Affectionately nicknamed the “Big Uglies” they are also possibly the most important cog in any team’s offense. If the offensive linemen can’t protect the quarterback or open holes for running backs, chances are it will be a long day for the offense.
Kentucky’s defense will face its share of superior offensive linemen this season, both in the SEC and in non-conference play.
Here are the top five:
1. Cam Robinson, Alabama: The junior got into some trouble this off-season and his critics claim the Monroe, Louisiana is more hype than production, still Robinson is projected to be the best offensive tackle in the college game.
Phil Steele ranks Robinson the No. 1 draft eligible offensive tackle. Lindy’s also ranks Robinson No. 1 as does Sports on Earth. He has started all 29 games of his college career and has been credited with 78 knockdown blocks over the last two seasons.
The 6-foot-6, 327-pound Robinson missed spring practice after undergoing shoulder surgery, but he is still expect to anchor a formidable offensive line for the defending national champions.
2. Greg Pyke, Georgia: The 6-foot-6, 313-pound senior underwent surgery for appendicitis in late July just after he was voted first-team pre-season All-SEC at SEC Media Days.
The Baltimore native has started 23 of his 27 games and was moved from right guard to right tackle during drills last spring. Pyke has been part of a line that paved the way for Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb in 2014 and Chubb and Sony Michel in 2015.
Phil Steele ranked Pyke as the fifth-best draft eligible offensive tackle. Sporting News picked Pyke as a second-team All-American. Sports Illustrated did the same. Sports on Earth ranked Pyke as the 29th best offensive lineman playing college football.
3. Cameron Tom, Southern Miss: The first-team All-Conference USA center has started 35 games for the Golden Eagles, who improved from 3-9 in 2014 to 9-5 in 2015.
The 6-foot-4, 287-pound Tom began his career as a right tackle before being shifted to center. He’s ranked as the sixth-best draft eligible center by Phil Steele. Lindy’s also has Tom at No. 6. Sports on Earth ranked Tom as the 30th best offensive lineman in the country.
Tom was credited with 56 knockdown blocks last season as Southern Miss produced not one but two 1,000-yard rushers. He’ll also be snapping the ball to star quarterback Nick Mullens, considered possibly the best Group of 5 passer in the country.
4. Martez Ivey, Florida: Rated as the No. 1 offensive line prospect in the nation coming out of high school in 2015, Ivey made his college debut against Kentucky in Lexington last season. He ended up starting the final eight games of the season.
A 6-5, 305-pound guard, Ivey is expected to form a formidable left side of the Florida line with left tackle David Sharpe, a 6-6, 357-pound junior who is ranked No. 18 by Phil Steele among draft-eligible tackles.
5. Jashon Robertson, Tennessee: The junior is hoping to have a bounce-back season after suffering a sub-par 2015. A 6-3, 305-pound junior from Nashville, Robertson made both Athlon’s and Lindy’s first-team All-SEC selections.
Injuries had something to do with Robertson’s play in 2015. He was limited to just 10 games, missing the South Carolina and North Texas games. In 2014, he was the first true freshman to start on the offensive line at Tennessee since JaWuan James in 2010. He stated all 13 games at right guard that season.
PRE-SEASON ALL-SEC OFFENSE
As voted by the media at SEC Football Media Days
- QB Chad Kelly, Ole Miss (321)
- RB Leonard Fournette, LSU (329)
- RB Nick Chubb, Georgia (308)
- WR Calvin Ridley, Alabama (318)
- WR Christian Kirk, Texas A&M (223)
- TE O.J. Howard, Alabama (294)
- OL Cam Robinson, Alabama (315)
- OL Dan Skipper, Arkansas (228)
- OL Greg Pyke, Georgia (171)
- OL Alex Kozan, Auburn (165)
- C Ethan Pocic, LSU (188)
- QB Joshua Dobbs, Tennessee (313)
- RB Jalen Hurd, Tennessee (278)
- RB Ralph Webb, Vanderbilt (151)
- WR Malachi Dupre, LSU (167)
- WR Fred Ross, Mississippi State (139)
- TE Evan Engram, Ole Miss (214)
- OL Martez Ivey, Florida (152)
- OL William Clapp, LSU (143)
- OL David Sharpe, Florida (138)
- OL Alphonse Taylor, Alabama (137)
- C Brandon Kublanow, Georgia (121)
- QB Brandon Harris, LSU (25)
- RB Stanley “Boom” Williams, Kentucky (60)
- RB Jovon Robinson, Auburn (55)
- WR Ricky Seals-Jones, Texas A&M (78)
- WR Drew Morgan, Arkansas (49)
- TE Jeremy Sprinkle, Arkansas (65)
- OL Avery Gennesy, Texas A&M (120)
- OL Jashon Robertson, Tennessee (119)
- OL Braden Smith, Auburn (118)
- OL Javon Patterson, Ole Miss (113)
- C Ross Pierschbacher, Alabama (101)
Kentucky football 2016 schedule
New Mexico St