American Athletic 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

American Athletic 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

American Athletic

American Athletic 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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The 2019 early rankings, depth chart lookaheads, and projections for the American Athletic.


Contact @PeteFiutak

These can and will change after spring ball and going into the season, but for now, as a starting point, welcome to your pre-everything early ranking of all the American Athletic Conference teams.

AMERICAN ATHLETIC EAST

6. Connecticut Huskies

The food is awful, but the portions are huge. That’s the UConn defense. One of the worst Ds in college football history gets just about everyone back, returning 11 of the top 12 tacklers including everyone in a young secondary that took its lumps. The offense loses QB David Pindell, but the line returns just about everyone and the running game should be okay. Now the receivers have to emerge.

Final 2018 Record: 1-11 (0-8)
2018 AAC East Finish: 6
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 12
Biggest Issue To Fix: Scoring Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Secondary
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Wide Receiver

5. East Carolina Pirates

New head coach Mike Houston has experience to work with, and he even has  decent depth in a few spots. The quarterback situation has three options, but the running back situation is thin and the receiving corps isn’t anything special. All four starters return on the O line, and three starters are back on the defensive front.

There’s enough experience at linebacker and in the secondary to be fine, but leading tackler Devon Sutton is gone at safety and Nate Harvey is finished at one end.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (1-7)
2018 AAC East Finish: 5
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 11
Biggest Issue To Fix: Passing Efficiency
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Quarterback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Running Back

4. Temple Owls

New head coach Rod Carey inherits an interesting team. Anthony Russo is an emerging playmaker at quarterback, but RB Ryquell Armstead is done and leading receiver Ventell Bryant is gone. The O line welcomes back four starters, and there’s enough depth at the skill spots to be okay. All of the top linebackers return, and the defensive line should be fine, but the secondary has to undergo an overhaul.

Final 2018 Record: 8-5 (7-1)
2018 AAC East Finish: 2
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 7
Biggest Issue To Fix: Throwing Interceptions
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Safety

3. Cincinnati Bearcats

There’s rebuilding to do after the amazing 2018 season. The defensive line only gets back one starter, and the offensive line is gutted. No. 1 receiver Kahlil Lewis is done, and four of the top seven tacklers have to be replaced. However, QB Desmond Ridder is a good one, Michael Warren leads a deep backfield, and the receiving corps is terrific. Now the lines need to come together.

Final 2018 Record: 11-2 (6-2)
2018 AAC East Finish: 3
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 8
Biggest Issue To Fix: Penalties
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line

2. USF Bulls

USF lost both Brett Kean (Charlotte) and Chris Oladokun to transfer, meaning it’s Blake Barnett’s quarterbacking gig without having to look over his shoulder – for now.

Overall, if there’s a problem, it won’t be because of a lack of experience. The receiving corps is strong, Mitchell Wilcox is going to be among the nation’s top tight ends, and Jordan Cronkrite leads a good group of backs behind a line that gets back four starters. Five of the top eight tacklers have to be replaced, but the line will be okay and three starters return in the secondary.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (3-5)
2018 AAC East Finish: 4
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 3
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Ends

1. UCF Knights

There’s more than enough talent to keep it all going. With the addition of Brandon Wimbush from Notre Dame to battle with Darriel Mack, the quarterback situation is solid. Dredrick Nelson left early for the NFL, but most of the top wide receivers are back, the top two running backs return, and three starters return up front.

The defensive line loses Trysten Hill on the inside, and more options have to emerge on the outside. In all, four of the top six tacklers are gone, but the linebacking corps should be fine, and the secondary has the corners to work around leading tackler and all-star Richie Grant.

Final 2018 Record: 12-1 (8-0)
2018 AAC East Finish: 1
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 1
Biggest Issue To Fix: Run Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Quarterback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Tackle

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