GRADES OFFENSIVE LINE CLASS OF 2005

We continue our position by position analysis of the recently completed recruiting class of 2005 by the University of Cincinnati. In grading Coach Mark Dantonio's second recruiting class, we'll analyze the players first; give a quality grade for each position, then a quantity grade. This is for the offensive line only.

The quality grade is based on the caliber of athlete the Bearcats got for each position and the quantity grade is based on how the Bearcats did in meeting their needs.

Our second breakdown is along the offensive line.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The Bearcat offensive line will lose several key members from the 2004 team with Kyle Takavitz being a hard one to replace. While 4 of the 2004 offensive line were fifth-year seniors, the 2005 team will dress only 2. Off of last seasons roster the Bearcats will have 2 seniors, 3 juniors and 7 sophomores or red-shirt freshman on the 2005 team. This group coming in will have a chance to learn the system and build their bodies for the pounding they will take in the Big East wars.

Steve Gawronski: Will play guard or center at the college level. Has the build to play at this level, but plays high. Good drive blocker once he's locked up with defender. Has enough ability to get down field to pick up linebackers. Steve will have to earn his way onto the field in the future. Played at a high level in high school and earned All-Ohio honors. Played on both sides of the ball in high school. Look for Steve to take a couple of years to break into key playing time. If he doesn't get lower he will struggle getting on the field. Grade: C

Chris Jurek: Is a true center and will stay that way in college. Stays low and is very good in center/quarterback exchange. Doesn't overpower at the line of attack, bends but doesn't break. Quick feet and hands. Is very smart kid who will pick up line call duties. Will need to put on weight between now and second year in the program. Look for Chris to take a couple of years to break into key playing time. Grade: C

Jeffrey Linkenbach: This is the one that may surprise many. Went under the radar during his recruiting. Has great height and long wing span. Shows good feet and could become a top linemen in the next couple of years. Weights 315 and a year in weight program will make that a solid weight. With the depth on the line look for Jeffrey to try and earn playing time in year two. Needs to work on point of attack. Uses hands very well and is able to turn defenders away from play. If he progresses at the right pace he could be in the starting lineup by year three. Grade C+

QUALITY GRADE C -: Ok there you have the Offensive line grade. These three players will all have a chance to earn playing time by their second or third year in the program. It will be up to them as of when they are ready for the battles of the Big East. All three of these players have book smarts and play with an attitude. Jurek stands only 6'2 but as a center that doesn't bother me. Both Gawronski and Jurek show above average leverage. Linkenbach is still growing into his body and should be ready after one year in the Bearcat strength program.

QUANTITY GRADE C -: These three players didn't make big splashes during the recruiting scene. All were under the radar, but each has a special tool that will allow them to compete at the next level. "Smarts" I always look for linemen that are smart, and all three have been honor roll students. Because of the quality of linemen in the program, these were the right three to bring in. Don't look for them on the field in 2005, look for then down the road when they become sophomores or juniors.

Don't read too much into my grade of the offensive line. I'm always tough on this position. All three have what you need in a player to succeed at the next level. If they can keep their work ethic and heart they will have a chance. By the time all is said and done, I look for one of these three to play serious minutes as a Bearcat. They will fit into the program very nice.


Bearcat Insider Top Stories