Ranking the the SEC's top 10 offensive linemen in the BCS era
Related BCS Ranking:
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Quarterbacks in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Running Backs in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Wide Receivers in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Offensive Linemen in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Defensive Linemen in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Linebackers in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Cornerbacks in the BCS era
- Ranking the top 10 SEC Safeties in the BCS era
Offensive line can often be forgotten amidst the bevy of stars at quarterback, wide receiver and other skill positions, but the “big uglies” of the SEC are arguably the most important to the success of the teams in this line of scrimmage league.
Here are the SEC’s top 10 offensive linemen during the BCS era:
1. Barrett Jones, OL, Alabama (2009-12)
The lowdown: There were many reasons why Alabama was so dominant from 2009-12. The Crimson Tide won three national championships during that span and Jones was at a different OL position for all three of them. That’s what made Jones so exceptional. He dominated at both guard positions and center in his final season. It’s doubtful you could find a better leader for an offensive line than Jones either. He commanded not only the respect of his teammates, but the respect of the entire college football world. In both the 2012 SEC Championship and 2013 BCS Championship games he played through a Lisfranc injury and at least two torn ligaments in his foot. He was a consensus All-American in 2011 and 2012 along with winning the Outland Trophy award for outstanding interior lineman in 2011. Jones added the 2012 Rimington award to his mantle, making him one of two linemen ever to win both awards. Jones wasn’t as high of a draft pick as others on this list, but he’s clearly one of the most talented and versatile linemen to ever play in the SEC, let alone in the BCS era.
2. Chris Samuels, OT, Alabama (1996-99)
The lowdown: In the late 1990s, Chris Samuels was easily the best offensive lineman in college football. Now 15 years after he left Alabama, Samuels is still highly regarded as one of the best in SEC history. During his four years at Alabama, started 42 straight games and did not yield a sack. In 1999, he led the way for running back Shaun Alexander’s record-breaking season and recorded 91 knockdown blocks. He went on to have a great career in the NFL with the Washington Redskins and a 6-time Pro Bowler before retiring in 2009.
3. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M (2010-12)
The lowdown: Joeckel’s SEC career was only for one season, but fans caught a glimpse of what all the fuss was about. He declared for the NFL draft after his junior season, but not before starting every game in his college career. Along with winning the Outland Trophy in 2012 and being selected as a unanimous All-American that same year, Joeckel’s impact can be seen through the production of the guys he was protecting. In 2011, quarterback Ryan Tannehill broke the school record for passing yards per game (291.1) and the offense garnered school records in total yards per game (490.2) and points per game (39.1). The following year, he moved to left tackle and was mainly responsible for protecting Johnny Manziel’s blind side. Manziel went on to win the Heisman Trophy as a redshirt freshman. Joeckel was the No. 2 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft the following year.
4. Shawn Andrews, OT, Arkansas (2001-03)
The lowdown: Andrews was a two-time All-American for the Hogs. He won the Jacobs Blocking Trophy for the conference’s best blocker in consecutive seasons. He also won the Jim Parker Trophy as the nation’s best O-lineman in ‘03. In 35 career games, Andrews yielded two sacks. Andrews was the 16th overall pick in the 2004 draft and left Arkansas as one of the Hogs’ best lineman in the school’s 100-plus year history.
5. Andre Smith, OT, Alabama (2006-08)
The lowdown: Smith didn’t take long to cement his place on the starting offensive line at Alabama. In 2006, he became just the fourth true freshman in school history to start on the line and never looked back. He became one of the most dominant offensive lineman in the past decade, excelling in all areas, especially run-blocking. The co-winner of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 2008, Smith was honored with an unanimous All-American selection before leaving for the NFL Draft as one of the top underclassmen.
6. Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M (2010-13)
The lowdown: As the son of NFL Hall of Famer Bruce Matthews, you could say that being an offensive lineman runs in the family for Jake Matthews. While he’s still miles away from an NFL career like his father, Matthew’s college career was one of the conference’s best over the last 16 years. During his two years in the SEC, Matthews was selected as an All-American twice and made first-team All-SEC both years. Matthews excelled at both tackle positions before being selected as the No. 6 overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft.
7. Jonathan Luigs, C, Arkansas (2005-08)
The lowdown: Jonathan Luigs is a name SEC fans might not be familiar with unless your allegiance lies with the Hogs. Luigs came into college under-the-radar as he wasn’t even a top 10 prospect in Arkansas. But Luigs proved his detractors dead wrong by the end of his college career. He was a three-time finalist for the Rimington Trophy and eventually won the award his junior season. He was also named to the All-SEC team three times and left his mark as one of the conference’s best centers ever.
8. Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss (2005-08)
The lowdown: If you’ve seen The Blind Side (let’s be honest, who hasn’t?), you’ll know that the deck was stacked against Michael Oher early on in his life. But the 6-foot-4, 315-pound lineman earned a scholarship to Ole Miss and certainly made the most of his opportunity. As a freshman guard in 2005, Oher started 10 games and was a first-team freshman All-American before moving to tackle for his sophomore season. Oher went on to win the Jacobs Blocking Trophy in 2008 and earned an unanimous All-American selection as well as two All-SEC honors.
9. Maurkice Pouncey, C, Florida (2007-09)
The lowdown: A part of the Florida glory days, Pouncey had the responsibility of protecting Tim Tebow. After starting 11 of 13 games as a freshman at right guard, Pouncey transitioned to center and started all 13 games as the Gators went on their 2008 national title run. In additional a being a national championship, he garnered a 2009 consensus All-American selection and was selected as the winner of the Rimington Trophy. He left after his junior season for the NFL Draft and as one of the Gators’ top offensive lineman in school history.
10. Matt Stinchcomb, OT, Georgia (1995-98)
The lowdown: The elder Stinchcomb’s career spent just one season in the BCS era, but he has set the standard at Georgia for offensive lineman over the past 16 years. As an offensive tackle, Stinchcomb was selected as an All-American in 1997 and then again as a consensus All-American in 1998. Overall, Stinchcomb excelled on the field, but in several off-the-field areas as well. He was the recipient of the Draddy Trophy in 1998, an award given to the college football player with the best combination of academics, community service and on-field performance.