Just two freshmen are listed as starters on Kansas University's football post-spring depth chart, and both come at key positions: Kerry Meier at quarterback, the offensive leader; and Darrell Stuckey at free safety, the last line of defense.
KU released its depth chart Tuesday after a month of evaluation during the 15-practice spring season that wrapped up Friday. In all, eight freshmen are on the two-deep, including five on defense.
"It's probably the speediest defense that we've had," KU coach Mark Mangino said Tuesday. "We have some kids that have to learn and learn fast, but they're doing that."
The depth chart contains few shockers, though intriguing points pop up:
¢ Eric Washington is not listed at first- or second-string linebacker, presumably due to a shoulder injury that forced him out of any major spring work. Joe Mortensen, Mike Rivera and James Holt are projected starters at linebacker, with Jake Schermer, Brandon Duncan and Arist Wright backing up.
¢ Blake Bueltel has the lead at the up-for-grabs cornerback spot opposite Aqib Talib, as expected. That competition will continue through the summer, though, and eventually will be won by Bueltel, Mike McCoy or Raymond Brown. Incoming freshmen Phillip Strozier and Anthony Webb will try for it, too.
¢ Among those cracking second-string offensive line include Jose Rodriguez, the 6-foot-6, 255-pound freshman brother of starting left tackle Cesar Rodriguez. Jose is projected as Anthony Collins' backup at right tackle.
¢ The third wide receiver spot is an either/or between sophomores Dexton Fields and Marcus Herford. Brian Murph and Dominic Roux are penciled as starters at the other two wideout spots.
¢ Kyle Tucker is listed as the backup kicker behind Scott Webb, but Dane Broadie is the second-string punter behind Tucker. Broadie has been listed as a kicker since arriving at KU in 2004.
¢ Caleb Blakesley looks to be the number three defensive tackle behind starters James McClinton and Wayne Wilder. Injured tackle Todd Haselhorst was not listed.
¢ Adam Barmann is listed as the second-string quarterback. He'll back up Meier, named the team's starter after an impressive showing in Friday's spring game.
"A very talented young man, very poised," Mangino said of Meier. "He has all the tools you need to be a heck of a quarterback in the Big 12."
KU players now move on to individual workouts before summer conditioning begins. Many of the incoming freshman are expected to move in June to Lawrence to begin summer workouts and enroll in classes.
¢ Ticket sales up: Kansas Athletics, Inc., board members said Tuesday that football season-ticket renewals were up significantly from a year ago. KU has had a steady increase in season-ticket sales since 2003, and last year's Fort Worth Bowl victory is expected to boost sales even more.
¢ Meeting the community: Members of the KU football team spent Tuesday night visiting Brandon Woods retirement community in west Lawrence. The Jayhawks have gone to Brandon Woods for two straight years and have spent time visiting with the residents, passing out souvenirs and showing a highlight tape of their season.