Building a Strong Foundation

Any good building needs a strong foundation. Sturdy and sound, it keeps the structure standing tall. An offensive line is the foundation of a good offense, and the Bears have made a focus of building a strong foundation.

There are 16 offensive linemen listed on the Baylor post-spring roster. With two more incoming freshmen and a junior college transfer set to join the team for fall practice, that is 19 rather large human beings set with the task to be the foundation of the best offense in college football. All 5 starters at the end of the 2014 season are back for the 2015 campaign. How the Bears built a strong offensive line the past few seasons can help us see what the Baylor coaching staff has in store for the future.

Who are the offensive linemen that Baylor will be depending on?

Baylor Offensive Line
# Name Position Height Weight Year Ranking
73 Blake Muir OL 6-6 310 SR
67 Desmine Hilliard OG 6-5 340 SR
61 Jarell Broxton OG 6-5 330 SR
69 Pat Colbert OT 6-6 305 SR
58 Spencer Drango OT 6-6 310 SR
64 Dominic Desouza OL 6-6 295 JR
76 Jason Osei OL 6-4 300 JR NR
55 Kyle Fuller C 6-5 305 JR
Maurice Porter OT 6-6 295 JR
68 Ishmael Wilson OT 6-4 305 SO
53 Keith Orcutt OL 6-4 285 SO Walkon
52 Rami Hammad OG 6-4 325 SO
74 Sean Muir C 6-3 285 SO NR
57 Tanner Thrift OT 6-5 305 SO
72 Blake Blackmar C 6-5 340 RS FR
70 Josh Pelzel OL 6-6 325 RS FR
77 Patrick Lawrence OL 6-6 280 RS FR
Riley Daniel OL 6-5 290 FR
Sam Tecklenburg OL 6-4 250 FR

The post-spring depth chart had 4 seniors in the starting lineup surrounding junior center Kyle Fuller. The backups included 1 senior, 3 sophomores and a redshirt freshman. With Maurice Porter set to start practice soon, there is a good chance he makes his way into the 2-deep at one of the tackle positions.

Baylor has 76 career starts combined, with Drango (35), Fuller (13), Blake Muir (12), Broxton (8) and Colbert (8) all having extensive starting experience. Even the backups have experience with Hilliard having 18 career starts under his belt.

How did the Bears get such a deep and experienced offensive line? They search anywhere and everywhere for big, athletic bodies. Just look at it this way:

· There are 3 international players on the line, coming from Australia (Blake and Sean Muir) and England (Jason Osei)

· Three junior college transfers (Jarrell Broxton, Dom Desouza, and Maurice Porter)

· Three transfers from 4-year universities (Blake Muir from Hawaii, Ishmael Wilson from Texas A&M, and Rami Hammad from Texas)

There are several ways to skin a cat, and the Bears are using every way they can to build their offensive line. This is best exemplified by the 2013 class, which featured just two high school offensive linemen; Darius Moore and Maurice Porter. Neither made it onto campus out of high school, so the Bears were left with a gap in experience. What did they do? They got two 4-star transfers from in-state rivals in Hammad and Wilson to join the Bears.

This is a focal point for the Baylor staff, and it continues to be so moving forward. The commitments of J.P Urquidez and Patrick Hudson in the 2016 class show that the Bears will continue to put a large emphasis on the offensive line, building a strong foundation for years to come.

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