Fall Camp Preview: Offensive Tackles

For the third straight year Fresno State must replace a starting offensive tackle. However, the Bulldogs projected starting tackle started the last four games of 2006. The Bulldogs head into fall camp with two players with starting experience, but only one other player on the depth chart has seen action in a college game.

Jr. LT Bobby Lepori (6-5, 300) originally committed to Fresno State out of high school in 2004, but opted of his commitment and signed with Nevada. He never played a down for the Wolf Pack and walked on at Fresno State. He redshirted his first year and saw limited action as a freshman in 2005. He had the dubious task of replacing All-WAC standout Dartagnon Shack at left tackle last season. He started the first eight games until an injury forced him to miss the last four.

Jr. RT Kenny Avon (6-3, 280) replaced Lepori at left tackle and started the last four games. Avon was converted to right tackle from defensive tackle in fall camp last year. He immediately stood out as a road grader in the final four games. Despite his success on the left side, he moved back to right tackle in spring.

Lepori had a good spring and solidified his spot at left tackle. He has added 15lbs from last season. He will have one the toughest assignment on the team, to protect QB Tom Brandstater's blind side. Lepori has the most experience heading into camp, but he is not the dominant force the Bulldogs' have seen in the past from left tackle spot.

Avon arguably performed better at left tackle in his four starts compared to Lepori's eight. Nonetheless, Avon is the projected starter at right tackle and faces stiffer competition in fall camp.

Avon was a dominant defender in high school but could not find his place on the defensive line during his first two years in the program. He has added 20lbs to his athletic 6-3 frame but still moves very well.

Sr. LT Chris Piligian (6-6, 260) is the veteran on the offensive line. He signed in 2003 and redshirted his first year. Despite his experience, he has not seen significant playing time his first three years. Originally he played guard but moved to tackle in spring and is projected to back up Lepori in fall camp.

RFr. RT Kenny Wiggins (6-8, 310) is a big, mobile lineman. The former high school basketball standout has the best footwork among the tackles and has added 50lbs since last fall. He could challenge Avon for some playing time.

The third stringers are possibly the largest incoming tackles in school history. 6-5, 360lb Jr. RT Sean Yandall is sight to see. Just as impressive is 6-5, 342lb true freshman Devan Cunningham, who reported this summer 30lbs heavier than his high school playing weight.

Yandall was a third-team all-state standout at West Hills (Calif.) College in 2005. He sat out of football in 2006 and walked on this past spring. He still is a bit out of shape to make an impact but took third team reps in spring and summer at right tackle.

Cunningham was recruited to play left tackle, but is taking reps at right tackle during summer workouts. Fellow incoming true freshman Bryce Harris (6-6, 261) took third team reps at left tackle during his first week of summer workouts but has since moved to defense.

Cunningham could move to left tackle in fall camp. He would add much needed size and depth to the position. Despite his added size he still possesses amazing quickness for his size. Moreover, if he learns the offense, he likely will see time as a true freshman.

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