With his 6-8 frame, freshman left tackle Joe Thomas casts an imposing shadow. He looks significantly bigger than his 260 pounds suggest. More impressive, he has displayed very good agility, footwork and strength during Wisconsin's fall camp. The highly recruited linemen has looked impressive since camp began and though Thomas continues to work mostly with the Badgers all-freshmen offensive unit, he has already received some reps with the second team offensive line. Thomas does not bite on double moves, he stands up well against a bull rush and he gobbles up edge pass rushers in their tracks.
Thomas, though, is just one part of an all-freshmen offensive line that has impressed since day one. The unit, which has played as Wisconsin's effectual third-team line, boasts remarkable size, skill and athleticism for a group not far removed from high school.
Flanking Thomas is 6-6, 305-pound right tackle Andrew Weininger. The interior line is composed of 6-8, 285-pound Danny Kaye at left guard, 6-6, 305-pound Marcus Coleman at right guard and 6-4, 295-pound center Luke Knauf.
Like Thomas, Weininger impressed with his agility. He moved well versus speed rushers on the edge and reacted well to counter moves. When he got his hands locked on an opposing linemen, the deal was usually done.
Coleman had one of the day's best practices, displaying a solid combination of strength and quickness. He moved the line of scrimmage when run blocking and proved a deft pass blocker.
Kaye also looks sturdy at guard and is a very good athlete, working well with Thomas on the left side.
Though Knauf and freshman quarterback Tyler Donovan struggled with their exchanges at times Sunday, the Stratford, Wis. native has also played well thus far in fall camp. As with the rest of his class, he moves well and is strong at the point of attack.
As a unit, the freshmen linemen were continuously impressive Sunday. They surged the line while run blocking and were adept at pass blocking, moving their feet well and locking onto opposing offensive linemen.
The two freshmen defensive ends, Jamal Cooper and Justin Ostrowski, have also impressed. Cooper has a nice burst off the edge, while Ostrowski is a power end who is the portrait of whistle-to-whistle, never ceasing energy.
Eyes will remain fixed on Thomas, who many see as Wisconsin's left tackle of the future, throughout fall camp. Wisconsin, though, appears to have landed an entire offensive line, and a pair of defensive ends, that look poised to move up the depth charts together over the next few years.