The first thing that often comes up when referring to Indiana junior left tackle Jason Spriggs is usually something along the lines of “that guy is huge.” Standing at 6-7 and weighing in at 305 pounds with a bone-crunching handshake, it’s literal, but Spriggs is huge in more ways than just his physical size.
For an offensive line that returns nine players with starting experience and started seven different lineups a year ago, the consistency that Spriggs brings is huge as well.
Since his freshman year in 2012, Spriggs has started all 24 games, but it’s not as if Spriggs is just filling space on the O-line. The Elkhart, Ind. native is a two-time honorable mention All-Big Ten selection and is currently listed as one of the 10 or 15 best NFL tackle prospects in his class according to various outlets.
While Spriggs has always dreamed of playing professionally and says he works for that every day, that’s not on the forefront right now.
“It’s always been a dream and it’s still going to be a dream, but at this point it’s nothing to really think about,” Spriggs said. “We’ve got to focus on our season and I’ve got a season in front of me so it’s not something to think about.”
Offered primarily just by Mid-American Conference schools and as a tight end coming out of high school, Spriggs has obviously filled into the role of blindside protector quite well. Coming into college, Spriggs weighed 265 pounds and last year, he checked in at 295. Now, he’s over the 300-pound plateau. Spriggs was not only the 30th ranked TE out of Concord High School, but he also was first team all-state as a defensive tackle.
“I’ve gotten used to (left tackle) my first couple of years, and now it’s fine-tuning,” Spriggs said. “Getting my steps right and doing all the little things.”
While he was extraordinary with his consistency, Spriggs was still young and has found himself in a new role as an upperclassman.
“It’s a little bit different,” said Spriggs on now being an upperclassman. “As a freshman and sophomore, I was able to look up to (Will) Matte and (Collin) Rahrig and follow their example and now I’m in the spot where I have to lead by example. It’s really not a lot about talking, it’s more by doing. It’s a little bit tougher. It’s something I’ve got to work on.”
As has been the case for the entire unit throughout camp, Spriggs also feels like he needs to work on his physicality and toughness. While it’s improving, it’s still not where it needs to be.
“That’s going be to the telltale (sign) for this season,” Spriggs said. “I need to work on finishing blocks, getting more physical, but that’s something we all need to work on. That’s one thing that’s going to improve with more practices. It’s more of a mindset than anything. The better we get at that, the better the season’s going to be.”
Offensive coordinator Kevin Johns believes that Spriggs has been doing alright since camp opened, but isn’t at an all-Big Ten level quite yet. Spriggs has also be battling the preseason nags and injuries that go along with practicing.
“Just like the rest of our team, he’s still learning and growing every single day,” Johns said.
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