Conference USA 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

Conference USA 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

Conference USA

Conference USA 2019 Pre-Spring Rankings, Depth Chart Projections, Biggest Issues

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The 2019 early rankings, depth chart lookaheads, and projections for the Conference USA.


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 Conference USA teams.

7. Old Dominion Monarchs

With starter Blake LaRussa leaving football for divinity school, the offense was able to get former Michigan State Spartan and JUCO transfer Messiah deWeaver to come in and battle for the starting quarterback job. Almost all of the top running backs return, but the top three receivers are gone and two starters are done on the O line.

The D has to replace star DE Oshane Ximines, five of the top seven tacklers, and most of the key safeties, but the linebacking corps should be a major positive.

Final 2018 Record: 4-8 (2-6)
2018 C-USA East Finish: T6
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 11
Biggest Issue To Fix: Run Defense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Linebacker
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Safety

6. Charlotte 49ers

New head coach Will Nealy has an interesting quarterback situation, with USF’s Brett Kean coming in to battle with Chris Reynolds for the job. Benny LeMay leads a deep group of running backs, but the O line has to replace three starters. Four of the top seven pass catchers are gone, but leading receiver Victor Tucker is back. The defense is loaded with veterans with ten of the top 13 tacklers back, starting with all-star safety Ben DeLuca.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (4-4)
2018 C-USA East Finish: 4
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 13
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Defensive Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Offensive Line

5. Florida Atlantic Owls

There’s some rebuilding to do. The quarterback situation is set with Chris Robison – De’Andre Johnson is transferring – but top receiver Jovon Durante is done, and almost all of the running backs have to be replace. With Devin Singletary and Kerrith Whyte leaving early, the backfield is gutted. Not helping is a line that loses three starters.

The defensive line has to replace a few starters, but the linebacking corps gets back two of the main men and the secondary has just enough back to be okay. The depth on the line is the issue – that’s going to take a little bit to overcome – but six of the top ten tacklers return.

Final 2018 Record: 5-7 (3-5)
2018 C-USA East Finish: 5
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 1
Biggest Issue To Fix: Turnover Margin
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Running Back

4. Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders

The Blue Raiders have to undergo an overhaul, and it starts at quarterback with Brent Stockstill finally done. The receivers should be okay as long as Ty Lee is still the No. 1 guy, but the line is gutted. There’s enough running back talent to do more on the ground. The defensive front has enough returning experience to be a plus, but the secondary is all but starting over. Six of the top ten tacklers are gone.

Final 2018 Record: 8-6 (7-1)
2018 C-USA East Finish: 1
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 4
Biggest Issue To Fix: Tackles For Loss Allowed
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Running Back
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Quarterback

3. WKU Hilltoppers

New head coach Tyson Helton is the beneficiary of the youth movement under former head man Mike Sanford – all 11 offensive starters return. There are options at quarterback, but the O needs more production. Most of the top runners return, and all of the main receivers are back. The defensive side loses a few good playmakers, but LB Ben Holt is back along with 11 of the top 14 tacklers.

Final 2018 Record: 3-9 (2-6)
2018 C-USA East Finish: T6
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 6
Biggest Issue To Fix: Scoring and Total Offense
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Offensive Line
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Defensive Tackle

2. Marshall Thundering Herd

The Thundering Herd have an interesting team returning. The quarterback situation is deep and potentially fantastic – starting with Isaiah Green – the running backs are good, and the line is loaded with four returning starters. The receiving corps could use some work, but it’ll be fine despite the loss of Tyre Brady. And then there’s the defense. Seven of the top nine tacklers return including the entire secondary, but the linebacking corps needs some work around Omari Cobb. The line could use some help, too, but it’s not starting over.

Final 2018 Record: 9-4 (6-2)
2018 C-USA East Finish: T2
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 3
Biggest Issue To Fix: Turnovers
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Quarterback
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Linebacker

1. FIU Golden Panthers

QB James Morgan is back along with three of the top four running backs, but leading rusher Napoleon Maxwell is gone along with two starters up front. The receiving corps is loaded with everyone of note returning. The defense has experience, too, with three of the top four players back on the D line, the secondary solid – especially at safety – and with seven of the top nine tacklers back.

Final 2018 Record: 9-4 (6-2)
2018 C-USA East Finish: T2
2018 Prespring C-USA Conference Ranking: 8
Biggest Issue To Fix: Pass Rush
Biggest Depth Chart Positive: Receiver
Biggest Depth Chart Negative: Backup Quarterback

NEXT: Conference USA West Early Rankings

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