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Colorado State Rams release first 2018 depth chart

Colorado State’s first depth chart of the 2018 season was released Saturday by coach Mike Bobo.

The Rams have officially named their starters with the season-opener against Hawaii at Canvas Stadium only one week away. 

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Graduate transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels has been named the starting quarterback after battling for the job in fall camp. Redshirt freshman Justice McCoy and sophomore Collin Hill, who appears to be close to full health, have been listed as backups.

As expected, Izzy Matthews will handle lead running back duties while Marcus McElroy earned the backup role. 

Running backs Rashaad Boddie and Marvin Kinsey Jr. are not on the opening depth chart but they are expected to play a role in the running back rotation. 

Olabisi Johnson and Preston Williams will be starting receivers. Popular breakout candidate Warren Jackson is listed as CSU’s starting “flanker”, a receiver who typically lines up behind the line of scrimmage.

Freshman receiver Nikko Hall was effective in both of the Rams’ fall scrimmages. As a result, Hall earned the top backup receiver role.  

Center Colby Meeks, left guard Tyler Bjorklund, right guard Jeff Taylor and right tackle Ben Knox will help make up the Rams’ starting offensive line. Barry Wesley will start at left tackle.

To wrap up the offensive starters, Adam Prentice will start at fullback and Cameron Butler will be CSU’s starting tight end.

Freshmen Rashad Ajayi and Devin Phillips impressed new defensive coordinator John Jancek to earn starting gigs. Ajayi is penciled in as CSU’s starting right cornerback and Phillips is set to start at nose tackle.

Graduate transfer V.J. Banks will join Ajayi as the Rams’ starting left cornerback.

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Now operating in a 4-3 defense, Richard King and Emmanuel Jones will both be starting defensive ends.

Ellison Hubbard is CSU’s starting defensive tackle while Livingston Paogofie will back him up. The Rams’ coaching staff has liked what they’ve seen out of Paogofie throughout fall camp. Though he is not starting, Paogofie will still most likely play a role on defense.

The Rams enter the season with an experienced linebacker core.

Josh Watson, who led CSU in tackles last season, will start at middle linebacker. Joining Thomas are strongside linebacker Tre Thomas and weakside linebacker Max McDonald.

CSU also displays some depth at safety. As anticipated, Jordan Fogal and Jamal Hicks, who both are coming off of injuries, will be the starters in the secondary. Braylin Scott has been listed as Fogal’s replacement and freshman Quinn Brinnon, who has put forth a successful camp, will back Hicks up.

Special teams-wise, the Rams present the same kicker-punter duo from last season. Wyatt Bryan maintained placekicking duties while sophomore Ryan Stonehouse will be CSU’s starting punter for the second consecutive season. Johnson will be in the backfield to return punts and McElroy is the Rams’ kick returner.

Collegian sports reporter Eddie Herz can be reached at sports@collegian.com or on Twitter @Eddie_Herz.

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