Ranking The Big Guys Up Front
We here at Last Word On College Football are going group by group ranking each postition in the SEC. Today we’re looking at the big guys who open the holes and protect the quarterbacks. There are a lot of really good offensive lines in the league, but who are the best of the best? You could choose from several of these units and not go wrong. Who won out? Let’s see as we begin ranking the SEC’s Best Offensive Lines.
The Best Once Again
1. Alabama Crimson Tide– When in doubt of which group to slot at number one, picking the Crimson Tide is always a good bet. While Nick Saban’s national champions lost three starters they return some great players. Evan Neal and Emil Ekioyr Jr. rank among the best linemen in the league while Chris Owens takes over at center. That alone is reason enought to put them in the top slot. In addtion Saban brought in the number one center, the number two guard and top two tackles in the 2021 recruiting class. Another case of the rich getting richer. As he gets more comfortable in the offense Bryce Young has to be happy having this group protecting him.
Another Deep Group
2. Georgia Bulldogs- Kirby Smart’s club returns three starters from last year including the very versatile Jamaree Saylor. The senior played nine games at tackle last this year but spent the spring at guard. In addition to Saylor they return Warren McClendon and Justin Shaffer. Much like the Crimson Tide Georgia has an embarrassment of riches on the line. The biggest question is whether center Warren Ericson can hold off prized recruit Sedrick Van Penn at center. Much like Young quarterback JT Daniels also has some big time protectors.
Continuing our look at the SEC’s Best Offensive Lines we stay in the east and a school that’s become synonymous with strong offensive line play.
The Big Blue Wall
3. Kentucky Wildcats– Kentucky not only has to replace Landon Young and Drake Jackson but also beloved offensive line coach John Schalrman. South Carolina’s Eric Wolford’s takes over as leader of the group. Mark Stoops’ team got a huge return when All-American candidate Darian Kinnard passed up the NFL Draft to return to school. He’ll move from right to left tackle in 2021. In fact one prominent analyst thinks Kinnard is the best in the league.
MY top 5 SEC offensive tackles for 2021: pic.twitter.com/tTPDxdQHrj
— Cole Cubelic (@colecubelic) July 26, 2021
In addition guard Luke Fornter returning for an extra season is a big time plus for the Big Blue Wall. UK got a huge pick up through the transfer portal when LSU’s Dare Rosenthal decided to head to Lexington. He’s got all the talent in the world but has had some off the field problems.
Bounce Back Year
4. LSU Tigers- Had Rosenthal not left Baton Rouge we might have flipped the Cats and Tigers. Nonetheless LSU returns four starters from last year’s squad. The list includes center Liam Shanahan, guards Ed Ingram and Chase Hines along with right tackle Austin Deculus. Another year of this group playing together should eliminate the chemisty problems from a year ago. Redemeption’s a big theme with Ed Orgeron’s club this year and that starts with the offensive line.
Finishing up our rankings of the SEC’s Best Offensive Lines we stay in the west and the group protecting a potential Heisman candidate.
Running The Lane Train
5. Ole Miss- Lane Kiffin’s squad lost right tackle Royce Newman but return four starters. Ben Brown, Nick Broeker and Jeremy James lead a unit that led the SEC and ranked 26th nationally with 210 yards rushing per game. James is coming off being named a freshman All-American. If the Rebels have an issue with the line it’s experience with reserves. Due to the nature of Kiffin’s up tempo offense there wasn’t a whole lot of substitutions. Overall if this group performs as it should it’s a huge boost to Matt Corral’s Heisman campaign.
One group that usually finds themselves on these lists is Texas A&M. However while they return Kenyon Green they lost the other four starters from last season. As a result they just miss our list. Thanks for checking out our ranking of the SEC’s Best Offensive Lines here at Last Word On College Football. Coming soon we’ll have our SEC East and West predictions along with our first bowl projections of 2021.