Football: Positional battles resolved on opening week depth chart

Northwestern+coach+Pat+Fitzgerald+released+the+team%27s+first+depth+chart+Monday%2C+listing+redshirt+freshman+Clayton+Thorson+as+quarterback.

Daily file photo by Sean Su

Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald released the team’s first depth chart Monday, listing redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson as quarterback.

Bobby Pillote, Reporter

Position battles on both sides of the ball were resolved Monday with the release of Northwestern’s depth chart for its first game of the season against No. 21 Stanford on Saturday. The depth chart ended speculation about starters on the offensive line, at linebacker and elsewhere and confirmed redshirt freshman Clayton Thorson as the starting quarterback.

But while Thorson will definitely be taking the first offensive snap, sophomore Matt Alviti and senior Zack Oliver are listed as co-backups on the Wildcats’ chart, which traditionally only goes two players deep.

Junior Ian Park, who battled sophomore Brad North for the starting job at center, is listed as the starter at left guard instead. Park may be a fill-in for senior Matt Frazier, who remains out indefinitely with a staph infection.

Junior Warren Long is listed as sophomore Justin Jackson’s official backup at running back, though sophomore Solomon Vault and redshirt freshman Auston Anderson are still sure to see some playing time. NU doesn’t list return specialists on its depth chart, but Vault is likely to reprise his role as kick returner this year.

On the defensive side of the ball, junior Jaylen Prater won the battle to start at weakside linebacker next to sophomore Anthony Walker and senior Drew Smith.

And along the defensive line, sophomore Tyler Lancaster won the starting job at one of the defensive tackle positions, possibly in place of the recently retired Sean McEvilly. Jordan Thompson, a co-backup to Lancaster, is the only true freshman listed on the depth chart.

Here is the depth chart in full:

Offense

Starter Backup
Quarterback Clayton Thorson (R-Fr) Zack Oliver (Sr) OR Matt Alviti (So)
Running Back Justin Jackson (So) Warren Long (Jr)
X Wide Receiver Miles Shuler (Sr) Austin Carr (Jr)
Y Wide Receiver Christian Jones (Sr) Stephen Buckley (Jr)
Z Wide Receiver Cameron Dickerson (Sr) Macan Wilson (So)
Superback/Tight End Dan Vitale (Sr) Garrett Dickerson (So)
Left Tackle Geoff Mogus (Sr) Adam DePietro (Jr)
Left Guard Ian Park (Jr) Connor Mahoney (Jr)
Center Brad North (So) J.B. Butler(R-Fr)
Right Guard Shane Mertz (Sr) Sam Coverdale (So)
Right Tackle Eric Olson (Jr) Blake Hance (R-Fr)

 

Defense

Right Defensive End Deonte Gibson (Sr) Ifeadi Odenigbo (Jr)
Defensive Tackle Tyler Lancaster (So) Ben Oxley (R-Fr) OR Jordan Thompson (Fr)
Defensive Tackle C.J. Robbins (Sr) Max Chapman (Sr)
Left Defensive End Dean Lowry (Sr) Xavier Washington (So)
SAM Linebacker Drew Smith (Sr) Joseph Jones (Jr)
MIKE Linebacker Anothony Walker (So) Cameron Queiro (R-Fr)
WILL Linebacker Jaylen Prater (Jr) Nate Hall (R-Fr)
Cornerback Nick VanHoose (Sr) Kieth Watkins II (So)
Safety Godwin Igwebuike (So) Jared McGee (Jr)
Safety Traveon Henry (Sr) Kyle Queiro (So)
Cornerback Matthew Harris (Jr) Marcus McShepard (So)

 

Specialists

Place-kicker Jack Mitchell (Jr) Arthur Omilian (Sr)
Punter Hunter Niswander (So) Matt Micucci (Jr)
Long Snapper Chris Fitzpatrick (Jr)
Holder Christian Salem (Jr)

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Twitter: @BobbyPillote