Today, we present you the second in a multi-part series looking at the positions of need for the 2010 class.
OT: Wide receiver may have been the biggest need heading into the 2010 cycle on the offensive side of the ball, but with that being shored up nicely already, the focus quickly turns to the paper thin depth at tackle.
Chris Hairston has blossomed nicely into a dependable left tackle who has first day NFL potential if he continues to develop. Landon Walker has proven to be serviceable at right tackle. He is also still developing and has the chance to be quite a good player at this level.
Cory Lambert is a decent depth guy but has been a disappointment in comparison to how highly touted he was coming out of high school. The surprise of the spring has been true freshman J.K. Jay. More college ready than anticipated, he brings great toughness and a tremendous work ethic. He will work from the two deep this fall and may eventually be groomed to be Hairston's replacement at LT depending on how recruiting shakes out.
Jamarcus Grant is worth mentioning as he is listed at tackle, but he has always been more comfortable at guard and will likely not contribute much this year.
THE BOTTOM LINE AT OT: The Tigers are in the unique position to virtually guarantee a two deep position to a true freshman this cycle at either tackle position.
Furthermore, it is fairly easy to see how this could be parlayed into a starting role thereafter following the departure of Hairston. While this would likely require beating out either Jay or Walker, it is not inconceivable. Also, Walker would be a senior opening the door for a starting position the following year in any case. This position is of the greatest importance on the offensive side of the ball and the Tigers must sign two prospects, at least one of which will be expected to play as a true freshman. Because of a scary thin depth chart, I call for the Tigers to sign at least 2 tackles this cycle with the possibility of a third in a guard/tackle swing man.
OG/C: Simply put, the Tigers' interior line is in good shape and is stocked with young talent. Thomas Austin, the senior leader should contend for All American honors, let alone All ACC at his more natural position of left guard.
Sophomore Antoine McClain improved greatly over the course of his freshman year and showed flashes of dominance. Expect big things out of McClain this year as he should open some monster holes for the Tiger backs.
Center is a close race between hardworking Mason Cloy and surprise bloomer Dalton Freeman. Freeman was though of to be a more natural guard has shown a great penchant for the center position. The older, stronger, more experienced Cloy should win the battle, but the center position is one of strength due to these two.
The backup guard positions are littered with talented sophomores and freshman including the ox-like Wilson Norris, an improving Matt Sanders, the agile David Smith, a still recovering his full functional strength Kenneth Page, and the strongest player on the team in Barry Humphries. In stark contrast to last year, this unit should be a strength of the team and will surprise many at their effectiveness in the run game.
THE BOTTOM LINE AT OG/C: The Tigers lose Humphries who may not contribute too awfully much depending on his injury status and Austin. Austin will be a huge loss, but the Tigers are very young and far more talented than they have been along the interior line in many years. The staff feels fairly comfortable at the development of these younger players and thus it is not a huge priority this year. I call for the Tigers to sign 1 guard prospect, though they will work their oversign board for another or possibly take a guard/tackle swing man.
Positions of need: OT, OG
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