Ranking the SEC’s offensive linemen for 2013
- Head coaches
- Backup quarterbacks
- Running backs
- Wide receivers
- Tight Ends
- Offensive linemen
- Defensive ends
- Defensive tackles
Now, it’s time to turn our attention to the big uglies on the offensive line. Remember, we’re ranking these prospects on the impact they’ll make in 2013, not just digesting last year’s results.
There are a plethora of top offensive linemen for 2013, and these 10 are some of the best around the entire country. The SEC is a line of scrimmage league, and these 10 will push you around, including the three mammoth NFL franchise offensive tackles:
1. Antonio Richardson, OT, Tennessee (JR)
2. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama (JR)
3. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (SR)
This is one man’s opinion, but Antonio Richardson may be the premier talent at tackle in the SEC. He’s bigger than Cyrus Kouandjio at 6-6, 325 pounds, and he moves like he weighs a buck-50 with smooth footwork. Just ask Jadeveon Clowney who the best tackle he’s played against is, and he’ll tell you Richardson. I love this kid’s game, and he’s the anchor of the SEC’s top O-line… Most have Cyrus Kouandjio as the No. 1 overall lineman in the league, and I’m good with that. But I just think Richardson has a higher ceiling and will explode this season. Nonetheless, Kouandjio was a part of arguably the best offensive line in the history of college football in 2012, and he’s the anchor at left tackle that AJ McCarron knows will help him keep his jersey clean…Jake Matthews is very versatile. He’s athletic enough to play guard or tackle, and he’s making the switch from right tackle to left, replacing Luke Joeckel. Matthews is a hawse at 6-5, 305, and he plays bigger than he actually is. Could Matthews bring home the Outland Trophy for TAMU in back-to-back seasons? Look out.
4. Travis Swanson, C, Arkansas (SR)
5. Gabe Jackson, OG, Mississippi State (SR)
6. Ja’Wuan James, OT, Tennessee (SR)
Travis Swanson may be the best center in the country. Playing for a coach who’s known to put O-linemen in the NFL bolsters Swanson’s stock next spring. Arkansas may not be very good on offense, but the one guy who Bielema can count on is one of the biggest freaks in the SEC…Gabe Jackson has been a staple on MSU’s O-line since he was a redshirt freshman, and he’s the top guard the SEC has to offer. His giant 6-4, 335-pound frame can move a semi, and he’s a road grader, paving the way for the Bulldogs’ running game…Ja’Wuan James combines with Tiny Richardson to create the SEC’s top tackle tandem. If you think Richardson is large, James is the same size at 6-6, 325. Butch Jones may not have many skill position players, but he has the top O-line to pave the way for the running game.
7. Wesley Johnson, OT, Vanderbilt (SR)
Wesley Johnson is often overlooked not playing for a storied tradition. But he’s the most versatile lineman in the SEC and started 38 career games at four different positions and has never been called for a holding penalty. Who’s counting anyway? He will anchor the Commodores’ line at left tackle.
A trio of guards
8. Zac Fulton, OG, Tennessee (SR)
9. Anthony Steen, OG, Alabama (SR)
10. AJ Cann, OG, South Carolina (JR)
As if the Vols’ tackle tandem isn’t enough, guard Zac Fulton checks in at No. 8. He sometimes gets lost in the mix and talk of Richardson and James, but Fulton is a road grader, and several scouts are in love with his game. Did I mention Tennessee’s O-line is going to be good?…Anthony Steen is the weathered veteran of the group and was the unsung hero of what could be the best O-line to ever play college football last year for Bama. He’s a three-year starter looking for his fourth championship ring and blocking for one of the best running backs in college football in TJ Yeldon…AJ Cann is the fourth-ranked guard entering 2013 and will be the best prospect of a much-improved Gamecocks’ O-line. Cann is a two-year starter and will help pave the way for the unheralded Carolina offense.
Photo Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports