Today, we take a look at the top 5 offensive linemen in the SEC:
5) Xavier Nixon, OT, Florida
It’s kind of weird to see a Gator in the top 5 in offensive linemen, since UF’s oline wasn’t all that impressive last year. But Nixon had a very good season, albeit very quietly. He does have tons of strength and isn’t easily fooled by defender’s dekes and jukes. At time, though, he can go for the pancake block and miss. I was a little uncertain to put him here, because putting Gators so high means high expectations that aren’t always lived up to, but his raw talent gets him this spot.
4) Ben Jones, C, Georgia
He’s a senior for a Georgia team that has tons of question marks, and a dependable one at that. 2008, 2009, and 2010 were all underachieving seasons for the Dawgs, between the preseason #1 ranking being stomped on, and then stolen by the Gators in the 49-10 rout, and an abysmal 14-12 over the next two years. With all the drama of Richt keeping his job, Jones has been left alone to silently dominate opposing defensive tackles. He’s big and surprisingly quick for a linemen, a scary combo for opponents. He’s also a good leader, and Georgia’s rock for four years now despite numerous injuries.
3) Cordy Glenn, OT, Georgia
Aaron Murray is without a doubt a great QB. Perhaps he might not have had the same numbers without Glenn, a mammoth tackle who as a freshman protected his blind side very well and allowed him to blossom. This was as a freshman. Now a sophomore, Glenn will have even higher expectations to protect Murray. He’s pretty big and pretty fast, and also a good student of the game. He knows the angles opponents can take, and can open big holes for his running backs. Look for Isaiah Crowell to run up the middle a lot because of Glenn and Jones.
2) William Vlachos, C, Alabama
Jones would be an all-SEC no brainer if not for Vlachos, a monster of a man that snaps the ball for the Crimson Tide. He has pretty nimble feet for a guy as big as him, and he is also a running back’s best friend for his brute strength. Maybe the success of Trent Richardson and Mark Ingram had something to do with him. Or, more accurately, a lot to do with him. And the same goes for Greg McElroy.
1) Bradley Sowell, OT/OG, Mississippi
The Rebels averaged over 200 yards a game on the ground last year, and most of that success can be credited to Sowell, a senior who anchors a very good offensive line at Ole Miss. Brandon Bolden ran rings around defenses a year ago, and Sowell was always there providing the block- sometimes downfield, because he is that fast. And of course, he’a a mammoth of a man, who hits like a human bulldozer. He doesn’t get fooled by defenders’ moves, either, a big plus for a big guy like Sowell. He is the best offensive linemen in the SEC as of right now because he is the steadiest linemen in the nation.
The rest of the Top 10:
6) Barrett Jones, OT/OG, Alabama
7) Larry Warford, OT/OG, Kentucky
8) Bobby Massie, OG, Mississippi
9) DJ Fluker, OG/OT, Alabama
10) Chris Faulk, OT, LSU