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Here is a look at some of the top offensive linemen to watch this college football season:
Kenyon Green, Texas A&M
A two-year starter, Green became an anchor for a Texas A&M offensive line that led the SEC in fewest sacks allowed (7.0) and tackles for loss allowed (38) in 2020. His 691 offensive snaps tied as the most on the front line along with tackles Carson Green and Dan Moore Jr.
Marquis Hayes, Oklahoma
Hayes started 24 games over the past two seasons and his 738 offensive snaps in 2020 were the second-most on the offensive line for the Sooners. He’s projected as a possible first- or second-round selection in the 2022 NFL Draft depending on his performance in 2021.
Jaxson Kirkland, Washington
The three-year starter earned All-Pac-12 honors after helping the Huskies lead the league in fewest sacks allowed (1.0) and tackles for loss allowed (8.0) in 2020. Kirkland is looking to become just the third Washington offensive lineman drafted since 2015.
Zion Johnson, Boston College
Johnson started 24 games for the Eagles, splitting time between guard and tackle. His 785 offensive snaps were the fourth-most by a tackle in the ACC last season and it’s tied for the most on the team along with tackle Tyler Vrabel, center Alec Lindstrom and guard Christian Mahogany.
Tyler Linderbaum, Iowa
He was one of three finalists for the Rimington Trophy, awarded to the best center in college football, after anchoring the Hawkeyes offensive line for the past two seasons. Linderbaum is among the top center prospect in college football, making him a possible top draft pick in 2022.
Abraham Lucas, Washington State
Among the best interior linemen in the Pac-12, Lucas has earned Pac-12 honors in each of the past three seasons. The Washington native helped guide a group that allowed just nine sacks and 23 tackles for loss in four games last season.
Cade Mays, Tennessee
Mays started seven games for the Volunteers as a junior guard last season after spending his first two seasons at Georgia. A rash of transfers has left the Knoxville native as the linchpin for the Tennessee offense this season along with junior tackle Darnell Wright.
Thayer Munford, Ohio State
Munford is among a trio of returning starters on the offensive line who were a part of a group that helped the Buckeyes lead the Big Ten in rushing last season. A veteran with 42 career appearances under his belt, Munford has helped lead the way for tailbacks such as J.K. Dobbins, Trey Sermon and Master Teague.
Evan Neal, Alabama
Neal is one of just two veteran starters on the offensive line returning from last year’s national-championship team. A versatile performer, Neal has started 26 games over the past two seasons at both guard and tackle spots.
Zion Nelson, Miami
A two-year starter at tackle, Nelson is among four veterans anchoring the front line for the Hurricanes this coming season. He’s a potential first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft after helping Miami become one of the top-scoring offenses in the ACC last season.
Jarrett Patterson, Notre Dame
Patterson is the only returning starter on the offensive line as the Fighting Irish will go through a bit of a rebuild upfront. He’s one of the better run blockers in the country, starting 21 games at center while helping the team finish among the top 25 teams in rushing last season.
Jamaree Salyer, Georgia
The Bulldogs were among the top teams in the SEC in fewest tackles for loss allowed per game (4.40) last season, in part because of a solid offensive line that featured Salyer. The Bulldogs return seven starters on offense from a team that averaged 33 points and 424 yards per game in 2020.
Tristan Schultz, Liberty
The veteran tackle has appeared in 44 games with the Flames, including 27 straight starts that make him a durable option on the interior line. He was part of a group that helped Liberty finish No. 9 in the nation in rushing while producing three players with 500-plus yards.
Rasheed Walker, Penn State
A two-year starter, Walker has become an integral part of the offensive line for the Nittany Lions. He earned third-team all-conference honors last season despite the team giving up a Big Ten-worst 28 sacks. The offense finished second in the conference with 430 yards per game.
Honorable mention: Charles Cross (Mississippi State), Ikem Ekwonu (NC State), Ed Ingram (LSU), Alec Lindstrom (Boston College), Cain Madden (Notre Dame), Colin Newell (Iowa State), Colby Ragland (UAB), Cole Schneider (UCF), Josh Sills (Oklahoma State), Lecitus Smith (Virginia Tech), Jack Snyder (San Jose State), Jaylon Thomas (SMU)