Andrus Peat, Stanford (6-6, 312): Peat earned some first-team All-American accolades as a junior, then decided to turn pro. He started at left tackle as a sophomore and junior. His father, Todd, played six seasons in the NFL and made a total of 36 starts for the Cardinals and Raiders. A black-and-white photo of his dad hung inside Peat’s locker at Stanford. “Just for motivation,” said the second of seven children who, by design, didn’t play tackle football until high school.
Terry Poole, San Diego State (6-5, 311): The junior college transfer started at right tackle as a junior. He moved to left tackle for his senior season and was named to the Mountain West’s second team. Poole has developed into a solid player, considering he didn’t start playing until his senior year of high school. He was a defensive end and tight end, and didn’t learn offensive line play until going to Monterey Peninsula College.
Jeremiah Poutasi, Utah (6-6, 322): Poutasi started all three seasons. He was second-team all-Pac-12 last year at left tackle. As a true freshman, he was honorable mention all-conference at right tackle. Poutasi wouldn’t be making a run at the NFL without the volleyball coach and guidance counselor from Desert Pines (Nev.) High School.
Corey Robinson, South Carolina (6-7, 341): Robinson started his career at South Carolina as an offensive lineman. Then it was to the defensive line. Then it was back to the offensive line. If all of that shuffling curtailed his development, it hardly showed. After two years in which he didn’t play a single snap, he started 35 games at left tackle over his final three seasons. In June, he was named the third-most physical player in college football. “He decided he wanted to be a football player instead of just another guy out here on the scout team. He has turned it around,” coach Steve Spurrier said.
Ty Sambrailo, Colorado State (6-5, 317): After playing four positions as a sophomore, Sambrailo developed into a two-year all-conference left tackle. As a senior, he was first-team all-Mountain West and a leader of an offense that averaged 480.9 yards per game. An accomplished alpine and freestyle skier, Sambrailo had a decision to make as he entered high school: football or skiing. "I was for sure a late bloomer," he said. "Going into my sophomore year of high school, I was 6-1, 220, and going from there, I was 260 as a senior and got here and kind of blew up, I guess, in the best way possible."
Brandon Scherff (6-5, 320): As a senior, Scherff was a consensus All-American, the Rimington-Pace award-winner as the Big Ten’s best offensive lineman and the Outland Trophy winner as the nation’s top lineman (offense or defense). He started all 26 games at left tackle in 2013 and 2014. He also started at left tackle in 2012, before his season ended with a broken leg and dislocated ankle, and left guard as a redshirt freshman in 2011. In high school, Scherff was a state champion in the shot put and played quarterback as a 250-pound sophomore. He could end up at guard or right tackle but he’s athletic enough to play left tackle, considering he fields punts with ease at practice and plays tennis. For a school that produced Bryan Bulaga and Riley Reiff under coach Kurt Ferentz, Scherff is pretty special. “Not many have the athletic ability that he has,” Iowa offensive line coach Brian Ferentz said. “He moves very well. You want to see guys who play with their feet. You want guys who play with their eyes. You can’t do anything if you don’t have good eyes.”
Austin Shepherd, Alabama (6-5, 330): Shepherd spent his final two seasons starting at right guard. He was second-team all-SEC as a senior. Amazingly, Shepherd already has a foundation — AustinShepherdFoundation.com — which was inspired by the death of his girlfriend’s 24-year-old brother from bone cancer. One of his events was a Jocks and Locks fund-raiser. Shepherd’s long hair was cut and, on the back of his head, a heart and the initials of a 3-year-old girl in remission from cancer were shaved.
Donovan Smith, Penn State (6-5, 322): Smith, a three-year starter at left tackle, entered the draft despite not earning any all-conference accolades as a redshirt junior in 2014. Having earned his degree in criminology — which fulfilled a promise he made to Joe Paterno — Smith was allowed to play in the Senior Bowl.
Tyrus Thompson, Oklahoma (6-4, 320): Thompson started at left tackle for his final two seasons, earning all-Big 12 first-team honors as a senior. With a wife and two young kids, Williams’ motivation is obvious. “Knowing that our whole future is based off of that, and seeing my kids right there, yeah,” Thompson said. “No doubt.”
Daryl Williams, Oklahoma (6-5, 327): Williams was a three-year starter at right tackle, earning all-Big 12 accolades each season. He was a first-team choice as a senior, when he was an honorable mention for Conference Lineman of the Year. Williams is the Godfather to Thompson’s children. He grew — literally — into a college firstname.lastname@example.org, or leave him a question in Packer Report’s subscribers-only Packers Pro Club forum. Find Bill on Twitter at twitter.com/PackerReport.