Big 12 Position Rankings: Offensive Line

RaiderPower.com ranks every position group in the Big 12 from top to bottom. Next up in the series are the big uglies.

When it comes to offensive lines in the Big 12 this season, it is the top three and then everybody else. TCU, Texas Tech and Kansas State will field elite units, and it could be a simple matter of preference regarding where one slots them. The remaining seven lines, however, will all have question marks and possible weaknesses. There is some talent and there is some experience, but none of the bottom seven has both.

1. TCU:: Naturally, the Horned Frog offensive line was a huge part of TCU’s unexpected offensive success last season. The Frogs ran it reasonably well and threw it better than anybody’s wildest expectations. The bad news for the rest of the conference is that TCU returns four starters on the line, and center Joey Hunt, guard Brady Foltz and tackle Halapoulivaati Vaitai are all honors contenders.


2. Texas Tech:: The Red Raider offense was nowhere near as prolific as TCU's in 2014, but you couldn't blame the offensive line for the woes. Left tackle Le’Raven Clark developed into an All Conference performer, Alfredo Morales quietly had an excellent season, and center Jared Kaster also did very good things. If redshirt freshman Justin Murphy holds his own at right tackle, look out.

3. Kansas State:: The Wildcats could have the best offensive line in the Big 12 this season, but have little to show for it if Bill Snyder can’t find a quarterback. But if all else fails, four returning starters including Cody Whitehair, Matt Kleinsorge and Boston Stiverson, will make it easy to the QB to simply hand off the rock and get out of the way.

4. Oklahoma State:: Sophomore tackle Zachary Crabtree is one of the best offensive linemen in the Big 12 (must be the name) when healthy, and he’s joined by returning starter Michael Wilson on the inside. Guard Jesse Robinson started a few games down the stretch, too, and UAB transfer Victor Salako could prove a real blessing to the Cowboys.


5. Baylor:: Art Briles has only two starters returning up front, but in tackle Spencer Drango and guard Desmine Hilliard he has two of the better linemen in the Big 12. But outside of that duo, the pickins look pretty slim.

6. West Virginia:: The Mountaineers have plenty of experience up front in returning starters Marquis Lucas, Adam Pankey and Tyler Orlosky, but the overall talent is only so-so. Freshman Yodny Cajuste may start for Dana Holgorsen.

7. Texas:: The Longhorns look much like the Mountaineers in the offensive line, where starters Sedrick Flowers, Taylor Doyle and Kent Perkins return. Still, the productivity of Texas’ line didn’t knock anybody’s socks off in 2014 and may not in 2015 either.


8. Oklahoma:: The Sooners had one of the nation’s very best pass protecting offensive lines in 2014 (it wasn’t too shabby blocking for the run either), but losses have decimated the group. Among the starters, only center Ty Darlington returns (and he’s a good one). Nila Kasitati was a part-time starter at right guard, but beyond that, the experience is minimal. As always, OU will field talent, but that talent may not show and gel until season’s end.

9. Iowa State:: Starters Jake Campos, Brock Dagel and Jamison Lalk return, but center Tom Farniok, the Cyclones’ best offensive lineman in 2014, does not. This may prove a serviceable line, but probably won’t be much more than that.

10. Kansas:: The Jayhawks return only center Joe Gibson—a former walkon—and tackle Larry Mazyck (a former New Mexico Lobo) among last year’s starters. With grave questions in the line and at quarterback, the offensive woes look to continue in Lawrence.

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