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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AMERICAN ATHLETIC WEST

6. Navy Midshipmen

Having to replace veterans at Navy isn’t the same as having to do it at other places – it’s the system, not necessarily the talent – but there’s a problem when 15 starters have to be replaced. Four starters are done on the O line, a quarterback has to emerge so that Malcolm Perry can stay at slotback, and in all, five of the top seven rushers from last year are done. The defense is an even bigger issue with five of the top six tacklers gone.

Final 2018 Record: 3-10 (2-6)
2018 AAC West Finish: T5
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 5
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line

5. Tulsa Golden Hurricane

The Golden Hurricane have the receivers to boost up the passing attack – three of the top four wideouts are back – but QB Seth Boomer has to step up. The top three running backs return behind a line that gets back three starters. 11 of the top 12 tacklers are back, and only DE Myles Mouton is gone off of the starting 11.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (2-6)
2018 AAC West Finish: T5
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 10
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Secondary
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line

4. SMU Mustangs

QB Ben Hicks took off for Arkansas, meaning either William Brown has to be ready for the full-time role, or grad transfer Shane Buechele from Texas has to step in and rock. Having 93-catch veteran James Proche and a loaded receiving corps to work with helps, and there are options in the backfield. The O line gets four starters back, the D line gets everyone back, and in all, ten of the top 11 and 14 of the top 16 tacklers return.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (4-4)
2018 AAC West Finish: 4
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 6
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Quarterback

3. Tulane Green Wave

After a strong 2018, the pieces are there to blow up with talent to go along with the experience. Former LSU Tiger Justin McMillan will be the No. 1 QB, and former Southern Miss starter Keon Howard will be No. 2. Darius Bradwell and Corey Dauphine lead a loaded backfield, and Oklahoma State transfer Jalen McCleskey boosts the receiving corps. The line, though, needs a little help with three starters gone.

The defense is experienced after throwing a slew of young players into the mix. Just two starters are gone, with all four starters – all underclassmen last season – returning.

Final 2018 Record: 7-6 (5-3)
2018 AAC West Finish: T1
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 9
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Protection
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Guard

2. Houston Cougars

Dana Holgorsen has some work to do to put all the pieces back together, but if and when QB D’Eriq King is back from his knee injury, the passing game should fly. Almost all of the top receivers are back, the running backs are good, and the line shouldn’t be too big an issue with three starters returning.

The defense won’t have Ed Oliver, but three starters from the bowl loss to Army are back – take that however you’d like. The linebacking situation is iffy, and both starting corners are gone. However, even with five of the top seven tacklers needing to be replaced, there’s experience on the D.

Final 2018 Record: 8-5 (5-3)
2018 AAC West Finish: T1
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 4
Biggest Issue To Fix: Total Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Linebacker

1. Memphis Tigers

The Tigers lose all-around playmaker Tony Pollard and devastating RB Darrell Henderson, but Patrick Taylor is back for the ground game, QB Brady White returns after a year in the offense, and the receiving corps is potentially fantastic. Leading tackler Curtis Akins is gone, but six of the top seven and ten of the top 12 tacklers return.

Final 2018 Record: 8-6 (5-3)
2018 AAC West Finish: T1
2018 Prespring AAC Conference Ranking: 2
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Wide Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive End

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