UNLV quick hits:

Intital depth chart released for the 2013 UNLV football season

The Rebels also named their team captains, a group that includes three local high school graduates

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UNLV

UNLV sophomore Nick Gstrein is changing positions from tight end to the offensive line and has been taking snaps at center during spring practice.

Ole Miss transfer Frank Crawford will start for UNLV at free safety against Minnesota, the Rebels revealed in their depth chart Tuesday. That was one of two small surprises in the two-deep along with converted tight end Nick Gstrein getting the start at right guard while 2012 starter Ron Scoggins begins the year as a backup.

With 19 starters from last year’s team, there wasn’t much to learn about the guys at the top of the depth chart. A battle at linebacker was essentially decided when senior Max Ehlert was forced to sit out much of fall camp with an injury, so freshman Tau Lotulelei gets the start at weakside linebacker. Lotulelei’s older brother, John, was the Rebels’ leading tackler last year.

Gstrein, a sophomore, had never played offensive line when he went into UNLV coach Bobby Hauck’s office last spring asking what he could do to get more playing time. Hauck moved him to the line, where he took reps at guard and center.

Gstrein also did some work as a halfback, but it was his play at guard that eventually landed him a starting spot above a group including Scoggins, a Bishop Gorman High grad. Crawford’s transition was much more straightforward.

A transfer with one year of eligibility remaining, Crawford came to UNLV on the advice of older brother Dre Crawford, who played in the Rebels’ secondary last year. It was clear during camp that Crawford would likely vault up the depth chart quickly.

The Rebels also announced their team captains Tuesday, and they include three locals. On offense, it’s quarterback Nick Sherry and Desert Oasis High offensive lineman Cameron Jefferson. On defense, it’s Cimarron-Memorial High grad Tim Hasson and Del Sol High product Alex Klorman with linebacker Tani Maka.

Here are the rest of the starters for the Rebels’ game at Minnesota, which kicks off at 4 p.m. Thursday on the Big Ten Network:

Offense

LT — Brett Boyko, Jr

LG — Cameron Jefferson, Jr

C — Robert Waterman, Jr

RG — Nick Gstrein, So

RT — Andrew Oberg, So

TE — Jake Phillips, So

WR — Devante Davis, Jr, and Marcus Sullivan, Jr

QB — Nick Sherry, So

RB — Tim Cornett, Sr

FB/H — Taylor Barnhill, Jr, or Max Johnson, Sr

Defense

DE — Sonny Sanitoa, So, and Jordan Sparkman, Jr

DT — Alex Klorman, Sr, and Mark Garrick, Sr

WLB — Tau Lotulelei, Fr

MLB — Tani Maka, Sr

SLB — Tim Hasson, Sr

CB — Tajh Hasson, Jr, and Sidney Hodge, Sr

SS — Peni Vea, So

FS — Frank Crawford, Sr

Taylor Bern can be reached at 948-7844 or [email protected]. Follow Taylor on Twitter at twitter.com/taylorbern.

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