Ukandu Kingsley Opara
Ty Tucker David Shaw Ruben Franco
Brett Kulka

Nose tackle is still unresolved, but I expect Bowers and Kilgo to share the starting role throughout the season and play in different situations. The newcomer Myers gets added in at defensive end, while true freshmen Shaw and Kulka end up at the bottom of their positions.

Linebackers:

OLB ILB ILB OLB
Matt Robinson Cole Farrand L.A. Goree Yannick Cudjoe-Virgil
Alex Twine Jermaine Carter, Jr. Jalen Brooks Yannick Ngakoue
Cavon Walker Brock Dean Matt Gillespie Clarence Murphy
Avery Thompson Tyler Burke Abner Logan Chandler Burkett
Nnamdi Egbuaba Jesse Aniebonam

No surprises in the starting group here, but there's one positional change -- Chandler Burkett is moving from the defensive line to the WILL position (a move that worked quite well for Marcus Whitfield). Our prediction of Tyler Burke playing in the middle also holds true. Matt Gillespie is another new walk-on from Loyola Blakefield, and earns a place above the suspended Logan.

Secondary:

CB S S CB
Will Likely Sean Davis Anthony Nixon Alvin Hill
Jeremiah Johnson A.J. Hendy Zach Dancel Jarrett Ross
Undray Clark J.T. Ventura Denzel Conyers Michael Washington
Daniel Ezeagwu Rashid Conteh Antwaine Carter Josh Woods
Elvis Dennah Milan Collins

So here's where the changes are! Alvin Hill wins a starting spot over Jeremiah Johnson, while JuCo signee Denzel Conyers will be playing safety instead of his anticipated cornerback. Conyers may still play nickel or dime in more pass-minded defenses, however, like fellow safety A.J. Hendy. On the flipside, true freshman Josh Woods will be playing cornerback (as we predicted) instead of his projected safety.

The big news is Hill over Johnson, and we'll see if that sticks through the season. Johnson missed nearly the entirety of last season with an injury, but was expected to play a big role this season in the secondary.

Special teams:

K P LS
Brad Craddock Nathan Renfro Christian Carpenter
Adam Greene Michael Tart Nate Adams
Lee Shrader

Looks about right!