Duke football released its initial depth chart for the season as they head towards their opener against Temple on Friday. Depth charts usually contain a lot of the expected and a little unexpected. This one is no exception.
The expected includes defensive mainstays Shaka Heyward (linebacker) and DeWayne Carter (tackle), along with safety Jaylen Stinson. Heyward was recently named to the Reeses’s Senior Bowl Watch List (read my article on that here). On the offensive side of the ball there’s Jalon Calhoun, the team’s leading returning receiver. Tackle Graham Barton and guard Maurice McIntyre will once again anchor the left side of the offensive line. Sophomore Riley Leonard was named as the starting quarterback on Sunday. Jaylen Coleman is listed as the top running back, but head coach Mike Elko has said the Blue Devils will be using a running-back-by-committee approach.
The unexpected comes in the form of the remainder of the offensive line. Jacob Monk slides over from his right guard spot, where he’s made twenty-three starts over the last two seasons, to take over at center. He was also a starter at right tackle as a true freshman in 2019. A couple of transfers who figured to provide depth find themselves as co-starters at their positions. Mammoth-sized (6’7”, 329 pounds) Chance Lytle (Colorado) is a co-starter at right guard along with Brian Foley. At right tackle, Andre Harris (43 career starts at Arkansas State) was impressive enough in preseason camp to be listed with last year’s starter at this position, John Gelotte. Regardless of who ends up taking the field for the first offensive series Friday night, it is good to know the Blue Devils have some depth on their offensive line.
There is the expected and unexpected among the true freshman as well. Considering defensive end Vincent Anthony, Jr. was named to 247Sports Preseason Freshman All-America team, I can’t say it is a surprise to see him as a starter. I’m very excited to see what he can do. Possibly the biggest depth chart unexpected is Chandler Rivers being listed as a co-starter at cornerback with Joshua Pickett. The Beaumont, Texas native was the nation’s number seventy-one cornerback in the 2022 recruiting class (247Sports’ Composite Rankings) and was obviously helped by being able to enroll early and take part in the Blue Devils’ spring practice. Two other true freshmen are listed as well. Quarterback Henry Belin IV is number three at his position. Elko has said if there is an injury in front of him, Belin is definitely part of the plan. He’s an impressive 6’3” and already 215 pounds. Belin was a top-sixty quarterback nationally in the latest recruiting class. Terry Moore is fourth among a crowded running back position.
With six different positions having co-starters listed, it is obvious there are still battles to be settled in the coming weeks. I expect to see a lot of guys get playing time in meaningful situations against Temple.