Thursday, February 20, 2014
Top position classes: OL
By Gerry Hamilton
With national signing day in the books, RecruitingNation is looking at the top position classes. For the full series, click here.
Nationally (and SEC) Not only did Alabama put together the best offensive line class in the 2014 cycle, but it's also one of the best in recent memory. The Crimson Tide inked early enrollee and five-star offensive tackle Cameron Robinson (Monroe, La./West Monroe) and also got top-ranked junior college offensive tackle Dominick Jackson (San Mateo, Calif./College of San Mateo). On the interior, the nation's top two centers, No. 168 overall Josh Casher (Mobile, Ala./Saint Paul’s Episcopal) and No. 190 J.C. Hassenauer (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge) signed, as did No. 3 guard Ross Pierschbacher (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls). A second guard in the class is three-star Montel McBride (Plant City, Fla./Plant City), who could also play nose tackle at the next level.
The Crimson Tide had the nation’s best offensive line class; here’s which schools had the best in each of the remaining power conferences:
ACC Florida State's skill talent and speed almost always come first, but the most important area of need in 2014 may have been the offensive line. As expected, the national champions walked away with an impressive seven-player haul. At tackle, ESPN 300 No. 158 Roderick Johnson (Florissant, Mo./Hazelwood Central) and three-star Derrick Kelly Jr. (Quincy, Fla./East Gadsden) were signing day wins. A third edge prospect in the class is No. 2 junior college tackle Chad Mavety (Garden City, N.Y./Nassau Community College), while the guards include ESPN 300 No. 191 Corey Martinez (Tampa, Fla./Tampa Catholic) and junior college transfer Kareem Are (Fort Scott, Kan./Fort Scott Community College). The Seminoles also inked the No. 8 center in Alec Eberle (Mechanicsville, Va./Atlee).
Big 12 Oklahoma put together a very impressive class on offense, and that includes the offensive line. The Sooners inked six linemen on Feb. 5, and each position on the front is included. Four-star Alex Dalton (Troy, Ohio/Troy) is the nation's No. 6 center, while four-star Natrell Curtis (Phoenix, Ariz./Mountain Pointe) is the No. 23 guard. Signing day was particularly good for Bob Stoops and his staff with the addition of high three-star tackles Kenyon Frison (West Valley City, Utah/Granger) and Orlando Brown Jr. (Duluth, Ga./Peachtree Ridge) signing LOIs. Oklahoma also made the most of its Sugar Bowl win over Alabama by grabbing one of New Orleans' best offensive guards in three-star Joseph Paul (New Orleans/Saint Augustine). And the depth in this class comes from three-star guard Jonathan Alvarez (Mesquite, Texas/Horn). The six linemen are from six different states, so the Sooners flexed their national-brand muscles.
Big Ten Ohio State’s top-10 recruiting class restocked its offensive front. Urban Meyer and staff signed five offensive line prospects, including ESPN 300 No. 6 offensive tackle Jamarco Jones (Chicago/De La Salle Institute) and No. 11 guard Demetrius Knox (Fort Worth, Texas/All Saints Episcopal). Three-stars Kyle Trout (Lancaster, Ohio/Lancaster), Marcelys Jones (Cleveland/Glenville) and Brady Taylor (Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Ready) could all play tackle, with the massive Jones the most likely to move inside. This class is made up of four big-bodied prospects.
Pac-12 While Alabama’s entire offensive line class was the best at the position, USC put together the best group of guards with ESPN 300 No. 67 overall Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco), No. 96 Viane Talamaivao (Corona, Calif./Centennial) and No. 116 Toa Lobendahn (La Habra, Calif./La Habra). Senior riser and ESPN 300 No. 272 Chris Brown (Los Angeles/Loyola) is a talented tackle with very impressive hip and ankle flexibility. The fifth OL prospect in the class is three-star tackle Jordan Austin (Claremont, Calif./Claremont).