The summer months are now upon us, and we continue to get closer to the college football season. With the progression in the offseason, we also progress in our rankings. This week features the offensive line. However, instead of individual players, we will go by team. These rankings will be the last of the offensive players, with next week’s being defensive lineman. Let’s get into it.
Be sure to check out all of Charlie’s College Football Positional Rankings.
1. Ohio State
Losing Wyatt Davis and Josh Myers is a tough blow for the Buckeyes but they should be able to get past this comfortably. The team brings back a pair of tackles in Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere. This duo will definitely be the best tackle tandem in the country, and that’s not all they’ve got. Former top-10 recruit Paris Johnson Jr. will man one of the guard spots and another former five-star, Harry Miller, will slot in on this line. The talent is all there for Ohio State to have the best protection in the country, and they should do just that.
2. Iowa State
Iowa State has appeared on every one of these rankings aside from wide receiver, and twice they have had the number one player in Breece Hall and Charlie Kolar. Now, they are back in the thick of it with several really experienced players. All five of the Cyclones’ starters in 2021 have started in previous seasons for a number of games. Every one of these players started in the first game of the season last year before guard Trevor Downing went down with an injury. Their experience and work as a unit should cement this lineup as the best in the Big 12 conference, and they will seriously contend for the top spot in the country by the end of the year.
The Crimson Tide always has a fantastic line, and it’s no different this year. Yes, they lost three key starters and stars in the college football world: Deonte Brown, Alex Leatherwood, and Landon Dickerson. However, if there’s one thing head coach Nick Saban is good at, it’s reloading. Tackle Evan Neal is probably the best offensive lineman in the country, and will likely be a top-10 draft pick come next year. Returning starter Emil Ekiyor Jr. is another guy who is rising up the ranks and will likely be one of the better guards in the country. This unit, like Ohio State, is filled with a ton of talent, and will just need a little bit of experience to be great.
Iowa has continued to build a really strong offensive line program, and this year is more of the same. Center Tyler Linderbaum leads the way for this unit, and he will no doubt be a pre-season All-American and a top draft selection next year. The Hawkeyes are a team that is always in the bottom half of the league in sacks allowed each year, and there’s really no reason it would be different in 2021.
Like Iowa, Oklahoma is another team that is traditionally great in the trenches. In a season last year where they were down to their fourth-string running back at times, the Sooners still averaged 180 rushing yards per game because of this line. They will be losing starting center Creed Humphrey, but it seems that they are retaining enough to be great once again. The real X-factor of this unit is Wanya Morris. He is a Tennessee transfer who will take over the starting spot at left tackle, protecting Spencer Rattler‘s blind side. If Morris can live up to his billing, this line will be rock solid.
Want to talk about experience? The Huskies return not only every starter from last year but every second-stringer as well. The team doesn’t really have any true stars on that line, but experience has proven to be key in the trenches. In the four games Washington played, they only allowed two true sacks; the rest were mostly all coverage sacks. This unit puts up the numbers and has the pedigree to rise even farther up the ranks by the end of the year.
Last season, LSU’s offensive line was bad and so was the team. So what puts them into an early top-10 spot? Experience. Every single starter on this line is back, and that’s exciting. The camaraderie built by an offensive line is some of the best in the game and guys getting to do it two years in a row is great for the team. The Tigers now look to build off their linemen in order to re-establish themselves as a power in the sport.
After losing key weapons like Austin Watkins and Spencer Brown, the Blazers look to rebuild in some key areas. However, offensive line is not one of them. The stats for this unit are just insane. They allowed four sacks through nine games and averaged 200 rushing yards per game. The best part is every starter returns. They won’t get any sort of national recognition this year but, if you can, watch for the Blazers and their offensive line.
9. Boston College
This line is really interesting. When watching the Boston College games, it’s nothing special. However, the awards and experience say otherwise. The Eagles return three starters who earned All-ACC honors and another starter who would have last year if not for injury. The experience combined with the true talent should propel this unit to the top of the ACC as they try to protect star quarterback Phil Jurkovec. If they can play like they look on paper, Boston College could actually make a move in the college football ranks this year.
What kind of list would it be without Clemson making it somehow? They did lose star tackle Jackson Carman to the NFL, but the Tigers have their fair share of talent at their disposal. The most notable name on this line would be Matt Bockhorst, the veteran guard who hails from Ohio. Clemson also has some nice young players slotting in, and all five of these guys should do a very solid job at protecting new starting quarterback D.J. Uiagalelei.
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