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3-Point Stance: Big 12 OL Tiers, WR Recruiting, Group of 5 Receivers

3-Point Stance - Connor Galvin Offensive Line

3-Point Stance - Connor Galvin Offensive Line

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]National Columnist Mike Farrell is here with the 3-Point Stance looking at offensive line tiers in the Big 12, the best WR recruiting programs in recent years, and Group of Five receivers to keep an eye on.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]— Let’s finish the dive into the Power Five offensive line with the tiers in the Big 12.

Elite: Baylor, Oklahoma

The Bears bring back four starters from what was arguably the best line in the conference last season, and they should be excellent once again. It all starts with All-American left tackle Connor Galvin, who is either the best or second best tackle in the conference (along with KSU's Cooper Beebe). The only new starter this season on the team will be next to Galvin at left guard, where there's a good battle heading into fall camp between sophomore Micah Mazzccua and senior Mose Jeffrey. Jacob Gall returns at center and is pre-season first-team all-Big 12 at the position per Phil Steele and Athlon. Former Vanderbilt transfer Grant Miller returns for his second consecutive season in Waco as the starter, while senior Khalil Keith stays manning the right tackle position. Baylor should be in great shape again across the line.

There are more question marks than usual along the OU offensive line this year but also a ton of talent and the play of that unit will determine just how far the team can go. Let's start with the good, where Cal transfer McKade Mettauer will slot into the left guard spot vacated by Marquis Hayes. He's a solid player but won't wow you with anything. Chris Murray returns at the other guard spot, but he'll have to improve his technique and cut down on penalties - his 10 flags led the team last year, but he still has a ton of upside. Center Andrew Raym also returns and should blossom into a star. Anton Harrison is the most talented of the group and has NFL teams very intrigued while the other spot comes down to Wanya Morris and Savion Byrd battling it out. Morris was one of the biggest names on the transfer market in 2021 but barely saw the field last fall for the Sooners. 2021 four-star recruit Byrd has huge upside with his massive 6'7" frame.

Good but not Great: West Virginia

In a bit of an upset, the Mountaineers have one of the strongest units in the conference, buoyed by the return of four starters. Former Virginia Tech transfer Doug Nestor was excellent in his first season in Morgantown, and he returns at right guard, next to stalwart center Zach Frazier. Left tackle Wyatt Milum made 8 starts as a true freshman and held up remarkably well. Assuming he takes another step forward as a sophomore, he could be a second or third-team all-conference selection. Guard James Gmiter also returns for his final year of eligibility and is a very reliable player on the interior of the line. The only real question for this squad is who starts at right tackle? Brandon Yates and Ja'Quay Hubbard were listed as co-starters on the official depth chart heading into fall camp, and that is a truly open competition. But no matter who ends up starting at that spot, they're going to have four above-average to very good players next to them.

That'll Do: Iowa State, Kansas State, Oklahoma State, TCU, Texas

The Cyclones return 3 starters from 2021, where they had a very solid line. Trevor Downing is the big name to know here, as he moves from guard, where he started every game last year in the regular season, to center, where he started their bowl game. He's a first-team All-conference talent and could have a huge senior season. Darrell Simmons Jr. also returns to the starting lineup at right guard after an up-and-down season. The final returning starter is Jarrod Hufford, who will move from left tackle to left guard to make way for sophomore Tyler Miller, who is slated to take over on the blind side. He is very green and will be challenged immediately in his career. Junior Jake Remsberg takes over at right tackle and will also need to get up to speed quickly, as he's played primarily special teams in his career. A couple of solid pieces but even more question marks.

Cooper Beebe is the headliner for a Wildcats team should be solid on the line. The All-American tackle may actually kick in to guard - as that's where he sees his NFL future- but no matter where he lines up, he's a big difference maker. That would make room for redshirt freshman Andrew Leingang who really impressed coaches this spring. Christian Duffie returns at right tackle where he started every game last season and is rock-solid. The questions come on the interior of the line, where all three starters from last season must be replaced. Taylor Poitier is all but a lock for one of the interior positions, while KT Leveston is at least penciled in at the other guard spot unless Beebe kicks inside. Center is probably the most wide open, where Hayden Gillum and Hadley Panzer are vying for the starting spot. If Leingang is the real deal that allows Beebe to move to guard, this unit has a chance to jump up a couple of levels.

Yet again, the 'Pokes offensive line is a question mark as they had in to fall camp. They're down two starters from last season, lost another to injury this spring (Cole Birmingham, who played more snaps than anyone else on the team last year), and have also lost players to the transfer portal. They've brought in reinforcements however, as Casey Collier (USC) and Jason Brooks (Vanderbilt) both have 3 years of eligibility and some upside. Hunter Woodard returns at guard where he was solid last season, but the other spot is a true tossup where Taylor Miterko, Brooks, and Tyrone Webber will battle it out. Preston Wilson returns but will move to center from his right tackle spot last season.

Three starters return for the Horned Frogs, but they're without Obinna Eze who was their best player on the line last season. Marcus Williams appears to be first up to take his left tackle spot, but it's an open competition heading into fall camp. The Frogs also lost Coy McMillon and look to be set to move center Steve Avila back to his natural position of guard. They brought in Alan Ali from SMU to take over the center position which will help assimilate the rest of the line to new coach Sonny Dykes' blocking schemes. Andrew Coker returns at RT, but he really struggled last year and will need to step up in his junior season. Left guard Brandon Coleman was solid as a starter last season and should continue to lock down that spot. There's definitely some talent and potential here, but we'll need to see it all put together.

The biggest question mark for the Longhorns this year remains on the offensive line. Center Jake Majors returns alongside Junior Angilau at left guard, and both of those guys have seen a fair bit of football. Angilau is a very good run blocker but will need to improve his pass protection if new quarterback Quinn Ewers is going to find success. Christian Jones is also back at right tackle, but he struggled the most among Texas' starters last season. The questions start to come on the left side of the line, though, as the post-spring 2-deep lists two true freshmen at that position. Devon Campbell and Cole Hutson were both very highly sought-after recruits but will be thrown into the fire immediately. Left tackle is also a mystery, as RS sophomore Andrej Karic got some good experience after seeing 270+ snaps last season. But five-star true freshman Kelvin Banks is the future of the position and may usurp Karic in fall camp. Huge upside for this unit but more questions than answers at the moment.

Cross Your Fingers and Pray: Kansas, Texas Tech

It's not a shock that the Jayhawks are in the bottom tier as they've been among the worst programs in the Power Five for a decade. So while the Jayhawks bring back four starters, only one of them would even be considered average for the Big 12. That would be center Mike Novitsky, the former Buffalo transfer. Kansas has both starting tackles from last season coming back in Earl Bostick Jr. and Bryce Cabeldue. Michael Ford Jr. also returns at right guard, but all three of them will need to make big strides from last season to this one if they're going to be difference makers in any form. Armaj Reed-Adams is in line to take over the left guard spot for Malik Clark, but he's seen very little action in his first two years on campus. Going to be another long season in the trenches for the Jayhawks.

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With a new coaching staff headed up by Joey McGuire, the Red Raiders are in a state of complete flux on the offensive line. The left side of the line - tackle Caleb Rogers and guard Weston Wright - both return from last season, but coaches have openly admitted that every spot is up for grabs, and there's a good chance that guys will move around to new positions. Texas Tech also brought in five transfers along the line, most notably Cade Briggs (New Mexico) and Monroe Mills (Oklahoma State), both of whom should be in line to start at center and right tackle, respectively. Former USC tackle Ty Buchanon is another name to watch at tackle, while Cole Spencer (WKU) and Michael Shanahan (UT-Martin) could both push for time. Landon Peterson appears to be the best bet to start the opener at left guard, but at this point, it's pretty speculative to assume who is going to be starting at pretty much any spot on the Red Raiders' line.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]— I continue my look at the best programs at recruiting certain positions with the wide receivers.

1. Ohio State

Not only do they develop better than anyone else lately they continue to recruit five stars at well as we’ve seen in this 2023 cycle.

2. Alabama

It’s hard to match the recruiting run of 'Bama with Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Devonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle all elite recruits who went on to be first rounders.

3. USC

Jordan Addison counts here as does Mario Williams and players like Drake London and others have been big recruiting wins.

4. Oklahoma

They may have lost a few to the portal but CeeDee Lamb, Marvin Mims and others have stayed and panned out and you have to give them credit for three five star receivers in one recruiting year.

5. Clemson

From Tee Huggins to Justyn Ross the recruiting has been amazing at Clemson.[/vc_column_text][vc_separator][vc_column_text]— And finally the best Group of Five wide receivers to watch.

1. Nathaniel Dell, Houston

If you haven’t seen him, you should. He’s a dynamic talent who will be in the round one discussion before he’s done. He could have over 100 catches this season.

2. Dante Cephas, Kent State

Never heard of him? 82 catches for 1,240 yards last season speaks volumes.

3. Zakhari Franklin, UTSA

Frank Harris isn’t well known and neither is his top target, but they should be. 12 touchdowns last season and could have more this year.

4. Demario Douglas, Liberty

Okay, they aren’t technically Group of Five as an FBS Independent, but he’s too good to exclude. He’s small but dynamic.

5. Xavier Weaver, USF

It’s hard to believe he’s only had two touchdowns, but that will change this season.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]