It’s almost hard to believe that game week is finally here, isn’t it? Today, Dino Babers and the Syracuse football program released the first official depth chart of the season, and for the most part… well, it looks like we more or less thought it would look, with a few notable (if mild) surprises.

For the most part, both the offense and defense look about the way we expected, with Zack Mahoney edging Tommy DeVito for the backup quarterback spot, while Jamal Custis beat out Devin Butler for the second outside receiver position. Interestingly, both Nykeim Johnson and Sharod Johnson find themselves on the 2-deep – but the surprise here is that Sharod Johnson isn’t on there as a slot, but instead as the backup for Steve Ishmael.

Over on the defensive side of the ball, one mild surprise is Kayton Samuels holding off McKinley Williams for the starting nose tackle job, though Williams will certainly be on the field plenty this year. Scoop Bradshaw and Chris Fredrick were able to hold onto their starting corner positions, which leads into an early trend of this year’s graduate transfers all serving in backup roles, at least for now.

Austin Valdez, Jordan Martin, and Devin Butler will all be coming off the bench to begin the year, it appears, though it would be far from surprising to see each emerge as the weeks go on.

Finally, on the special teams front, interestingly it’s Antwan Cordy, and not a true freshman such as Nykeim Johnson, who will open the season trying to fill the big shoes of punt returner Brisly Estime. Also, Cole Murphy holds onto the starting placekicker job, though it wouldn’t be surprising to see Sterling Hofrichter quickly replace him if Murphy continues last season’s struggles to open the year.

Only a few more days until the season kicks off. I know I’m ready… are you?

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Jeff is a 2003 graduate of Syracuse University, and has been published on various websites including,,,, and, among others. His work was featured in the New York Times bestselling book You Might Be a Zombie and Other Bad News. He's got a wife, and a toddler he's brainwashing to love Syracuse. Jeff's a pretty great guy, overall, and would never steal your car. Follow him on Twitter: @jekelish