OSU’s offensive line took a massive step forward last season when they blocked for their first 1000 yard rusher in years. This year expectations are sky high with the talent around them and the wealth of returning experience. Every starting interior lineman from last season returns this year. They really came together late in the season as well. In the last six games, OSU rushed for 5.47 yard per carry. Over the entire season that would’ve been top 20 in the nation. The real question is if they’ll be able to step up their pass protection, their only weakness last year. If they can improve in their pass blocking for what should be the nations premier passing attack, they could see themselves in the playoffs.
Here we will be examining the depth chart of the interior offensive lineman:
Brad Lundblade (SR.)
A former three-star prospect, Lundblade is one of only two offensive lineman to play as a true freshmen under Gundy. The other? Russel Okung, who you might’ve seen play left tackle on Sunday’s. Lundblade is as consistent performer as there is in college football. Starting every game since the Baylor game his freshmen year, he’s a huge part of the Pokes revitalized running game. He is the unquestioned starter heading into the season.
Lundblade joined the Cowboys without an offer as a walk-on. Despite this he’s become a mainstay in OSU’s starting lineup. As well he has been added to the Rimington watch list the past two-seasons (award for nation’s top center). Lundblade also has one of the most underrated strengths in a center, intelligence. He has been a first team all Big 12 academic selection and is majoring in marketing.
Marcus Keyes (R-SO.)
A last minute signing day addition to the team, Keyes has surpassed all expectations for him. Starting all 13 games his freshmen year, he took the job from mainstay Jesse Robinson and never gave it up. This year won’t be any different. Keye’s doesn’t have the size at 6’3 300 lb’s to play tackle, but he has the strength. Combine that with above average guard mobility and he is a force inside. With three more years of eligibility remaining, he should become one of the premier lineman in the conference.
Larry Williams (R-SR.)
Williams started the first five games last year before sustaining an injury and losing his job. This year he will step right back into the starting role at right guard. Williams was originally a three-star prospect before going the JUCO route. After a first team all NJCAA selection his sophomore year, he decided to continue his career at OSU. Since then he’s been a solid starter when healthy. At 6’4 318 lb’s, he has good size to play inside and the strength to play outside. As a primarily pass protecting lineman, Williams is a good complement to his fellow linemen.
Arlington Hambright (SR.)
A three-star prospect, Hambright is another product of the JUCO route. After winning a national junior college championship at left tackle, he decided to step up to the big leagues. Since then he’s been a role player for the pokes as a versatile and useful cog. This year he should back up left guard. Hambright is the kind of player who can start anywhere on the line except center and should be the first name called if there’s an injury. Known for his physical play, Hambright lays it on the line every play. Having a player like this to back up starters is a big asset for OSU.
Johnny Wilson (R-SO.)
Originally a four-star recruit, Wilson committed and shut down his recruitment immediately when OSU offered. After putting on 40 lb’s since arriving in Stillwater, Wilson is ready to contribute. The question is where. He will be a great option at center should Lundblade get injured, and a good option at guard as well should he be needed. At 6’3 310 lb’s, he has an ideal frame for the position. When Lundblade graduates, expect him to step into the starting role without issue.
Matt Kegel (R-FR.)
A three-star out of Minnesota, Kegel is something of an unknown for the pokes. Just about all that there is to go on his high school tape and performance in the spring game. Based on both of those things he looks ready to contribute immediately. At 6’5 he’s big for a guard but possesses the mobility to make it work. His strength is lacking if he hopes to move to the outside but so far shows great talent. He will be a starter at some point in his career for sure.
Next time I will be covering the line on the other side of the ball.