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Walk-on Reid Nelson wins starting punter job in Week 1

Vanderbilt has released its first official depth chart of the 2016 season, and there are few surprises.

NCAA Football: Vanderbilt at South Carolina Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

The Vanderbilt Commodores released their two-deep for the season opener against the South Carolina Gamecocks on Thursday night, and there are a handful of relatively minor surprises, but few major surprises.

The closest thing to a major surprise is junior walk-on Reid Nelson being named the starting punter ahead of touted freshman Sam Loy. Nelson has not played at all in two seasons with the Commodores. Also, redshirt sophomore Bruno Reagan beat out fellow sophomore Bailey Granier for the starting job at right guard, while sophomore Justin Skule will open the season as the starting right tackle. Interestingly, just three true freshmen are listed anywhere on the two-deep, but aside from Loy, they’re probably not the names you would expect: true freshman Devin Cochran will back up Will Holden at left tackle, and Bailey McElwain is the backup fullback behind Dallas Rivers (who’s also listed as the second-string halfback.) The back of the Commodores’ defense is a bit unsettled, with both safety spots having “OR” designations in Week 1 — an indication that no clear starter has emerged at either position. The only other spot with an “OR” designation is defensive tackle, but that’s more a reflection of the Commodores likely rotating Adam Butler and Torey Agee.

The most notable absence from the two-deep is Darrius Sims, who’s not listed at RB, WR, KR, or PR. Sims returned two kicks for touchdowns the last time South Carolina came to Nashville. No word on whether Sims is injured or if Mason intends to play him on Thursday night.

The full depth chart:


QB: Kyle Shurmur (6’4’/223 Soph., Philadelphia, PA); Wade Freebeck (6’5”/225 Jr., Davie, FL)

RB: Ralph Webb (5’10”/202 RSJr., Gainesville, FL); Dallas Rivers (6’1”/225 Jr., Stone Mountain, GA)

FB: Dallas Rivers (6’1”/225 Jr., Stone Mountain, GA); Bailey McElwain (6’1”/238 Fr., Trussville, AL)

WR: Trent Sherfield (6’1”/200 Jr., Danville, IL); Caleb Scott (6’2”/202 Jr., Suwanee, GA)

WR: C.J. Duncan (5’11”/203 RSJr., Montgomery, AL); Latevius Rayford (6’1”/202 Sr., Memphis, TN)

TE: Nathan Marcus (6’5”/244 RSJr., Glen Ellyn, IL); Sean Dowling (6’5”/265 Sr., Fallbrook, CA)

LT: Will Holden (6’7”/312 RSSr., Green Cove Springs, FL); Devin Cochran (6’7”/305 Fr., Norcross, GA)

LG: Delando Crooks (6’5”/305 RSJr., Atlanta, GA); Egidio DellaRipa (6’4”/295 Jr., Castaic, CA)

C: Barrett Gouger (6’4”/305 RSSr., Soddy-Daisy, TN); Ean Pfeifer (6’4”/290 RSFr., Bentonville, AR)

RG: Bruno Reagan (6’3”/310 RSSoph., Clarksville, TN); Bailey Granier (6’6”/320 RSSoph., Galliano, LA)

RT: Justin Skule (6’6”/305 Soph., Clifton, VA); Jared Southers (6’4”/308 RSFr., South Orange, NJ)


DE: Jonathan Wynn (6’4”/255 RSJr., Stone Mountain, GA); Dare Odeyingbo (6’2”/262 Soph., Irving, TX)

DT: Adam Butler (6’5”/295 RSSr., Duncanville, TX) OR Torey Agee (6’4”/285 RSSr., Opelika, AL)

DE: Nifae Lealao (6’5”/312 Jr., Sacramento, CA); Nehemiah Mitchell (6’4”/260 Sr., Hayward, CA)

OLB: Landon Stokes (6’4”/240 RSJr., Orlando, FL); Charles Wright (6’3”/237 RSSoph., Irvine, CA)

ILB: Zach Cunningham (6’4”/230 RSJr., Pinson, AL); Josh Smith (6’4”/236 Soph., Murfreesboro, TN)

ILB: Nigel Bowden (6’1”/240 RSJr., Macon, GA); Ja’karri Thomas (6’1”/225 RSSr., Tallahassee, FL)

OLB: Oren Burks (6’3”/222 RSJr., Fairfax Station, VA); Caleb Peart (6’1”/234 RSFr., Chandler, AZ)

CB: Torren McGaster (6’0”/198 RSSr., Daphne, AL); Taurean Ferguson (5’9”/190 RSJr., Jonesboro, GA)

SS: Emmanuel Smith (6’2”/219 Jr., Murfreesboro, TN) OR LaDarius Wiley (6’1”/205 Jr., Los Angeles, CA)

FS: Arnold Tarpley (6’1”/200 Jr., Pittsburgh, PA) OR Ryan White (5’9”/190 RSJr., Louisville, KY)

CB: Tre Herndon (6’1”/188 Jr., Chattanooga, TN); Bryce Lewis (6’0”/185 RSSoph., Lilburn, GA)

Special Teams

K: Tommy Openshaw (6’2”/195 RSJr., Jacksonville, FL); Hayden Lekacz (6’0”/193 Jr., Glen Ellyn, IL)

P: Reid Nelson (6’2”/215 Jr., Hueytown, AL); Sam Loy (6’1”/195 Fr., San Clemente, CA)

Holder: Wilson Johnson (6’2”/212 Sr., Nashville, TN)

PR: C.J. Duncan (5’11”/203 RSJr., Montgomery, AL) OR Ryan White (5’9”/190 RSJr., Louisville, KY)

KR: C.J. Duncan (5’11”/203 RSJr., Montgomery, AL); Dallas Rivers (6’1”/225 Jr., Stone Mountain, GA)

LS: Wilson Johnson (6’2”/212 Sr., Nashville, TN)

SN: Jacob Schultz (6’4”/235 Sr., Murfreesboro, TN)