This is the first in an eight-part series breaking down the Cal Poly football team’s depth chart.
Who’s back: Senior all-conference cornerbacks Chris Fletcher and Karlton Dennis were 12-game starters a year ago and they will be counted on to guide a young secondary this fall. Fletcher’s 68 tackles ranked third on the team last season and he broke up a team-leading 10 passes with 11 more defended. An interesting side note: Fletcher’s father, Christopher Fletcher Sr., played seven seasons in the NFL for the San Diego Chargers and intercepted 13 passes during his career. Dennis tied for the team lead with three interceptions and recorded 44 tackles in 2014. Senior Kaulin Blair likely will take over one of the starting safety spots vacated by the graduation of Dave Douglas and Jordan Williams. Blair made 16 tackles and played in all 12 games as a reserve last season.
Who’s new: B.J. Nard’s path to the starting lineup has been anything but ordinary. After redshirting in 2012, Nard missed the entire 2013 and 2014 seasons because of injuries. After a healthy spring, the 6-foot, 195-pound junior is set to see the field for the first time in a Cal Poly uniform. Kevin Griffin, a sophomore transfer from Washington State, is expected to challenge Nard and Blair for playing time. Sophomores Aaron Johnson and Aaryn Bouzos could compete for time at safety, as could Mekai Sheffie and Jerek Rosales at cornerback. Safety Kitu Humphrey impressed teammates early in camp, and he’s among a group of talented true freshmen that could anchor the secondary for years to come.
Fletcher’s take: “Corner is probably going to be our strength secondary-wise just because our wisdom that we have. A lot of experience back there as far as being on an island, having the mental capacity to play the high and lows of games.”
Projected depth chart:
CB: Chris Fletcher, Sr., 5-9, 185. Fernando Cabico, Sr., 5-10, 170. Matt McNab, Soph., 5-7, 180. Carter Nichols, fr., 5-11, 170.
CB: Karlton Dennis, Sr., 5-10, 185. Mekai Sheffie, RFr., 5-10, 185. Jerek Rosales, Soph., 185. Kameron Dennis, Fr., 5-11, 185.
S: Kaulin Blair, Sr., 5-11. 195. Aaron Johnson, RFr., 6-0, 166. Darren Adjei, Jr., 6-3, 205. Noah Thompson, Fr., 6-2, 195.
S: B.J. Nard, Jr., 6-0, 195. Kevin Griffin, Soph., 5-10, 168. Aaryn Bouzos, Soph., 5-9, 185. Kitu Humphrey, Fr., 5-11, 180.
What to watch: Several gifted athletes are competing for playing time at the safety spots, but only one of the eight players listed on the depth chart has played a down for Cal Poly. That’s Blair. Behind him, transfers Griffin and Darren Adjei each bring some collegiate experience to the group. It will be interesting to watch how Nard, now three years removed from his last high school game, develops into an every-down player. He’s been a vocal, energetic guy in practice who’s been around the program and, if healthy, looks like a potential playmaker.
Other depth charts: Wide receivers