Vanderbilt Football 2007: Offensive guards

We continue our 2007 positional analysis of the Vanderbilt Commodores today as we look at the offensive guards. This is part VI of a multi-series previewing the 2007 Commodores.

73 Ryan Custer 6-4 295 So.-1L Troy, Ohio/Troy
78 Josh Eames 6-5 310 Sr.-3L North Cape May, N.J./Lower Cape
61 Nick Forte 6-3 290 So.-SQ Brentwood, Tenn./Brentwood Acad.
70 Drew Gardner 6-5 305 So.-1L Hoxie, Ark./Hoxie
64 Merritt Kirchoffer 6-5 315 Sr.-3L Roswell, Ga./Roswell
79 Ryan Vance 6-3 280 So.-SQ Bellaire, Texas/Episcopal 65 Kyle Fischer OL 6-6 300 Fr. Columbia, S.C./Spring Valley
77 James Williams OL 6-6 300 Fr. Smyrna, Tenn./Smyrna

Bold= projected starter

The Commodores return two excellent guards this fall in Merritt Kirchoffer and Josh Eames. Both started at guard last season and helped to solidify the line.

Eames played at both tackle and guard last season and most experts believe he has the best technique on the team. He is a consummate hard worker that has shown the versatility to play every position across the line.

Kirchoffer (photo right) started in nine games last season and played in all 12 games at both guard and tackle. He suffered through some midseason injuries but continued to compete throughout the year. He has excellent strength and great blocking skills to help the middle of the line protect Nickson.

Ryan Custer was also a significant contributor at guard last year and has shown the ability to adapt to other positions. He looked good during the spring and he should push for considerable playing time this fall.

Others who could help the Commodores at guard are Nick Forte, Drew Gardner and Ryan Vance. Gardner and Vance both saw playing time last season in reserve roles, while Forte is still working to get his chance to play.

True Freshmen James Williams and Kyle Fischer each have the frames to make an impact anywhere on the offensive line but both will likely be redshirted.

Grade B+


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