April 13, 2012
NEW ORLEANS -Tulane head football coach Curtis Johnson released the Green Wave's official post-spring depth chart today and 14 returning starters, along with several new faces, featured on the two-deep.
"We had a very good spring season and I was very pleased with the progress the team made with just the 15 practices," Johnson said. "I thought we finished ahead of schedule and that will put us in good shape heading into fall camp. We need to finish our semester on a strong note academically and work hard over the summer if we're going to be successful next fall.
"We took a hard look out our personnel prior to and following spring practices and moved some guys to different positions. I believe we are putting our players in the best possible positions to be successful."
Offensively, six players return to the starting roles they held down a year ago, including senior Ryan Griffin (quarterback), junior Orleans Darkwa (running back), sophomore Matt Marfisi (tight end), junior Wilson Van Hooser (receiver) and seniors Zach Morgan (center) and Eric Jones (right tackle).
On defense, five players are back in their starting roles including seniors Austen Jacks (defensive end), Shakiel Smith (strong safety), Ryan Travis (cornerback), Trent Mackey (middle linebacker) and Darryl Farley (strong-side lineback).
Several new faces are in the fold on offense, beginning with redshirt-freshman Nate Skold (left tackle), redshirt-sophomore Adam Skidmore (left guard), and redshirt-junior Rio Mares each make their debut in starting positions, while redshirt-freshman Arturo Uzdavinis (left tackle), sophomore Dante Butler (running back) and redshirt-freshman Leon Blouin, IV (quarterback) find their names on the two-deep at the No. 2 spots.
Among the new starters on defense, the one name that stands out is that of first-year freshman Jordan Batiste, who turned in a solid spring during his first semester of college and earned the starting nod at left cornerback. Other first time notable starters include sophomores Michael Pierce, Jr. (defensive end) and Kenny Welcome (nose tackle).
The newest back-ups are redshirt-freshmen Aaron Bryant (defensive end) and Corey Redwine (nose tackle), sophomores Ray Oppman (strong-side linebacker), L.J. Parker (right cornerback) and Brandon LeBeau made the move from receiver to back-up free safety during the spring and cemented his name as a back-up.
The Green Wave specialists are unchanged from last season for the most part. The junior duo of Cairo Santos (kicker) and Jonathan Ginsburgh (punter) return as does senior John Edwards (deep snapper), while junior Ryan Rome resumes his role as the holder.
In the return game, sophomore Robert Kelley returns after a record-setting year as the Wave's kick-off returner and he will be joined by junior Derrick Strozier, who also returns the TU's primary punt returner. Wilson Van Hooser will back-up Strozier.