The Mountain West Conference football media guide has been released, and with it the first depth chart for the 2015 UNLV Rebels. First year coach Tony Sanchez has his work cut out for him. He takes over a program that won just two games a season ago and finished 104th in scoring offense and 113th in scoring defense nationally in 2014. Still, the Sanchez hire along with early verbal commitments from the class of 2016 and the return of explosive sophomore receiver Devonte Boyd has generated significant buzz in Las Vegas. UNLV football will kick off its 2015 campaign at Northern Illinois on September 5th.
The UNLV depth chart features four returning starters on the offensive side of the ball, including Boyd, named first team preseason All-Conference. In 2014 Boyd finished third in the league in receiving yards per game, averaging 75 yards a contest. Again under center for the Rebels will be quarterback Blake Decker. Last season as a junior, Decker ranked third in the MWC throwing for 222 yards a game. Returning starters in bold.
LT: Kyle Saxelid (So.) Patrick Carroll (Jr.)
LG: Eric Noone (Jr). Chris Lopez (So.)
C: Will Kreitler (Jr.) J'Ondray Sanders (So.)
RG: Ron Scoggins (Sr.) Tom Clarkson (Jr.)
RT: J'Ondray Sanders (So.) Charles Howard (Jr.)
TE: Jake Phillips (Sr.) Andrew Price (Jr.)
WR (X): Devonte Boyd (So.) Aaron Criswell (Sr.)
WR (A): Anthony Williams (Sr.) Justin Brown (Fr.)
WR (Z): Kendal Keys (So.) Aaron Criswell (Sr.)
QB: Blake Decker (Sr.) Kurt Palandech (So.)
RB: Keith Whitely (Jr.) David Greene (Jr.)
FB: Marc Philippi (Jr.) George Naufahu (Sr.)
If UNLV is to improve upon last season's record, it will start with defense. The Rebels return five starters from a unit that yielded more than 513 yards and 38 points a game in 2014. Among those starters are Tau Lotulelei and Peni Vea, both who ranked in the top 11 in the league in tackles last season. Returning starters in bold.
DE: Sonny Sanitoa (Sr.) Mark Finau (So.)
DT: Mike Hughes, Jr. (So.) Dominic Baldwin (Jr.)
DT: Tuli Fakauho (Sr.) Sonny Sanitoa (Sr.)
DE: Iggy Porchia (Jr.) Joseph Salazar (Fr.)
SLB: Matt Lea (So.) Najee Johnson (Sr.)
MLB: Ryan McAleenan (Jr.) Trent Langham (Jr.)
WLB: Tau Lotulelei (Jr.) Kimble Jensen (Sr.)
CB: Torry McTyer (Jr.) Charles Henry (Fr.)
SS: Peni Vea (Sr.) Troy Hawthorne (Jr.)
FS: Blake Richmond (Sr.) Kenny Keys (Sr.)
CB: Fred Wilson (Sr.) Chazz Eldridge (Fr.)
Kicker Jonathan Leiva and punter Logan Yunker both return for the Rebels. In 2014 Leiva connected on 32 of 33 extra points and 11 of 17 field goal attempts. Yunker ranked 10th in the MWC, averaging 40.5 yards a punt. Returning starters in bold.
PK: Jonathan Leiva (Sr.)
KO: Nicolari Bornand (Jr.)
P: Logan Yunker (Sr.)
H: Logan Yunker (Sr.)
LS: Dakota Shackleton (Sr.)