As the month of July closes out we wrap up our offensive Big 12 position breakdowns. Each of the Heartland Sports writers give their take on a specific position, ranking them from first to worst. Each writer is asked to defend their top three and bottom two rankings.
Our offensive line rankings bring us the first, and only, consensus #1 of the offensive position groups.
The consensus rankings come from a points system. A first place selection is worth 10 points, second place is 9 points, and they continue in descending order with tenth place equaling 1 point.
|Heartland Sports Consensus Offensive Line Rankings|
|T2. Kansas State||34|
|T2. West Virginia||34|
|4. Texas Tech||25|
|6. Oklahoma State||21|
|8. Iowa State||13|
1. Oklahoma – Despite losing a player like Orlando Brown, the Sooners took precautions last season to ensure the strength of the offensive line. Behind an experienced group of NFL level talent, the Sooners look to set the tone in the conference once again.
2. Kansas State – In Manhattan, the Wildcats possess the most experience in returning player along the offensive line. Yet, experience pays dividends in the trenches year in and year out. Clearly this group remains the strong suit for the program moving forward. Littered with top notch players, KSU could easily be ahead of the Sooners in this ranking depending on health.
3. West Virginia – With a great track record, Joe Wickline is expected to bring a group to compete with the best. Returning four of five starters provides a solid start in keeping the best quarterback in the conference upright.
4. Texas Tech
7. Oklahoma State
9. Kansas – Fielding possibly the youngest group in the league a year ago should provide an uptick in production for 2018. Returning four of the five starters on the line gives this group the potential to jump up in the rankings. But, they remain toward the bottom due to the numerous struggles of a year ago.
10. Iowa State – If experience puts one near the top, then a lack of experience sinks one to the bottom. The Cyclones also started a young group in the trenches and it showed. Gelling together, there is room to grow but just how much?
1. Oklahoma – The Sooners didn’t just have the best offensive line in the Big 12 a year ago, they had one of the best in the country. Even though Oklahoma lost a few key players to the draft from last season, there is still plenty of talent on the offensive line.
The Sooners are returning 103 combined starts to the line in 2018. Bobby Evans and Dru Samia are the biggest names, but there is plenty more talent on this Oklahoma roster. While the performance on the line won’t be as good as it was a year ago, the Sooners will still have the best line in the conference.
2. West Virginia – The Mountaineers are returning four out of five starters on the offensive line in 2018. When you combine that with the level of talent they have in the backfield, West Virginia might have the best offense in the Big 12.
Josh Sills will lead the way as one of the highest ranked lineman in the conference. However, the Mountaineers have more NFL talent in Yodney Cajuste. It’ll be interesting to see if the West Virginia offensive line can perform better than Oklahoma this season.
3. Kansas State – The Wildcats are returning the most starts with 115 combined on the offensive line. The offensive line might just be the strongest position for Kansas State this season.
Dalton Risner will the standout once again in 2018 as he is already a two-time All-Big 12 offensive tackle. When you combine Risner with Scott Frantz on the opposite side, the wildcats will have an extremely tough front five.
5. Oklahoma State
6. Texas Tech
8. Iowa State
9. Baylor – Last season, the Bears gave up the most sacks in the Big 12. Unfortunately, if you’re a Baylor fan that might happen again this year. Baylor does have a few seniors in Blake Blackmar and Patrick Lawrence who can lead with experience, but the talent level is just not there to compete with the rest of the conference.
10. Kansas – Kansas had the youngest line in the conference a year ago with mainly freshman and sophomores. The immaturity on the line showed as Kansas struggled to produce any offense. Although those young guys are a year older, they still have a lot of catching up to do with the rest of the conference. The Jayhawks will rely on Hakeem Adenjii to be the anchor of the front five.
1. Oklahoma – Despite Erick Wren graduating and moving to the NFL and Orlando Brown leaving early to be drafted in the NFL, the Sooners return players with 103 starts among them, which is the second-most in the Big 12. The Sooners have been one of the most dominant offenses in the country over the last decade, primarily due to strong offensive lines. This season should be no different.
2. West Virginia – The Mountaineers will challenge for the Big 12 title this year with possible the league’s best offense, and a lot of the reason is due to the big guys up front. West Virginia allowed just 19 sacks a season ago, and four of their five starters are back.
3. Kansas State – The Wildcats have the most experienced line in the conference with a combined 115 starts among their offensive line. They had the second most rushing yards a season ago, trailing only Oklahoma, and they will rely heavily on their ground game this year.
4. Texas Tech
5. Oklahoma State
6. Iowa State
9. Kansas – This youthful offensive line has four returning starters, but the Jayhawks allowed 29 sacks a year ago. They have some work to do if they want to protect the backfield.
10. Baylor – The Bears allowed a conference-high 37 sacks last season, but they do return 87 starts among their front line. Still, it’s going to take a lot of improvement to recover from abysmal numbers like they experienced a year ago.
1. Oklahoma – I feel like I’m going to say the same thing that everyone else is here. The Sooners are deep and talented along the offensive line and have the top o-libe coach in the Big 12. Even with the losses of Orlando Brown and Erick Wren to the NFL, Oklahoma returns over a hundred starts along the line.
2. Kansas State – Not only are the Wildcats returning the most starts among offensive linemen in the Big 12, they may also have the best overall lineman in the conference with two-time All-Big 12 offensive tackle Dalton Risner.
3. West Virginia – If the Mountaineers are going to have the top offense in the Big 12 then this particular unit is going to have to be exceptional. Four returning starters means that all of the parts are there, with left guard Josh Sills leading the way up front.
5. Texas Tech
6. Oklahoma State
7. Iowa State
9. Baylor – The Bears gave up more sacks than any team in the Big 12 last season. That pretty much sums up what you need to know here.
10. Kansas – The good news is that Kansas returns four of five layers along the offensive line from last season. The bad news is that they were highly inconsistent.