Continuing the look at my preseason All-SEC team, today I will look at the offensive tackle position. This was a star-studded position a year ago that saw two players, Jake Matthews and Greg Robinson, drafted in the top 10 of the NFL draft.
There is plenty of talent at the position in 2014. Many players are deserving, and there are not a lot of right answers. After looking at the situations, however, I went with Laremy Tunsil of the Ole Miss Rebels and Cedric Ogbuehi of the Texas A&M Aggies.
Tunsil entered last season with a ton of expectation placed on him as he was a highly-touted recruit, and his recruitment created some drama. He met those expectations and played well as a true freshman, earning Second Team All-SEC honors. With a full year under his belt, he is primed for a huge season.
The Rebels are a dark horse in the SEC West after taking their lumps with some young players from their huge 2013 recruiting class. With those players now a year older, I’d expect to see them challenge some traditional powers in the division. Tunsil will be a major part of that, and my guess is he’ll be the best offensive lineman in the conference by season’s end.
Ogbuehi will take over for Matthews on the left side of the Aggies line after playing on the right a season ago. He steps in with enormous shoes to fill after the previous two players at that position were first-round picks. After playing well a season ago as part of an Aggies line that only gave up 20 sacks and was fifth in the league in that category, he will also step into a leadership role on offense. The Aggies will lean heavily on him to be their anchor in the fall.
A new quarterback under center and some new skill position players mean that Kevin Sumlin needs Ogbuehi to be the next Matthews and Luke Joeckel. The pressure will be immense on Ogbuehi’s shoulders, but he is ready to take over and should continue the run of great Texas A&M tackles.
Again, there are a lot of right answers at the tackle position, but these two should be among the best. It wouldn’t be surprised to see one of them take home some hardware at season’s end, and both be First Team All-SEC selections when it’s all said and done.