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The surprises and new names on Citadel football's first 2019 depth chart

Citadel Alabama Football (copy)

Citadel junior Keyonte Sessions (26) is back as a starter at slotback but will wear No. 8 this season. File/AP

Citadel football coach Brent Thompson says he doesn't put a ton of effort into studying an opponent's depth chart.

"I don't put a whole lot of faith in what I see there," Thompson said Monday. "I'm more worried about where they are than who they are."

Still, some coaches feel the need to retain an air of mystery about their depth charts, which typically list the starter and backup at each position on offense, defense and special teams.

New Georgia Tech coach Geoff Collins, for example, has released a depth chart for the Yellow Jackets' season opener against Clemson that includes just an alphabetical list of players at each position — no starters or backups are designated.

"Probably some gamesmanship going on there," said Thompson, whose Bulldogs play at Georgia Tech on Sept. 14.

Thompson played it straight as The Citadel released its first depth chart of the season on Monday in preparation for Saturday's season opener against Towson, ranked No. 12 in the preseason FCS coaches poll.

But the Bulldogs' lineup for Towson does include some surprises and some new names, which Thompson discussed during his first news conference of the 2019 season:

• Redshirt freshman Jonathan Toole is listed as the starter at left guard on offense, ahead of returning starter Jon Barrett Lewis. Toole is a 6-1, 287-pounder from Spring, Texas, who played in one game last year.

"Jonathan has competed hard for that spot and really came on strong last year," Thompson said. "But he didn't have as strong of a spring as we hoped and kind of got buried on the depth chart. But he really had a nice fall camp, so that will be a battle to the end."

It will probably be a game-time decision between Toole and Lewis, a 6-2, 295-pound junior who started all 11 games at left tackle last season.

• The backup quarterback behind starter Brandon Rainey will be Brian Murdaugh, a walk-on junior from Walterboro who played at Colleton Prep in high school. Murdaugh redshirted in 2016, did not play in 2017 and played in one game last year. Freshman QB Evan Schickel has been slowed by injury, and redshirt freshman Javonte Middleton has moved to cornerback, where he's listed as a backup to starter Lane Botkin.

• As they did last year, the Bulldogs are listing a starter and backup at tight end, which usually amounts to a third tackle in The Citadel's triple-option offense. Redshirt junior Elijah Lowe (6-4, 228) and redshirt sophomore Liam Reid (6-5, 210) are the tight ends. Lowe, from the Bahamas, was the MVP of the offensive line at Easley High School; Reid played at state power Dutch Fork.

• Grad-student transfer Airan Reed (6-2, 240) from Southern Illinois is starting at one of the inside linebacker spots in new coordinator Tony Grantham's 3-4 alignment. Transfer Remus Bulmer from Sam Houston State is a backup at slotback and slated to start at kick returner alongside fullback Clay Harris.

• Seven true freshmen dot the two-deep, including Schickel at QB. Most likely to see early game action are defensive tackle Dewey Greene IV, a 6-3, 245-pounder from AC Flora High School in Columbia, and linebacker Anthony Britton Jr., a 6-2, 205-pounder from Stockbridge, Ga.

Other freshmen on the two-deep are linebacker Hasan Black, free safety Andy Davis, center Tereis Drayton from James Island and right guard Stephon Stokes from Greenville.


• Some Citadel veterans will be sporting new jersey numbers this season. They include safety Destin Mack (No. 7), slotback Keyonte Sessions (8), QB Brian Murdaugh (10), defensive back Ryland Ayers (29), slotback Darique Hampton (33) and tight end Donnie Brechtel III (46).

• Junior quarterback Rainey and junior cornerback Phil Barrett have been named team captains for The Citadel.

• Former Citadel QB Dominique Allen will return to the ESPN+ broadcast team for the Towson game, along with play-by-play announcer Kevin Fitzgerald and sideline reporter Emily Crevani.

• The Citadel's radio crew will include voice of the Bulldogs Luke Mauro, analyst Ted Byrne and sideline reporter Jay Harper. Gameday affiliates include 92.1-FM, 102.1-FM and 1450-AM in Charleston; 100.7-FM and 1470-AM in Columbia; and 105.9-FM and 1240-AM in Sumter.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC

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