Size Matters: College Football’s Biggest Offensive Linemen of 2018

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Texas A&M at LSU 2017
Even though important action takes place all over the field, the focal point of football remains in the trenches on the line of scrimmage (Photo: Terrill Weil).

This is the time of the year that I take my annual trek through college football to sizing up the offensive lines. Literally.

Deciphering which ones are the biggest is easy, but can we tell if size translates into wins? Let’s see.

The old adage that “bigger is better” sometimes applies, but after reading this article, you may alter your thinking a bit. As the average size of college football linemen continues to expland. we’ll determine if size correlates with success.

The average size of a starting FBS offensive lineman in the FBS for 2018 is 6’4.3″ tall while weighing in at 305.4 pounds.

The biggest offensive lines:
1. UMass (6’4.4″ 328.8 lbs.)
2. Missouri (6’5.2″ 328)
3. Miami (6’5″ 325.2)
4. East Carolina (6’4″ 324.4)
5. (tie) Florida State (6’5″ 323), Mississippi State (6’4.4″ 323)
7. (tie) Wisconsin (6’5.4″ 322), West Virginia (6’4.4″ 323)
9. Penn State (6’4.6″ 321.6)
10. (tie) Michigan (6’5.1″ 320.6), Florida (6’4.2″ 320.6)
12. ULM (6’4″ 320.4)
13. LSU (6’4.4″ 320.2)
14. Stanford (6’4.6″ 318.6)
15. Arkansas (6’4.6″ 316.6)
16. Georgia (6’4.8″ 315.4)
17. Pittsburgh (6’4″ 315)
18. Arizona State (6’5.2″ 314.4)

The smallest offensive lines:
1. Appalachian State (6’3.6″ 278 lbs.)
2. Air Force (6’3″ 279)
3. Texas State (6’4.2″ 283)
4. Ga. Tech (6’3.2″ 286.6)
5. Georgia Southern (6’2.6″ 288)
6. Georgia State (6’2.6″ 288.6)
7. Liberty (6’3″ 289)
8. (tie) New Mexico (6’3.6″ 290), Central Michigan (6’3.6″ 290)
10. San Jose State (6’4″ 290.8)
12. (tie) Army (6’3.2″ 292), UTEP (6’4″ 292)

Teams who made the biggest jump from 2017 to ’18:

ULM average 16 pounds more per man this season. Tulsa and Miami gained 15 lbs. more per starter from last year to this. LSU tacked on 14 pounds per projected starter. Georgia’s starters are 13 lbs. heavier this season.

The biggest drops over one season:

UTEP melted off 28 pounds per starter in a year. SMU is minus 25 lbs. per man. Washington State’s starters are 20 lbs. lighter. Minnesota, South Florida are both 15 lbs. less on average from ’17. UConn and North Texas linemen carry 13 fewer pounds.

Conferences according to SIZE per starter:
1. SEC (6’4.6″ 313.8 lbs.)
2. Big Ten (6’4.7″ 309.9)
3. ACC (6’4.7″ 309.4)
4. Big 12. (6’4.6″ 309.2)
5. PAC 12. (6’4.6″ 308.8)
6. Independent (6’4.2″ 303.6)
7. (tie) MAC (6’4.3″ 302), CUSA (6’3.7″ 302)
9. AAC (6’4.3″ 301.3)
10. Mountain West (6’4.9″ 300.3)
11. Sun Belt (6’3.5″ 296.4)

Louisiana FBS teams according to size:
1. ULM (6’4″ 320.4 lbs.)
2. LSU (6’4.4″ 320.2)
3. ULL (6’4.2″ 308.2)
4. La. Tech (6’4.4″ 307.4)
5. Tulane (6’4.4″ 303)

Any correlation between size and success? Based on how national football analyst Phil Steele feels how the season will shake out, we’ll rank his projections with o-line size averages (Note that the average starter is 6’4.3″ and 305.4 pounds yet only thre teams are below average – Michigan State, USC and South Carolina):

1. Alabama (6’4.2″ 309 lbs.)
2. Clemson (6’4″ 308)
3. Ohio State (6’6.4″ 310.6)
4. Georgia (6’4.8″ 315.4)
5. Wisconsin (6’5.4″ 322)
6. Michigan (6’5″ 320.6)
7. Washington (6’5.4″ 311.8)
8. Notre Dame (6’5.4″ 307.2)
9. Oklahoma (6’4.2″ 314.4)
10. Stanford (6’4.6″ 318.6)
11. Michigan State (6’5″ 303.8)
12. Penn State (6’4.6″ 321.6)
13. Auburn (6’4.8″ 314)
14. USC (6’4.6″ 300)
15. Texas (6’4.6″ 306)
16. Miss. State (6’4.4″ 323)
17. Miami (6’5″ 325.2)
18. Florida State (6’5″ 323)
19. Boston College (6’5.2″ 313)
20. Texas A&M (6’5.2″ 311)
21. TCU (6’5″ 308)
22. Utah (6’4.8″ 311)
23. Florida (6’4.2″ 320.6)
24. South Carolina (6’4.4″ 303.6)
25. LSU (6’4.4″ 320.2)

There’s no definitive wins-to-lineman size ratio but it seems liekly to help if you can play with the big boys by having plenty of them up front.

Finally, looks take a peek at my All-HUMONGOUS Team. There blockers are the BIGGEST of the BIGS:

Caleb Jones, Indiana freshman OT (6’8″ 360)
Daniel Faatele, Minnesota freshman OT (6’9″ 400)
Mekhi Brown, Louisville sophomore LT (6’7″ 360)
Nick Lewis, Kentucky freshman OT (6’9″ 350)
Julio Castillo, freshman UCF OG (6’6″ 367)
Lowell Furlow, UAB sophomore OT (6’8″ 350)
Samuel Jackson UCF sophomore RG (6’6″ 356)
Christian Haangana, Washington State sophomore OT (6’4″ 362)

Now it helps to have interior defensive linemen who can match up with these monster maulers. Florida State’s freshman nose tackle Robert Cooper can plug up the middle at 6’2″ 365 pounds. Oregon State has an even bigger nost tackle in junior Elu Aydon (6’3″ 380).

LAGNIAPPE:

Evan Neal is a 4 star offensive tackle in the 2019 class at IMG Academy. The 6’8″ 378 pounder lists Miami, Florida State and Alabama as his top three while LSU and many other top programs have offered.

Miami’s offensive line is built to run to its right side. Sophomore right tackle Navaughn Donaldson (6’5″ 350) and junior right guard Hayden Mahoney (6’6″ 350) can block out the sun.

ULM won’t get pushed around in the Sun Belt. Junior left guard Devin Jackson, a New Orleans product out of Edna Karr, is 6’3″ 350 pounds. Warhawks junior tackle Joquarious Savage (6’6″ 356) is another huge blocker for the offense in Monroe.

Penn State has a set of bookend starting tackles who fit the monster mold – senior RT Chasz Wright (6’7″ 348) and junior LT Sterling Jenkins (6’8″ 343).

I’ll give you a name to track this fall and beyond on the prep scene. Kiyaunta Goodwin (6’7″ 370) out of Louisville enters ninth grade this fall. Alabama has recently offered, as has Louisville, Western Kentucky and Kentucky.

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