The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the UNLV Rebels.
No. 108: UNLV Rebels
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 14
UNLV Spring Status
Will UNLV ever turn the corner?
It’s been close to being interesting under head coach Tony Sanchez, but the program has had one winning season since 2000, gagged away last year with a loss to Howard to kick things off, and a loss to Nevada to finish – with bowl eligibility on the line.
This year’s team might not be as experienced in some key areas, but there’s reason to get excited about the potential of the offense, and with an interesting recruiting class coming in to give both sides of the ball a boost.
UNLV Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Defensive tackle. Hardly a strength last year, the defensive front now needs to improve and find new parts at the same time. The ends are fine, but losing Mike Hughes and nose tackle Jason Fao won’t help the nation’s 122nd-ranked run D. This is where the recruiting class has to come in, especially from the JUCO ranks.
UNLV Biggest Issue
Special teams. Yes, the run defense has to be far better, and yes, there has to be far more of a pass rush, and yes, the offense has to be more consistent, and yes, the passing game has to be more efficient. However, UNLV is in a bowl game last season if the special teams weren’t so abysmal.
The placekicking was solid – the kickers hit 22-of-28 field goals – but the punting away awful, averaging under 38 yards per kick. And why? The punt coverage team was awful, allowing over 14 yards per return. The kick coverage wasn’t a whole lot better, and the return teams were worthless – they were among the worst in the country.
UNLV Biggest Positive
The offensive backfield. Armani Rogers was a true freshman. With that in mind, when the 6-5, 225-pounder showed off the upside and dual-threat skills to potentially be special. However, JUCO transfer Max Gilliam will provide a push. Also back is Lexington Thomas, the 5-9, 170-pounder ran for 1,336 yards and scored 17 touchdowns – the running game will rock.
Really, Why Are The UNLV Rebels Ranked Here?
Okay, UNLV. prove it already. There are several nice parts, but WR Devonte Boyd is one along with a few parts on the O line. The defense that struggled so much has to replace five starters, and again, the special teams needs a massive boost just to be okay.