By Creg Stephenson
South Alabama is through two days of preseason football camp following Saturday morning’s workout at the Jaguar Training Center.
The Jaguars won’t put on the pads until Thursday and won’t scrimmage for the first time until Aug. 12, so it’s a little too early to make definite determinations about who will play where and how much in 2023. However, there are a few clues into what the depth chart might look like after the spring and in the early-going in the preseason.
Here are a few observations through two days of preseason camp:
1. For the first time in years, there is no real quarterback competition
Barring injury, Carter Bradley is going to going to take every important snap from center again this year. That’s been a rarity for the Jaguars, who haven’t had an unquestioned returning starter at quarterback since Ross Metheny in 2013. And Desmond Trotter will almost certainly be the No. 2 quarterback again. The real competition is for the No. 3 job, between true freshman Gio Lopez, veteran backup Tanner McGee and Utah State transfer Bishop Davenport. Those three are also set to compete for the starting job in 2024, when Bradley and Trotter have graduated.
2. There is impressive depth at running back
All-Sun Belt pick La’Damian Webb is still ramping up health-wise following offseason surgery, but is projected to be 100% well ahead of the Sept. 2 opener at Tulane. Braylon McReynolds is back in his change-of-pace, all-purpose role, and Marco Lee returns to provide power in goal-line/short-yardage situations. Ole Miss transfer Kentrel Bullock had some nice moments in the spring, and true freshmen Jarvis Durr and PJ Martin — both of whom arrived over the summer — could also get a chance to show their stuff.
3. The Jaguars might have 6 or 7 quality wide receivers
Caullin Lacy and Devin Voisin are back this season, and should challenge for all-conference honors. The third receiver position is wide-open, however. Veteran holdover Jay’juan Townsend, Memphis transfer Javon Ivory and junior-college import Shamar Sandgren are all competing for reps, but don’t overlook a pair of walk-ons. Jamaal Pritchett and Jeremiah Webb both have experience in the offense, and might get opportunities as well.
4. The defensive line is again the deepest unit on the team
The Jaguars entered camp with 12 scholarship defensive linemen, four of whom are sixth-year seniors. Jamie Sheriff, Charles Coleman, Wy’Kevious Thomas, Jamall Hickbottom, Maurice Strong and Brock Higdon all have starting experience, and Ed Smith, Carlos Johnson and Lamondre Brooks are well-regarded younger players who could start for other teams. Redshirt freshman RJ Moss and Oklahoma transfer Nathan Rawlins-Kibonge are also looking to break into the rotation in 2023.
5. The Jaguars have finally recruited their way to a quality cornerback rotation
If the defensive line has been the deepest position for the Jaguars in the last two years, cornerback has been the “shallowest.” But that could be changing. Marquise Robinson is back to start this year, and sophomore Ricky Fletcher, junior-college transfer Reggie Neely and program veteran Dallas Gamble form the makings of a quality Top 4. True freshman Josh Bledsoe, junior-college transfer Brian Dillard and Division I transfers Jordan Buchanan (Purdue) and Jamarrien Burt (Oklahoma) — all newcomers in camp — provide excellent depth for the future.
6. South Alabama essentially has 4 starters at safety
Yam Banks, Jaden Voisin and Jalen Jordan are all back after starting last year, and three-year starter Keith Gallmon has returned after missing 2022 with a torn pectoral muscle. Rickey Hyatt and Tremel States-Jones also got quality reps last season. With so many proven commodities, it will be difficult for younger players to break into the rotation this year. However, a few to keep an eye on are Baylor transfer Mike Harris, Mississippi State transfer Wesley Miller and Christopher Wallace, a walk-on from Mary G. Montgomery High School who has been working as the second-team nickel safety in the early stages of camp.
South Alabama returns to the practice field on Sunday morning, donning shoulder pads for the first time in camp.

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