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Army may start up to eight players for the first time, including five on defense, in Friday’s season opener against Rice if its depth chart holds true.

Among the potential first-time starters would be tackles Alex Herndon and Luke McCleery. The Black Knights could be debuting an entirely new starting defensive line with seniors Jacob Covington and Rod Stoddard alongside sophomore Kwabena Bonsu. Though, Army often plays two defensive linemen and five defensive backs.

Senior fullback Connor Slomka and sophomore linebacker Arik Smith are expected to make their first start in key positions.

Army named only two fullbacks – Slomka and junior Sandon McCoy – on the depth chart. Up to five fullbacks were listed last season.

Junior JB Hunter, who started all 13 games at right tackle last season, is listed as the co-No. 2 center behind junior Peyton Reeder.

There are more sophomores (15) than juniors (12) on the two-deep offense and defense.

Kicker Cole Talley is the only freshman that appears on the depth chart. Looks like Talley will handle the kickoffs and be the No. 2 kicker behind Landon Salyers.

Junior defensive end Edriece Patterson, who made two starts in 2018, isn’t on the two-deep. Patterson is coming back from injury.

Offense

QB: Kelvin Hopkins, Sr.; Jabari Laws, Soph. or Christian Anderson, Jr.

FB: Connor Slomka, Sr., Sandon McCoy, Jr.

SB: Kell Walker, Sr.; Malik Hancock, Sr.

SB: Artice Hobbs, Jr.; Brandon Walters, Soph. or Dom Distefano, Jr.

WR: Kjetil Cline, Sr.; Christian Hayes, Sr.

WR: Cam Harrison, Jr.; Mike Roberts, Soph.

TE: Zach Saum, Sr.; Chris Cameron, Soph.

LT: Alex Herndon, Sr.; Mike Johnson, Sr.

LG: Jaxson Deaton, Sr.; Noah Utley, Sr.

C: Peyton Reeder, Jr., JB Hunter, Jr. or Noah Knapp, Soph.

RG: Jack Sides, Sr.; Dean Powell, Soph.

RT: Luke McCleery, Jr.; Zack Ward, Soph. or Kamaron Holloway, Soph.

Defense

DE: Jacob Covington, Sr.; Jake Ellington, Sr.

NT: Rod Stoddard, Sr.; Nick Stokes, Jr.

NG: Kwabena Bonsu, Soph.; Nolan Cockrill, Soph.

SAM LB: Amadeo West, Sr.; Joe Stephenson, Jr.

RUSH LB: Jeremiah Lowery, Jr.; Donavan Lynch, Sr.

MLB: Cole Christiansen, Sr.; Kemonte Yow, Soph.

WILL LB: Arik Smith, Soph.; Ryan Parker, Sr.

CB: Elijah Riley, Sr.; Malkelm Morrison, Soph.

CB: Javhari Bourdeau, Jr.; Akyah Miranda, Soph.

S: Jaylon McClinton, Sr.; Ryan Velez, Sr.

S: Cam Jones, Sr.; Cedrick Cunningham, Soph.

Special teams

K: Landon Salyers, Jr.; Cole Talley, Fr.

P: Zach Potter, Sr.; Zach Harding, Soph.

Kickoff: Cole Talley, Fr.; Landon Salyers, Jr.

LS: Scott Flanick, Sr.; Paul Lawless, Jr.

KR: Brandon Walters, Soph.; AJ Howard, Soph.

PR: Akyah Miranda, Soph.; Javhari Bourdeau, Jr.