As we pick back up with our countdown of the SEC’s 25 best players, No. 21 on the list is the first of what’s sure to be a few linemen in the group.
No. 21: Clint Boling, OT, Sr., Georgia
2009 numbers: A second-team All-SEC selection, Boling was a big part of the Bulldogs rushing for an average of 243.2 yards in their last five games.
Most recent ranking: Not ranked in preseason or postseason countdown for 2009.
Making the case for Boling: Finding a more versatile offensive lineman in the SEC would be difficult. Boling has started in 36 games during his career, splitting his time among left tackle, right tackle and right guard. Last season, he started at right tackle the first six games, made a start at right guard against Vanderbilt and then started the final six games at left tackle. Boling enters the 2010 season as the Bulldogs’ left tackle. But because he’s so versatile, the Bulldogs will have options if tackle Trinton Sturdivant and guard Tanner Strickland both return healthy in the fall. The 6-foot-5, 304-pound Boling is an excellent run blocker regardless of where he lines up, but he’s also proven to be one of the better pass protectors in the league. Last season, the Bulldogs were first in the SEC in sacks allowed, giving up just 12 in 13 games, and Boling was at either left or right tackle for 12 of his 13 starts. Boling recently underwent arthroscopic surgery on his ankle, but is expected to resume workouts in a matter of weeks. He’ll be the centerpiece of what should be one of the SEC’s best offensive lines in 2010.