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Michigan releases first depth chart of the 2014 season, true freshman to start at left tackle

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Michigan releases their first depth chart of the 2014 season with few surprises. True freshman Mason Cole appears to be Michigan's starting left tackle week one against Appalachian State.

Christian Petersen

After much speculation, the basic skeleton of the 2014 Michigan football team is starting to take shape.

The depth chart for Michigan's upcoming game against Appalachian State was released on Monday that saw very few surprises. Aside from the offensive line, a position group full of intense speculation, the offense remains relatively the same as it was during the spring.

Senior Devin Gardner will lead the offense at quarterback with Shane Morris as his backup, this much has been known for months. Sophomore Derrick Green has re-gained his footing as the teams No. 1 back, with fellow sophomore De'Veon Smith his backup. Justice Hayes or Drake Johnson will be the third running back.

As expected, junior Devin Funchess and sophomore Jehu Chesson are listed as the starting receivers. Although slot receiver will see a new face, Dennis Norfleet -- who made the switch to the slot in the offseason -- is now the starter. Backing up Funchess is sophomore Amara Darboh, who is returning from a foot injury suffered last year, and Freddy Canteen is behind Chesson on the depth chart.

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The offensive line has faced scrutiny and speculation as to who will be starting on the line and if that group can fix their troubles. Monday made the speculation a little more clear as we have a basic idea who will be starting against Appalachian State.

The biggest surprise is true freshman Mason Cole getting the starting nod at left tackle. By all accounts, Cole had a strong spring and summer camp which propelled his way up the depth chart. Other established positions include junior Jack Miller starting at center, backed up redshirt freshman Patrick Kugler, sophomore Erik Magnuson is the starting left guard behind sophomore Kyle Bosch and Ben Braden is the starting right tackle with redshirt freshman Logan Tuley-Tillman backing him up.

The one position that still appears to have some question marks surrounding it is the right guard spot. Although senior Joey Burzynski will start, Bosch and sophomore Kyle Kalis are listed as "or" on the depth chart. Kalis, the expected starter at the guard, missed some camp time with an injured back.

On the defensive side of the ball, not much has changed from the spring. Although the linebackers have the most interesting starters.

Senior Jake Ryan or senior Desmon Morgan will be getting the start at the middle linebacker. Morgan also has a chance to start at the weak-side linebacker spot as well, where junior Joe Bolden is listed first on the depth chart. Also somewhat of a surprise, junior Royce Jenkins-Stone is the first player named at the strong-side linebacker position with junior James Ross III or sophomore Allen Gant backing him up.

At cornerback, the elder statesmen redshirt junior Blake Countess and senior Raymon Taylor are starting at cornerback. Sophomore's Terry Richardson or Channing Stribling are behind Countess and sophomore Jourdan Lewis or senior Delonte Hollowell are behind Taylor.

To no one's surprise, freshman Jabrill Peppers will be starting at nickel.

Junior Jarrod Wilson and sophomore Jeremy Clark are Michigan's starting safeties. Sophomore Dymonte Thomas currently sits as the No. 2 safety behind Clark.

Seniors Matt Wile and Will Hagerup are starting kicker and punter respectively, while Norfleet will be the designated kick returner. Peppers is expected to be the starting punt returner.

For more news and notes regarding Michigan Football, follow Joshua Henschke on Twitter: @JoshuaHenschke.