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Projected Depth Charts Anyway: Offensive Line
EMU loses its starting left tackle from 2019, but it's solid otherwise.
This is arguably Eastern Michigan’s deepest position on the team. Of the five spots along the line, only one starting position is vacant due to graduation. EMU has 22 offensive linemen on its roster and 16 of them were ready to take part in the spring practices until the coronavirus shut everything down. I’ve already gone over what the depth charts could’ve looked like for the skilled players on offense (note: tight ends still coming), but none of them are moving the ball without these guys blocking up front.
This is an ongoing series where even though there was no spring for these players (only one practice), we take a look at the roster and see what the depth charts could’ve looked like for this team.
#76 Richard Bates Jr. (R-Jr.) — Bates played three games for EMU in 2019 after he transferred from Independence C.C. Bates played center backup to Mike Van Hoeven, and played his high school ball in Louisiana (Kenner, La. / Scotlandville Magnet).
#54 Zack Conti (R-Fr.) — Conti joined EMU as a walk-on recruit from Trenton, Mich. (Trenton); did not play in 2019.
#69 Jake Donnellon (R-Sr.) — Donnellon returns as the most experienced Eagle along the O-line with 38 career games played. After he sat with a redshirt in 2016, Donnellon never missed a game for EMU with three starts in 2017, three in 2018, and five last year. He plays at both guard spots, and made his final four starts on the right side. (Ypsilanti, Mich. / Ann Arbor Gabriel Richard)
#73 Brian Dooley (R-So.) — Dooley’s an Ohio native (Bowling Green, Ohio / Toledo St. John’s Jesuit) that sat out all of 2018 with a redshirt, and then started every game last year at right tackle.
#74 Dimitri Douglas (R-So.) — Whether or not Douglas is immediately eligible to play the 2020 season will depend on whether or not the NCAA approves his waiver. Douglas is an in-state transfer (Saline, Mich. / Saline) from Michigan State that came to EMU over the winter. When he signs his letter of intent with the team in December, he’ll officially become the highest-rated recruit to ever come into Eastern Michigan (247sports.com composite score: 0.8688, 3-star).
Jason Eaton (Fr.) — Incoming freshman from Clarksville, Tenn. (Clarksville). By 247sports, Eaton was EMU’s highest-rated O-lineman to sign in December.
Evan Egan (Fr.) —Incoming freshman from Durand, Mich. (Durand) who signed with EMU in February as a preferred walk-on.
Daniel Greene (Fr.) — Incoming freshman from Goodrich, Mich. (Goodrich) who signed with EMU in February as a preferred walk-on.
#68 Alex Howie (R-So.) — Played one game (at Akron) as a redshirt-freshman last year. On the depth chart, Howie was listed as the backup right tackle for the final three games of 2019. (Canton, Mich. / Salem)
#71 Marcellus Johnson (R-So.) — Johnson was listed as the backup left tackle to Steve Nielsen last season and appeared in every game as a redshirt-freshman. (Normal, Ill. / Normal Community)
#67 Broderick Jordan (R-Fr.) — Jordan was an in-state center signee (Lansing, Mich. / Okemos) last year and sat out with a redshirt his first year on campus.
#61 Zack Kadri (R-Jr.) — Kadri came to EMU from way out West in 2019 (Lynwood, Wash. / Mountlake Terrace HS, Reedley College) after playing 18 games for his junior college program. Kadri did not play and redshirted his first year with the Eagles.
#79 Jimi McAdams IV (R-Fr.) — McAdams was EMU’s highest-rated O-lineman to sign with the team in 2019, and picked EMU over a handful of MAC schools, Cincinnati, and a pair of FCS schools. He did not play his first year on campus. (Parma, Ohio / Padua Franciscan)
#72 William Racely (R-Fr.) — Racely was EMU’s second-highest-rated O-lineman to sign with the team in 2019. He did not play his first year on campus. Racely is from Flushing, Mich. (Flushing).
Mickey Rewolinski (Fr.) — Incoming freshman from Caledonia, Wisc. (Union Grove).
#50 Rafe Reyes (R-So.) — Reyes joined EMU as a walk-on in 2018, and is an in-state player from Chelsea, Mich. (Chelsea).
P.J. Ross (Fr.) — Ross is an incoming freshman from Chicago (Hope Academy, John Hope College) that signed with the team in December. He was originally recruited as a defensive end.
Coleon Smith (Fr.) — Smith is an in-state recruit (Romulus, Mich. / Belleville) who actually just signed his letter of intent with the team last week. Read my story on how Smith ended up at EMU instead of the Power 5 schools that came calling.
#57 Michael Smith Jr. (R-Sr.) — Smith was a rotational guard that saw action in every game for EMU last year. He played thrice in 2018, once in 2017, and redshirted in 2016. Smith is from Frostproof, Fla. (Frostproof).
#62 Sidy Sow (R-Jr.) — Sow returns with the most starts made in his EMU career (23) with 11 at left tackle in 2018 and 12 at left guard in 2019. (Bromont, Quebec / J-H Leclerc-Champlain Lennoxville)
#65 Lucas Tesznar (R-Fr.) — Tesznar joined the team in 2018 as a walk-on and cracked the 2-deep for most of last year, but did not play. Tesznar was listed as the team’s backup right tackle for the first 10 games of the year. (Ottawa Lake, Mich. / Whiteford)
#60 Mike Van Hoeven (R-Sr.) — Van Hoeven is one of two linemen that return with at least 30 games played over his career (35), and was the full-time starting center in 2019. (Paw Paw, Mich. / Paw Paw)
What the 2-deeps could’ve been
Again, these renditions of EMU depth charts are only looking at players that were already on campus for the spring. This is just what the depth chart could have looked like if there would’ve been a full spring season. I’ll put notes after each position along the line to help explain myself through this.
Left tackle: 1. Marcellus Johnson, 2. Zack Kadri OR Dimitri Douglas
All the other spots along the line have their 2019 starters coming back, which means its open season for LT. Johnson was the full-year backup at this spot his first year off a redshirt, but so many other names are in contention to win this. Kadri’s a JUCO transfer that waited out all last year, Douglas may or may not be eligible to play, but he also may or may not be the best lineman on the roster. When I spoke with Chris Crieghton in late February, he told me that he was also expecting to try out McAdams and Sow for the position.
Left guard: 1. Sidy Sow, 2. Michael Smith Jr.
Simple; this was the exact same two-deep from all of 2019.
Center: 1. Mike Van Hoeven, 2. Richard Bates
Simple; this was the exact same two-deep from all of 2019.
Right guard: 1. Jake Donnellon, Michael Smith Jr.
I moved Smith to both backup guard roles because, well, he’ll probably end up playing both spots over the course of a normal season. Donnellon started the final four games at right guard
Right tackle: 1. Brian Dooley, 2. Alex Howie OR Lucas Tesznar
Howie got to play in a game last year, but Tesznar did not. Both, however, were backup RTs last year, so I have them both at No. 2 in 2020 spring with Dooley as the second-year starter.
Some spring questions I had in my notebook
Duh: Who holds it down the best at left tackle?
How much more, if at all, will Sidy Sow move along the line?
How different does this line look with and without Dimitri Douglas on the field?
Who simply needs more work before they see the field?
These scholarship players are all coming off redshirt years. Generally I want to know how they see themselves fitting into EMU’s OL now that they’ve spent a year with the program: Zack Kadri (from JUCO), Jimi McAdams, Lucas Tesznar, William Racely, and Broderick Jordan.