The Nevada Wolf Pack football team, who suffered one of the biggest roster turnovers in recent Pack memory, will be kicking off in less than a month against the New Mexico State Aggies!
Nevada lost its head coach to in-conference foe Colorado State as well as a bevy of transfers. Its top three skill threats — Carson Strong, Cole Turner and Romeo Doubs — elected to go to the NFL and the Pack return less than 30 percent of its production from a year, the lowest in the nation, per ESPN.
Until the start of the season, I will be previewing each unit of its roster each week. So far, we have done quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. Today, we do the offensive lineman — who will have a completely new Union entering 2022.
Cannon played in eight games since joining Nevada prior to the 2020 season. He spent two seasons at Tyler Junior College in Tyler, Texas.
Gardner was the team’s full-time starter at left tackle, starting in all 12 regular season games and was one of their best pass protecting lineman for Carson Strong. He started in all 20 games he played at left tackle across two seasons with the Wolf Pack. Gardner followed Norvell to Colorado State.
Landis graduated; he appeared in nine combined games from 2019-21 with Nevada. He redshirted as a sophomore in 2018 after beginning his collegiate career at American River College in 2017.
Ledbetter, a former team captain, graduates and earned two consective All-Mountain West Honorable Mention awards. He started in 18 career games — including eight of his final ten games at left guard last year.
Orsini, a graduate, was the team’s mainstay at center, starting in all 13 games. Like Ledbetter, he was an All-Mountain West Honorable Mention honoree for two straight seasons while also playing ten games as the top center in 2019. In his three seasons with the Wolf Pack, Orsini started 26 games — including 22 straight games.
Frost is the only returning starter from last year’s team along the offensive line; he is one of six returning starters in total. He was the lone Pack player earning preseason Mountain West honors. Frost helped protect Carson Strong and the Pack passing attack, which ranked sixth in the country in total yards, eighth in red-zone offense and 17th in scoring. Though Frost reportedly got injured in practice (unspecified) and will miss “a while,” per Wilson.
Starck will be competing for one of the four remaining offensive lineman spots — presumably at the other tackle spot — this fall. The former Thurston High School graduate in Springfield, Ore., played in 10 games last sesaon after redshirting as a freshman.
Eldridge, Nevada’s third-highest recruit a year ago (247Sports), did not play last season as a freshman. As a three-star recruit, he chose Nevada over Kansas, Liberty, Hawai’i, Missouri Statel, Louisiana-Monroe, Incarnate Word and Tennessee State, among others.
Hamilton has appeared in eight games across his first four years with the Wolf Pack, including five a year ago. Hamilton was a twp-star recruit out of Reno High School as the 20th-best recruit in the state in the 2018 class, per 247Sports.
Madrigal was the second-ranked offensive lineman recruit in the 2021 class, per 247 Sports. He did not make an appearance last year. He signed over Bucknell, Colorado State, Eastern Michigan, Idaho and Harvard, among others.
Poso was one its second-highest offensive line recruit in its 2020 class and has appeared in 10 games over his Nevada career — nine in 2021. He was a three-star recruit from Branham High School in San Jose, Calif., and chose the Pack over offers from Mountain West’s own Fresno State and New Mexico, as well as William-and-Mary. He was the 152nd-best recruit in the class, per 247Sports.
After redshirting as a freshman at Arizona State, Nunez appeared in a half-dozen games — including three starts at guard — in his first year with Nevada last year after joining last May. The former three-star recruit is the presumptive favorite for one of the guard spots.
Taylor in one game as a redshirt freshman last year. He was California’s 347th-best recruit and 213th-best offensive line recruit, graduating from Yucaipa High School in Yucaipa, Calif., per 247Sports.
Carter, a graduate of Paraclete High School in Lancaster, Calif., has played in just one game over his first three seasons with Nevada.
Any new faces?
Capra appeared in eight games across the last two years with San Diego State and could earn one of the starting spots at guard entering 2022. Out of Placer High School in Auburn, Calif., he was a top-150 recruit in California as a three-star honoree; he originally chose SDSU over Arizona State, Oregon, Air Force and Army West Point, among others.
Here is what Mountain West Connection site manager and recruiting guru Mike Wittmann said about Capra in Nevada’s 2022 recruiting preview:
Joey Capra is a transfer from San Diego State and isn’t short on talent by any means. He was an anchor on his high school line as an athletic guard who excels run blocking. Capra stays low after exploding out of his stance and hits his blockers lower as well, disrupting their center of gravity. He executes his assignment quickly and often keeps moving to make multiple blocks on a play. There is little doubt Joey can play impactful football in college, it’s just a matter of when.
Welch transferred back to Nevada — who spent 2019-20 with the team — after spending one season with American River Community College. He appeared in eight games in 2020 and four in 2019.
Here is what Wittmann said about Welch:
Zac Welch is a lineman with great size, which will suit him best at a tackle position going forward. He can pack on weight to his frame and will need to in order to continue to dominate going forward. Welch is quick to move when the ball is snapped and has quick feet, enabling him to get in the correct position to make his blocks in pass protection. He delivers punishing blocks in run support and is mobile enough to be used to pull. Zac originally signed with Nevada in 2019, then went to a junior college and now is back with the Wolf Pack in hopes to find a spot to play on the line.
Arneson, who transferred from Oregon, made just two appearances after not making one in 2020. Here is Wittmann on Arneson:
Kai is another Oregon transfer entering the mix. He is capable in pass protection, moving backward with smooth football. Arneson is active and mobile in the run game, often being used to pull and break from the line as the lead blocker. He is sound in his technique and knows how to execute his assignment. Kai looks like he can play at tackle and do so effectively for the Wolf Pack.
Feinauer transferred from Colorado State in 2021 and did not make an appearance. He was a graduate of Cheshire High School in Cheshire, Conn.
Wittmann on Feinauer:
Cole transfers in from Colorado State, which is ironic considering all the Nevada players who went to CSU. He mostly played tight end and defensive end in high school, so he is still adding weight and learning the o-line position. Feinauer is quick off the snap and moves around athletically, both traits that will serve him well as an offensive lineman. He packs a lot of strength into his frame and still had a lot of room to grow. Cole is high on potential but is still developing.
Grabowski was an All-League honoree at Modesto Junior College last season. He chose Nevada over Troy, Lousiana Monroe, Idaho State, Missouri State and Bryant, among others.
Having had 30 starts at the FBS level, Petersen played three seasons at Akron before transferring to San Jose State last Dec. He did not play a single game with the Spartans, committing to the Wolf Pack later in the Spring and should be one of the most experienced offensive lineman on the roster.