First I want to highlight that this group has gone to a partial facelift this offseason starting with coaches, out with Darren Hiller, in with J.B. Grimes. Hiller went on to coach the South Florida Bulls offensive line and we were able to get an experience guy from the SEC who is known for getting guys to the pros. Heck of a trade off right? Tips cap to Tommy Tuberville for pulling off that feat, it helps that Grimes son (Nick) was a graduate assistance and now with that title removed a part of the staff as the tight ends/h-backs coach.
Now to slide the meat of the topic, we all know stalwart offensive tackle Parker Ehinger was drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs and has converted to guard, so he’s gone! They also will not have the services of right tackle Justin Murray who has graduated also. Chad West was the backup tackle and he has used up his eligibility also. The Bearcats will have to find answers at both tackle positions, but they should have a solid core on the inside.
Rimington Award Watch List center Deyshawn Bond will be the rock of this line during his senior year. With a strong season he could be sleeper as an NFL prospect.
The Bearcats have a lot of bodies so camp before the season starts will be very important. Korey Cunningham, Ryan Stout and JuCo transfer Kendall Calhoun will have opportunities at tackle. As it stands currently I like Stout and Cunningham being the starters with Stout on the left side and Cunningham on the right, but we will see how this plays out. Stout is a sophomore from Sylvania, Ohio and Cunningham is a junior from Montevallo, Alabama. Garrett Campbell played 9 games last season and will provide depth on the line.
We all know second team all-AAC performer Ryan Leahy will be starting at guard and provide a nice punch with Bond on the inside. I feel like Idarius Ray will be on the other side of Bond, but keep an eye on DeLonte Murray who played a few games last season as a junior.
Junior Will Steur, highly recruited freshman Zach Bycznski and Sophomore John Kurtz will provide depth inside. Higher Grounds will be important for the line to gel and will give us a clearer case on who the starters and backups will be.