Southern Miss is just one game into the season and the team's depth chart has already undergone major changes.
It's no surprise that the “or” has been removed between Nick Mullens and Tyler Matthews at quarterback. Mullens played every snap Saturday in the 34-16 loss to Mississippi State and it appears as if he has a firm grasp on the top spot. However, his Saturday's 2:30 p.m. home game against Austin Peay will likely give Matthews his first shot at playing time if USM builds a significant lead.
The biggest changes on offense are at tight end, where redshirt junior Ricky Parks is the starter and redshirt freshman Jay'Shawn Washington is the backup. A week ago, junior college transfers Taylor Marini and Julian Allen were listed one and two, but injuries kept them off the field.
Both Parks and Washington played well against MSU, combining for four catches for 82 yards. Washington had the game's lone touchdown reception.
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Washington left Saturday's game with an injury, but his presence on the depth chart gives hope that he can play Saturday against Austin Peay. The only two other tight ends on the roster, William Potosky III and B.J. Bailey, are both non-scholarship freshmen.
The more shallow USM gets at tight end the more likely it is that H-back Daythan Davis, who had one catch for 18 yards Saturday, will factor into the passing game.
True freshman Reid Rials, who played quarterback at Satsuma (Ala.) High School last season, appears on the depth chart for the first time this week as the backup to Casey Martin in the slot receiver position. He replaces Tyre'oune Holmes, who did not play Saturday.
Senior receiver Mike Thomas, who also left Saturday's game with an injury, is still listed on the depth chart with redshirt freshman Jordan Mitchell backing him up.
With Korey Robertson and D.J. Thompson leading the way, USM's receivers looked good Saturday, but that position is quickly becoming problematic with the injuries piling up.
The most changes come on the defensive side of the ball with Michael Smith moving from defensive end to defensive tackle, where he spent the spring and most of fall camp. This is likely the result of what appeared to be a serious left leg injury to starting nose tackle Wil Freeman, who was left off the depth chart on Monday.
Six-foot-1, 250-pound Darian Yancey replaces Smith at defensive end and redshirt stophomore Xavier Thigpen is backing him up. Senior Kansas transfer Andrew Bolton moves into Freeman's spot at nose tackle.
Anthony Swain, who saw time off the bench at middle linebacker Saturday, moves to weakside linebacker this week. Terrick Wright will back him up. Junior C.J. Perry will back up Brian Anderson at middle linebacker.
Sherrod Ruff, who started at the spur last week and was also hobbled by an injury at one point, moves to second string behind Elijah Parker at the spur. Parker was at weakside linebacker last week.
Areas that remain mostly unchanged on the depth chart are offensive line, running back and the secondary.
WEEK 2 ROSTER
WR (X) 88 MIKE THOMAS 6-1, 200, Sr.
80 Jordan Mitchell 6-3, 202, Fr.
WR (H) 83 CASEY MARTIN 5-10, 180, RSr.
81 Reid Rials 6-1, 185, Fr.
LT 73 RASHOD HILL 6-6, 309, RSr.
52 Tyler Stutzman 6-4, 275, Jr.
LG 75 OLIVER BATES 6-2, 295, RJr.
77 Jacob Fleming 6-4, 302, Jr.
C 70 CAMERON TOM 6-4, 287, Jr.
68 Brandon Farmer 6-3, 308, RJr.
RG 78 DEVIN FARRIOR -or- 6-4, 304, RSo.
74 Jerry Harris 6-3, 302, RSo.
RT 72 NORMAN PRICE 6-4, 311, Sr.
66 Andrew Peterson 6-6, 300, RSr.
WR (Z) 5 D.J. THOMPSON 6-3, 198, RJr.
18 Korey Robertson 6-1, 210, RFr.
TE 89 RICKY PARKS 6-3, 270, RJr.
22 Jay’Shawn Washington 6-1, 240, RFr.
QB 9 NICK MULLENS 6-1, 196, Jr.
16 Tyler Matthews 6-4, 215, RJr.
RB 30 JALEN RICHARD -or- 5-8, 210, Sr.
7 JUSTICE HAYES -or- 5-10, 194, RSr.
25 ITO SMITH 5-9, 195, So.
DE 22 DARIAN YANCEY 6-1, 250, RFr.
32 Xavier Thigpen 6-5, 240, RSo.
DT 91 MICHAEL SMITH 6-4, 285, RSr.
99 Quincy Russell 6-4, 330, RSr.
Nose 95 ANDREW BOLTON 6-3, 304, RSr.
90 Rod Crayton -or- 6-1, 287, RSo.
9 Draper Riley 6-4, 289, RSo.
Bandit 94 DYLAN BRADLEY 6-1, 265, Jr.
92 Naim Mustafaa 6-4, 250, So.
WLB 31 ANTHONY SWAIN 6-2, 250, RSr.
14 Terrick Wright 6-2, 225, RSr.
MLB 18 BRIAN ANDERSON 5-10, 240, Sr.
40 C.J. Perry 6-0, 233, Jr.
Spur 16 ELIJAH PARKER 6-2, 220, Jr.
37 Sherrod Ruff 5-10, 215, So.
CB 3 CORNELL ARMSTRONG 5-11, 180, So.
19 Curtis Mikell 5-8, 170, So.
Safety 12 D’NERIUS ANTOINE 6-0, 215, Jr.
13 Picasso Nelson Jr. 5-10, 195, So.
Safety 15 DEVONTA FOSTER 6-0, 190, Jr.
8 Deshadrick Truly 6-0, 195, Jr.
CB 11 KALAN REED 5-11, 195, Sr.
2 Trae Collins 5-11, 184, RSo.