UNLV’s depth chart offers some surprises for opener vs. Howard

UNLV has released its depth chart for Saturday’s 6 p.m. season opener against Howard at Sam Boyd Stadium.

Some takeaways:

— Junior wide receiver Kendal Keys is not listed. He returned on a limited basis to practice on Thursday after being out with a right knee injury, so his omission is an indication coaches aren’t optimistic he will play this weekend.

Mekhi Stevenson is listed as even with fellow sophomore wide receiver Brandon Presley. Stevenson had a good training camp, but this looked like Presley’s job to lose. Even so, UNLV will play several receivers, so who starts isn’t as important.

— Sophomore Charles Williams and junior Lexington Thomas are listed as even at running back. That speaks to the outstanding camp that Thomas put together because it looked like Williams’ position. Regardless, both backs were always going to get a lot of carries, so the actual starter doesn’t mean a lot.

— Junior Xzaviar Campbell is listed at third-team running back. He has been in a fight with freshman Tariq Hollandsworth and junior Evans Owens. Hollandsworth practiced really well, but redshirting him would be a tremendous benefit in the coming seasons.

— Senior J’Ondray Sanders, who went to Basic High School, is the No. 2 center to junior Zack Singer of Bishop Gorman. Coaches tried different players at the backup spot, including junior starting right tackle Nathan Jacobson, so Sanders did what was necessary to keep the reserve role going into the opener.

— Sophomore Gabe McCoy remains the starter at strongside linebacker. Sophomore Javin White moved there from safety late in camp and received first-team repetitions.

— Junior Dalton Baker is listed as the starting free safety, which is surprising because sophomore Evan Austrie practiced in front of him throughout camp.

More Rebels: Follow all of our UNLV coverage online at reviewjournal.com/Rebels and @RJRebels on Twitter.

Contact Mark Anderson at manderson@reviewjournal.com. Follow @markanderson65 on Twitter.

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