Top 5 Offensive Linemen For the AAC in 2013
AAC Power Rankings: Offensive Line
There are thousands of analogies you can make with football. For instance, if you had a body and each part of the offense made up a piece of that body, the quarterback would be the head, the running back the legs and the wide receivers as the arms and hands. But, the most important part that holds everything together is the torso, which would be made up of by the offensive line.
A team's success on offense, from running the ball to the quarterback dropping back to pass, all hinges on the offensive line opening up holes and giving the quarterback time to find the open receiver. Many believe that the offensive line is the most important part of an offense and it is shown every year in the NFL Draft, where franchises select these monsters of men to anchor the line and protect the signal callers.
In NCAA football, the elite programs always have a sound and disciplined offensive line that can protect the passer and pave the way for running backs to wear down the opposing defense. When people think of the league's with best offensive linemen, they often think of the power conferences such as the SEC, Big Ten and Big XII. But, there are elite guys throughout the NCAA.
Heading into its inaugural season, the AAC will have plenty of talent on the offensive line to keep an eye on. Each week entering the 2013 season, we have listed the top five players at each position in the AAC. This week, we take a glance at the top five offensive line men in the conference based on past performance and expectations coming into this season.
No.5 Torian Wilson
The Central Florida Knights will have one of the better offenses in the AAC this year, and quarterback Blake Bortles top protector is junior Torian Wilson. Wilson has started since his freshman year, but it was not until last season that he really began to show how dominant he can be. At left tackle, Wilson has the most important job of protecting Bortles' blind side.
Wilson still has a lot to learn, but his strength and size make him one of the best in the league.
No.4 Antwan Lowery
Antwan Lowery is the first piece in a very good Rutgers Scarlet Knights' offensive line. He never really got along that well with former coach Greg Schiano, but once then offensive line coach Kyle Flood was promoted to the head coach, Lowery started to come along nicely. He made a big jump from his sophomore to junior year in his technique and pass-blocking ability.
Now as a senior, Lowery is one of the key pieces of the Scarlet Knights line. He should be one of the best in the conference this year and has NFL potential.
No.3 Eric Lefeld
Over the past few years, the Cincinnati Bearcats have been known to have offensive linemen that did not necessarily have a ton of size, but made up for it with hard work and sound technique. Such is the case for junior Eric Lefeld, who is not huge, but he has long arms and uses them to gain leverage on defensive linemen and keep them at bay.
The Bearcats have a quarterback battle going on in head coach Tommy Tuberville's first season, but lucky for them, they have a guy like Lefeld who is firmly entrenched as the anchor of the line.
No.2 Betim Bujari
Making up another huge piece of the Rutgers offensive line is junior Rimington Award Trophy Watch List center Betim Bujari, who is versatile and can play several positions on the line, but has found a home at center snapping the ball to quarterback Gary Nova. Bujari has great size and strength, and utilizes both well.
After just one season starting at center, he has established himself as one of the premier players at his position. Bujari, with more time to master the position, should be the best snapper in the AAC.
No.1 Kaleb Johnson
Completing what should be the best line in the AAC, and one of the best in the country, is Rutgers junior Kaleb Johnson. Johnson has been starting since his freshman year, and for good reason. He has all the skills and the size that NFL scouts look for when drafting an offensive lineman. What makes him scary is that he still has not even scratched the surface to how good he can be.
He moved to left tackle last season and flourished. With a season at the position under his belt and another year to learn more, Johnson is on his way to being an elite pass protector and a top prospect for the NFL.
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