Spring Preview: Offensive Line

Spring football starts March 3rd at the University of Miami so lets take a closer look at what the team will look like. Today, we look at the offensive line position.

Coach: Art Kehoe returns for his second year on the current staff, but has over 20 years of total experience coaching at Miami.

Lost: The Hurricanes lost three starters on the offensive line and one key reserve. Brandon Washington was an All-Conference guard in 2010 but struggled some as a left tackle last season. Tyler Horn was an All-Conference center in 2011. Harland Gunn was a three-year starter at guard. Joel Figueroa spent six years at Miami and started games at both guard and tackle but was a backup last season.

Coming Back: The Hurricanes return two full-time starters in Jon Feliciano and Brandon Linder. Seantrel Henderson has starting experience in each of the last two seasons. Malcolm Bunche started a game last season. Jermaine Johnson, Benjamin Jones, Jeremy Lewis, Shane McDermott, and Jared Wheeler all saw action as reserves in 2011. Jermaine Barton and Hunter Wellls were on the 2011 team as well but did not play.

The Players:
Barton (6-7/305/R-SO) -- A fairly lightly recruited player out of high school after having just one year of experience playing football, Barton has yet to see the field in his first two seasons. He enters spring as a backup at tackle.

Bunche (6-7/320/R-SO) -- After spending a semester at prep school and then redshirting his first year here, Bunche played in eight games last season and started the Virginia game. He enters spring as the favorite to win the right tackle spot.

Feliciano (6-5/320/R-SO) -- A local recruit who redshirted his first season here, Feliciano won the starting right tackle job early last season and started eight games there. He will likely end up back at guard, where he's expected to be the top guy on the left side.

Ereck Flowers (6-6/310/FR) -- A national recruit from nearby Norland High, Flowers is a tremendous athlete who already has ideal size. He will just need to continue getting stronger and learn the position.

Taylor Gadbois (6-8/300/FR) -- Like Flowers, Gadbois was a spring entry. He's a massive prospect from Georgia who spent last fall at a Prep School. He will likely start at tackle.

Henderson (6-8/345/JR) -- The team's most experienced tackle returning, and most talented overall lineman, Henderson started nine games as a true freshman after being a five-star recruit. Offseason back surgery limited him last season, and he started just two games. He enters spring as the favorite to win the left tackle spot.

Johnson (6-6/320/R-JR) -- A local recruit who redshirted his first year here, Johnson has played in 12 games over the last two seasons but hasn't started any. He will provide depth at tackle.

Jones (6-5/310/SR) -- A high school teammate of Washington's, Jones was the Scout Team Offensive MVP last season. He has played in just six games in four seasons here and is expected to provide depth at tackle.

Lewis (6-4/315/R-SR) -- A former defensive tackle, Lewis has played in just one game over the last two seasons.

Linder (6-6/310/JR) -- The team's most experienced returning lineman, Linder was a national recruit coming out of high school. He has 16 career starters and started all last season at right guard. He finished with a 90-percent blocking grade on the season -- highest of all the returning linemen.

McDermott (6-4/290/R-SO) -- After redshirting his first season here, McDermott played in 10 games as a reserve last season. He's the favorite to replace Horn at center.

Wells (6-6/300/R-FR) -- A late addition to the 2011 class, Wells used last season as a redshirt. He was very lightly recruited out of high school and will hope to provide some depth.

Wheeler (6-5/315/R-JR) -- After redshirting his first season here, Wheeler has played in 13 games (no starts) over the past two seasons. He will provide depth at guard.

What to Expect: Henderson has all the tools to become a premier player. The surgery really slowed him down last season. The expectation is that he plays to his ability this season and locks down the left tackle spot in the spring. Linder has one guard spot locked down. Feliciano, who was moved to right tackle when Henderson went down last August, is a better guard and will likely win the other guard job. McDermott is a lot like Horn in the way he plays and should handle the center job. Bunche is the most likely of the remaining tackles to win the other tackle spot.


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