This is the sixth in an eight-part series breaking down the Cal Poly football team’s depth chart.
Who’s back: Early in camp coach Tim Walsh praised the play of defensive tackles Marcus Paige-Allen and Augustino Elisaia. Paige-Allen earned third-team all-Big Sky honors as a sophomore and could be a force within the conference this fall. Defensive end Logan Mayes returns for his senior season, as does all-conference junior end Josh Letuligasenoa. The 6-foot-2, 260-pound Letuligasenoa recorded the fourth-most tackles on the team last year with 65 and tied for the team lead with three sacks. However, he enters fall camp third on the depth chart on Mayes’ side. Arroyo Grande High alumnus Kelly Shepard is expected to start at the other defensive end position, followed by juniors Colin Dzubnar, Caleb Melton and Nate Shipley.
Who’s new: San Luis Obispo High graduate Jack Ferguson made a position change during the offseason, switching from linebacker to defensive end. The Mustangs could use some more depth along the defensive front after the graduation of all-conference players Chris Lawrence and Chris Judge. Junior Jason Patterson is back after he missed the entire 2014 season following a knee injury suffered in the spring game that year. Patterson is listed as Elisaia’s backup on the fall depth chart.Head coach Tim Walsh’s take:
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“If there are questions of how good we’re going to be, it’s going to be on the defensive side of the ball. There’s nothing like going to Missoula, Montana, to find out and then follow it up with Arizona State.”
Projected depth chart:
DE: Logan Mayes, Sr., 6-2, 250. Jack Ferguson, Soph., 6-2, 245. Josh Letuligasenoa, Jr., 6-2, 260. Jake Hanson, Fr., 6-3, 210.
DT: Marcus Paige-Allen, Jr., 5-11, 260. Tyler Alsey, Sr., 6-2, 265. Andrew Hauser, Soph., 6-3, 265. Cutler Salmon, Fr., 6-5, 245.
DT: Augustino Elisaia, Soph., 6-0, 315. Jason Patterson, Jr., 6-1. Dylan Gutierrez, Sr., 6-4, 265. Tiasamo Savusa, RFr., 6-1, 290.
DE: Kelly Shepard, Jr., 6-4, 245. Colin Dzubnar, Jr., 6-3, 235. Caleb Melton, Jr., 6-3, 225. Nate Shipley, Jr., 6-4, 215.
What to watch: This group will be challenged early and often this season. Paige-Allen has the most starting experience along a defensive line that has several questions in need of answering over the next few weeks. Shepard and Mayes, who combined for 31 tackles last season, will be counted on for increased production in 2015. That can pretty much be said across the board here for one of Cal Poly’s youngest position groups. There are two seniors among the 16 names listed on the fall depth chart — Tyler Alsey and Dylan Gutierrez. As Walsh alluded to before camp began, the first three games should be telling. “I think we’re going to find out pretty quick what we need to do for the next nine games after that,” Walsh said. “Whether we’re on the right path or do we need to make some adjustments in maybe even who we are?”