ATK Roundup: Offensive Line Preview
After a brief hiatus, we’re back in business with our AdvoCare Texas Kickoff position previews! Next up, we take a look in the trenches at a few key players from a couple of the best offensive lines in the country:
Wisconsin is known throughout college football for a strong run game anchored by a punishing offensive line, and 2014 will be no different. The Badgers return one of the most experienced units in the country, as the projected starters have an average of 3.4 years of experience per player (3 redshirt seniors, 1 redshirt junior & 1 redshirt sophomore).
Rob Havenstein – RS SR – RT
The anchor of the Badgers’ offensive line is one of the biggest humans in college football. Standing at 6 foot 8 and topping the scales at 333 pounds, right tackle Rob Havenstein is not only the largest man on the line, he’s also the most experienced, starting 28 games for the Badgers over the last three years.
Havenstein will have an especially important role against LSU’s group of elite defensive ends. The Tigers lost a few key players on defense but will reload as always with another elite group of defenders, including potential 2015 first round pick Danielle Hunter. If the Badgers are able to get All-American runningback Melvin Gordon going against the stout LSU front, it’ll start with Havenstein and company.
Kyle Costigan – RS SR – RG
The second most experienced man on the line, redshirt senior Kyle Costigan, will line up next to Havenstein at right guard. Costigan has been a been a mainstay on the offensive line since making the switch from defensive tackle two seasons ago, despite a nagging right knee injury suffered early in the 2012 season. In that game, he dislocated his kneecap, tore his meniscus and and sprained a couple other ligaments in his knee. Despite the injury, Costigan only missed one play of that game.
In 2013, Costigan ended up in somewhat of a timeshare with senior Zac Matthais, mostly to keep Costigan’s balky knee fresh throughout the year. However after an offseason surgery, Costigan is hopeful to be back as close to 100% as possible in 2014.
They Said It: “He’s the toughest man in the world. It’s a Ripley’s Believe It or Not Fact. He wakes up and eats bowls of nails for breakfast.” Havenstein on Costigan during Big Ten media days
Like many SEC teams, LSU’s offense has usually been built from the line out. The SEC had eleven offensive linemen selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, and will likely see a similar output this year. LSU’s lone o-line contribution to that list, guard Trae Turner, was taken in the 3rd round. However a strong season by a two talented bookend tackles will likely increase that number in 2015.
La ‘el Collins – SR – LT
A potential 1st or 2nd round pick had he entered the 2014 draft, Collins returns to Baton Rouge as one of the best tackles in the country. The 6’5, 321 pound senior anchors the left side of the Tigers’ line and has been projected as a top 15 pick next spring.
Collins spent the offseason reportedly getting into the best shape of his young career and will look serve as the leader on one of the most talented LSU offensive lines in recent history. He will have the always important role of protecting the blind side of the Tigers’ yet to be determined starter at quarterback, either sophomore Anthony Jennings or freshman phenom Brandon Harris.
Jerald Hawkins – RS SO – RT
Potentially following in Collins’ footsteps as the next highly drafted LSU tackle is sophomore Jerald Hawkins. At 6’6″ and 309 pounds, Hawkins has the size and quickness and athleticism to dominate the spot as he gets more experience.
Hawkins has made a stunningly quick transition from a high school defensive linemen to a top tier SEC tackle, starting 12 of 13 games at right tackle in 2013 after redshirting in 2012. Hawkins and Collins will team up to form one of the more formidable tackle duos in the SEC.
As always, below is our Here’s-How-Excited-Everyone-Is-For-Our-Game list. Feel free send us more if you see them!
4. Bleacher Report (again)
10. Sporting News