[Editor's note: This post was originally published on PFF.com on January 6, 2020]
The 2019 college football season is just two games away from its culmination, and as such, we take a look today at the best offensive line units from this season's action.
This year, offensive lines across college football were pivotal to some teams' triumphs, while other teams utilized strong play elsewhere to find their success. Taking into account the PFF grade for each player to play the majority of snaps at each position, along with each team’s positional rotation, strength of schedule and percentage of positively graded plays against negatively graded plays, here are the offensive line rankings for all 130 FBS teams from the 2019 season.
130. GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS
Highest-graded player: OG Mikey Minihan – 61.9 (181st)
It was a rebuilding year for Georgia Tech, as their offensive line had to adjust to pass-blocking more than they ever had with the triple-option of years past. The Yellow Jackets struggled mightily in the switch from a dominant run-first offense, and they gave up the nation's highest sack+hit rate, with 12.1% of their pressures ending up with the quarterback on the ground. They also lost 34.9% of their pass-blocking reps, by far the highest in the country, and the unit also had the nation's lowest pass-blocking efficiency rating as well as the 129th-ranked run-blocking grade.
129. FLORIDA STATE SEMINOLES
Highest-graded player: OG Dontae Lucas – 61.7 (185th)
Everybody knows that it was an ugly offensive year for FSU, and any layman who watched their games could say they knew the main culprit: the offensive line. The Seminoles' offensive line gave up the 11th-most pressures (136th), the fourth-most sacks, the fourth-most hits and the second-most combined sacks and hits this year. Their 10.5% sack+hit rate ranked fifth in the country, and their allowed pressure rate of 25.9% was the 20th-highest.
128. VANDERBILT COMMODORES
Highest-graded player: OT Devin Cochran – 68.3 (128th)
Vanderbilt's offensive line just couldn't pave the way in the run game, as they finished with the lowest run-blocking grade as a unit this season. Their pass protection wasn't much better either, as they ended the season ranked 122nd in pass-blocking grade after giving up pressure at the nation's 16th-highest rate.
127. AKRON ZIPS
Highest-graded player: OT Trevor Brown – 62.3 (200th)
The Zips' offensive line was a big problem area for Akron's chances this year, as they gave up a whopping 172 pressures in total. That is by far the most pressures given up by an offensive line, and that included giving up pressure on 33.1% of their snaps — the nation's second-highest percentage.
126. EAST CAROLINA PIRATES
Highest-graded player: OT D'Ante Smith – 71.0 (96th)
ECU's passing attack took the field for 492 dropbacks this season, just the 48th-most passing snaps. However, their offensive line allowed 141 total pressures, ranking as the seventh-most in the country in doing so. All told, they gave up pressure on 28.6% of their pass-blocking snaps, the nation's ninth-highest percentage.
125. UMASS MINUTEMEN
Highest-graded player: OT Larnel Coleman – 66.0 (163rd)
The UMass offensive line had just one position group rank inside the top 100 in both pass-blocking and run-blocking, and that was thanks in part to Coleman, who finished with the country's 97th-best run-blocking grade. It was an ugly year on offense for UMass, and the offensive line certainly didn't help.
124. OLD DOMINION MONARCHS
Highest-graded player: OT Nick Saldiveri – 68.5 (123rd)
Ranking just 116th in pass-blocking grade as a unit, the ODU offensive line was actually better in pass protection than they were in the run game, where they ranked 125th this season. Saldiveri had his moments throughout the year, but he was largely outdone by the interior of the offensive line, as ODU's guards and centers ranked 120th in overall grade.
123. NEVADA WOLF PACK
Highest-graded player: C Nathan Edwards – 60.6 (93rd)
Nevada dropped back to pass on 521 snaps this season, the 26th-most in the country. And while they graded inside the top 70 in terms of pass-blocking grade, they still allowed the 14th-most pressures as an offensive line. That was outdone, however, by their 127th-ranked run-blocking grade as a unit, as no position group graded higher than 52.6 in the run game.
122. MIDDLE TENNESSEE BLUE RAIDERS
Highest-graded player: OT Robert Jones – 72.6 (83rd)
The Blue Raiders' offensive line had two strong areas of play — and that came at right and left tackle. After that, their guards ranked 127th in overall grade and their centers ranked 128th in overall grade, as they were three players short of finding themselves anywhere inside the top 100 in terms of PFF overall grade. Jones and Will Gilchrist were the only two bright spots on the offensive line.
121. SOUTH ALABAMA JAGUARS
Highest-graded player: C Brian Ankerson – 60.9 (91st)
The Jaguars had a few moments that made viewers say, “wow,” but the offensive line didn't feature in any of them. They ranked 117th in pass protection and 114th in the run game, as their highest-graded positional unit was their center play (67th in the run game), while every other positional group finished in the triple-digits.
120. ARKANSAS STATE RED WOLVES
Highest-graded player: OG Andre Harris Jr. – 67.8 (100th)
It's a great thing that Harris was as strong as he was in both pass protection and run blocking, because the rest of the Red Wolves' offensive line had their struggles this year. Harris had the nation's eighth-highest pass-blocking grade among all guards and surrendered just nine pressures on his 551 pass-blocking snaps this year. Unfortunately, the rest of the offensive line gave up 133 pressures, and that total of 142 is the fifth-most in the nation.
119. CINCINNATI BEARCATS
Highest-graded player: OG Morgan James – 66.1 (113th)
It's a good thing that Desmond Ridder could buy himself some time in the pocket on his own, because the Bearcats offensive line ranked just 127th in pass-blocking grade this season, which outdid their successful blocking in the run game. They allowed 16 sacks (21st-most) and 10 more hits, and they didn't have a single position group crack the top 100 in PFF overall grade.
118. MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Highest-graded player: C Ellis McKennie – 70.2 (35th)
The Terrapins struggled to keep their quarterbacks off the ground this season and allowed a sack or hit on 11.7% of their pass-blocking snaps, the second-highest rate in the country. They also allowed 130 pressures on just 420 pass-blocking snaps for a 30.9% pressure rate that ranked as the fourth-highest mark in the FBS. It's a good thing that their run-blocking grade ranked inside the top 100 at each position, otherwise they'd be much lower here.
117. NEW MEXICO STATE AGGIES
Highest-graded player: OT Brian Trujillo – 76.3 (55th)
You've got to be able to pass the ball if you want to have success, and you've got to be able to give your quarterback time to do so. The Aggies did not do such a thing this season and gave up 150 pressures, the third-most in the nation. They gave up those pressures 2.55 seconds after the snap on average — the 20th-fastest time in the FBS.
116. UTEP MINERS
Highest-graded player: OG Bobby Deharo – 70.1 (67th)
There were some strong moments in the run game from the UTEP guards and tackles, but they really missed consistency in 2019. Their pass-protection woes saw them give up a sack or hit on 8.4% of their snaps, the 19th-highest rate, as it was boom or bust with them in the passing game.
115. PURDUE BOILERMAKERS
Highest-graded player: C Sam Garvin – 72.6 (25th)
Purdue's offensive line struggled with pass protection this season, giving up the 10th-most pressures as a unit. However, that pales in comparison to their struggles in the run game. The team ranked just 124th in run-blocking grade as a unit, and their highest-graded run-blocker ranked just 84th in the country.
114. MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Highest-graded player: OG Luke Campbell – 60.9 (202nd)
When you see that Michigan State's highest-graded offensive lineman is in the 200s in terms of rankings, you can understand just how bad it was for the team. As a unit, the Spartans didn't crack the top 100 in run-blocking, pass-blocking or overall grades this season, and their highest-graded unit overall came by way of their center play — checking in at 83rd overall.
113. TENNESSEE VOLUNTEERS
Highest-graded player: OG Trey Smith – 77.7 (14th)
Without Smith, the Volunteers' overall grades plummet and look just downright awful on the offensive line. Collectively, they ranked 124th in pass-blocking grade and 76th in run-blocking grade, all but undoing a great season by Smith, who finished as the 14th highest-graded guard in the country.
112. COASTAL CAROLINA CHANTICLEERS
Highest-graded player: C Sam Thompson – 64.7 (66th)
They may have one of the better celebrations in the country (check the Game of Thrones celebration), but their offensive line was certainly not a cause for celebration this year. They ranked just 119th in pass-blocking grade as a unit, giving up 89 pressures on just 390 pass-blocking snaps. There was some hope in the ground game that saw Thompson lead them to the 56th-ranked run-blocking grade, but that was undone on the outside by their tackles.
111. DUKE BLUE DEVILS
Highest-graded player: C Jack Wohlabaugh – 67.2 (50th)
For a team that liked to pass as much as Duke, their 125th-ranked pass-blocking unit certainly hurt their chances. They ranked 69th in run-blocking as a unit, but they gave up pressure in the passing game an average of 2.29 seconds after the snap. That rate is the second-fastest among all offensive lines.
110. RUTGERS SCARLET KNIGHTS
Highest-graded player: C Michael Maietti – 62.5 (77th)
It's no doubt that the Rutgers offense struggled this season, and their offensive line was no help to that. They did, however, rank 79th in pass-blocking grade as a unit, as Maietti and the interior of the line each cracked the top 60 overall at center and guard. Still, their run-blocking was well below average and ranked just 105th in the nation.
109. UAB BLAZERS
Highest-graded player: OG Patrick Nuss – 63.0 (170th)
It wasn't pretty in the run game for the Blazers this season, but they did find themselves with a strong interior in terms of pass protection. They combined to allow just 90 pressures — though they were on only 385 pass-blocking snaps — as their allowed pressure rate ranked in the top 40.
108. NORTH TEXAS MEAN GREEN
Highest-graded player: OT Jacob Brammer – 69.4 (115th)
In a huge lapse this season, the Mean Green had the nation's lowest-graded center unit as a whole when it came to pass protection. The centers for North Texas finished with just a 19.2 pass-blocking grade, as they were ultimately the main culprit for many of the pressures endured by quarterback Mason Fine. However, Jacob Brammer had a decent season and helped the tackle duo rank inside the top 80 in pass-blocking grade.
107. OLE MISS REBELS
Highest-graded player: OT Alex Givens – 67.6 (144th)
Ole Miss' offensive line finished just 110th in overall grade as they didn't have the chops to hold up in the SEC in the passing or rushing game. They ranked just 108th in run-blocking as a unit, as their highest-graded position group was at guard, ranking 87th overall. They allowed a sack or hit on just 4.3% of their snaps but allowed 50 additional hurries to boot.
106. BAYLOR BEARS
Highest-graded player: OG Sam Tecklenburg – 65.9 (124th)
Baylor limited themselves to just the 34th-most pressures allowed despite staying in to pass protect for the 19th-most snaps. They struggled on the interior in the run game, but their tackles finished as the 66th-highest graded pass-blocking tackle duo in the country. Still, they ranked just 118th in the run game as a unit this season, and that's suboptimal.
105. WYOMING COWBOYS
Highest-graded player: OT Alonzo Velazquez – 67.8 (138th)
The Cowboys' offensive line had some decent run-blocking grades this season, but neither their tackles, guards or centers finished with a pass-blocking grade inside the top 80. Velazquez was their highest-graded lineman on the season, as he gave up just seven pressures on his 172 snaps yet only played nine games this year.
104. SOUTH CAROLINA GAMECOCKS
Highest-graded player: C Donell Stanley – 66.7 (55th)
When the Gamecocks' offensive line gave up pressures, they gave them up quickly. The ranked fifth in terms of fastest average pressure given up at just 2.42 seconds, as they allowed 88 total pressures on their 514 snaps. They ranked just 102nd in pass-blocking grade but that was a slight improvement on their 105th-ranked run-blocking grade this season.
103. TEXAS STATE BOBCATS
Highest-graded player: OT Aaron Brewer – 82.8 (21st)
Brewer was solid this season, but the rest of the Bobcats' offensive line really struggled, ultimately ending the campaign with the 114th-ranked pass-blocking grade and the 84th-ranked run-blocking grade. Brewer himself gave up just three combined sacks and hits on his 496 snaps in pass protection.
102. SAN JOSE STATE SPARTANS
Highest-graded player: OT Jack Snyder – 77.0 (53rd)
Snyder anchored the Spartans' offensive line by helping their tackle group finish with the 59th-ranked run-blocking tackle duo this season. Still, that was about all they did, as they ranked outside the top 100 in nearly every other category as a unit.
101. SYRACUSE ORANGE
Highest-graded player: OG Evan Adams – 64.0 (156th)
Syracuse's offensive line really struggled to move the line of scrimmage in the run game. On their 513 pass-blocking snaps, however, they allowed a pressure on 23.0% of their snaps, which is not as bad as it could have been given their 107th overall grade in the run game.
100. MIAMI (FL.) HURRICANES
Highest-graded player: OT DJ Scaife Jr. – 68.0 (135th)
The Hurricanes may have seen their highest-graded player on the offensive line finish at tackle, but how bad they were opposite Scaife is put into perspective when you realize they ranked just 110th overall as a unit on the outside and 110th in pass-blocking grade. They allowed the eighth-most pressures as a group (140) this season.
99. KENT STATE GOLDEN FLASHES
Highest-graded player: OG Julian Sams – 67.1 (109th)
Undone by their reps in pass protection, the Golden Flashes struggled to protect their quarterback to the tune of 107 total pressures allowed on their 467 pass-blocking snaps. They did rank 88th in run-blocking grade, but that was largely outweighed by their struggles to keep a clean pocket.
98. COLORADO STATE RAMS
Highest-graded player: OT Barry Wesley – 77.2 (50th)
If it weren't for their prowess in pass protection — most notably from their tackles, who ranked 33rd in pass-blocking grade — you'd be hard-pressed to see the Rams cracking the top 100 here. Each position group outside of their tackles fell outside the top 100 in overall grade, and they even had the third-lowest run-blocking grade among center groups in the country.
97. GEORGIA SOUTHERN EAGLES
Highest-graded player: OT Drew Wilson – 70.2 (103rd)
Running just the third-fewest amount of passing plays, the Eagles' bread and butter was their hybrid option attack this year, yet their offensive line ranked just 95th in run-blocking grade. Their tackles were their shining stars, ranking 57th in run-blocking grade while their guards and centers couldn't crack the top 100.
96. TULSA GOLDEN HURRICANE
Highest-graded player: OG Chris Paul – 68.9 (80th)
Tulsa's offensive line could hardly crack the top 100 in run- and pass-blocking grades this season, capping out at 95th and 86th, respectively. Their highest-ranked unit came from their guards, who finished 59th in pass protection but faltered down to 96th in the run game as they were hot and cold all year long.
95. SOUTHERN MISS GOLDEN EAGLES
Highest-graded player: OT Drake Dorbeck – 82.5 (23rd)
A much better unit in pass protection, the Southern Miss offensive line was anchored by Drake Dorbeck, who earned the 26th-best grade among tackles in pass protection. Still, that was as high as they ranked anywhere else, and their line as a unit finished 110th in run-blocking grade.
94. PITTSBURGH PANTHERS
Highest-graded player: C Jimmy Morrissey – 72.4 (28th)
Pitt's offensive line improved as you traveled inward, as their tackles ranked just 126th overall, their guards 66th overall and Morrissey at center helped them rank 26th in overall grade. Morrissey allowed just 10 pressures — all of which were hurries — as he kept a clean sheet in sacks and hits allowed this year.
93. NEBRASKA CORNHUSKERS
Highest-graded player: OT Brenden Jaimes – 72.5 (84th)
Nebraska's offensive line did a good job of limiting the number of times their quarterback was put on the ground, as they combined to allow the 27th-fewest sacks and hits. They ranked 60th in pass-blocking grade as a unit but were undone by the fact that they ranked 113th in the run game.
92. FLORIDA GATORS
Highest-graded player: OT Stone Forsythe – 70.4 (98th)
No unit on the Gators offensive line ranked higher than 85th overall, and their struggles in pass protection saw them give up 116 pressures that included 40 combined sacks and hits, the 16th-most allowed. Their run blocking wasn't much better either, as they ranked just 93rd as a group in that facet.
91. RICE OWLS
Highest-graded player: OG Nick Leverett – 68.0 (92nd)
Though they struggled to find much consistency, the Owls' offensive line had some positives in pass protection, but those were marred by the fact that they gave up 14 sacks and another 10 hits, giving up pressure on 22.3% of their reps in pass protection.
90. USF BULLS
Highest-graded player: OT Donovan Jennings – 66.1 (160th)
The Bulls' guard duo were certainly the stars of the show on the offensive line, ranking in the top 50 in pass-blocking grade and run-blocking grade among all guards. However, as a unit, they allowed the 25th-most pressures in pass protection across the board despite playing only the 89th-most pass-blocking snaps.
89. ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS
Highest-graded player: OT Steven Miller – 70.0 (107th)
Arizona State's offensive line certainly didn't do much to help their true freshman signal-caller, ranking 80th overall in pass protection. And if it weren't for some minor successes in the run game from the interior of their line, they'd find themselves even lower on this list.
88. MIAMI (OH.) REDHAWKS
Highest-graded player: OT Tommy Doyle – 73.3 (77th)
The MAC Champion RedHawks were a much better unit in pass protection than they were on the ground, ranking 76th in pass-blocking grade compared to outside the top 100 in run-blocking grade. Still, Doyle on the outside was a viable contender for the All-MAC team this season, as he helped lead the way to a top-third ranked pass-blocking duo at tackle.
87. INDIANA HOOSIERS
Highest-graded player: OG Simon Stepaniak – 68.6 (85th)
There wasn't much to write home about for the Indiana offensive line, contrary to their success on offense this season. It was their one lapsing area of play in an otherwise great season offensively, as they allowed the 41st-most pressures as a unit despite playing just the 46th-most pass-blocking snaps.
86. KANSAS JAYHAWKS
Highest-graded player: OG Chris Hughes – 70.1 (67th)
There were some big holes on the Kansas offensive line this season, most notably at center, but their tackles and guards had some moments in the sun. Hughes finished with a much better grade in pass protection (58th) than he did on the ground while their tackle group ranked 68th in pass-blocking compared to just 82nd in the run game.
85. STANFORD CARDINAL
Highest-graded player: C Drew Dalman – 74.8 (17th)
Without the play of Dalman in the middle, the Stanford line would find themselves even lower than they do now. Dalman helped the Cardinal reach the 13th-ranked run-blocking grade and 17th-ranked overall grade at center, and despite having a potential NFLer on the outside in Walker Little, their tackles and guards couldn't crack the top 90 overall.
84. VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES
Highest-graded player: OT Christian Darrisaw – 79.1 (45th)
The Hokies' offensive line was good in pass protection but subpar in the run game this year, as they ranked 62nd in pass-blocking grade but just 94th on the ground. Darrisaw was solid for Tech, as he finished with impressive 75.4-plus grades in both pass and run blocking this season.
83. UTAH STATE AGGIES
Highest-graded player: OG Karter Shaw – 71.7 (49th)
Pass protection was the name of the game for the Aggies this season, and even though they ranked just 81st as a group in pass-blocking grade, they did a great job of limiting hits on the quarterback. Together, they allowed a sack or hit just 4.1% of the time, which finished as the 25th-lowest percentage in the country.
82. UL-MONROE WARHAWKS
Highest-graded player: C Bobby Reynolds – 66.9 (53rd)
ULM had some success from the interior of their line this season thanks to Reynolds, who finished with the nation's 17th-highest pass-blocking grade. Still, they didn't rank any higher than 75th in any other facet or any other position group this season, as their offensive line as a whole was unspectacular.
81. NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS
Highest-graded player: OT Jordan Tucker – 70.2 (103rd)
The Tar Heels' bookend tackles were terrific this season, but their guard play went largely unnoticed. While they had their moments, their guards had the nation's 25th-highest grade in pass protection while their tackles ranked 30th. This is a sign that good things are to come with Sam Howell at the helm.
80. SMU MUSTANGS
Highest-graded player: OT Jaylon Thomas – 71.8 (93rd)
SMU dropped back to pass on 489 snaps, and their offensive line allowed just 81 total pressures. Included in that were just six sacks, the 18th-fewest for an offensive line to give up. They were much better in pass protection than they were in the run game, however, as they ranked just 112th as a unit on the ground.
79. UCF KNIGHTS
Highest-graded player: C Jordan Johnson – 63.9 (70th)
The Knights' offensive line had much better success on the ground than they did in pass protection, finishing with the 68th-best run-blocking grade as a unit but just 89th-best in the passing game. Johnson was a true road grader at center and helped lead their play along the interior to a top-35 grade on the ground.
78. TULANE GREEN WAVE
Highest-graded player: OG Corey Dublin – 67.7 (102nd)
Tulane's offensive line was suspect (to say the least) in the passing game, but they made up for that on the ground. They ranked 54th in run-blocking grade as a unit, led by their interior offensive line and Dublin, who ranked inside the top third of all guards in run-blocking grade.
77. LIBERTY FLAMES
Highest-graded player: C Thomas Sargeant – 67.2 (50th)
The Liberty offense flew around the field and oftentimes needed a clean pocket for Stephen Calvert to throw. The Flames' offensive line allowed the 35th-most pressures this season but gave their quaterback an average of 2.67 seconds after the snap while doing so.
76. BOWLING GREEN FALCONS
Highest-graded player: C Jack Kramer – 68.8 (44th)
Bowling Green's offensive line was tasked with run-blocking much more frequently than pass protection, as they dropped back to pass just 379 times (113th-fewest) in 2019. Their run-blocking grades didn't quite match their box-score success, though, as the rushing attack was forced to do a lot more on their own. Still, they gave up just 73 total pressures in the passing game, as they were certainly much better than advertised there.
75. GEORGIA STATE PANTHERS
Highest-graded player: OT Hunter Atkinson – 77.9 (49th)
It was a tale of two different offensive lines this season for the Panthers, as they really hit their stride on the ground but struggled in pass protection. They gave up pressure on 23.9% of their pass-blocking snaps (35th-highest) but gained an average of nearly 3.0 yards before contact per attempt on the ground.
74. UCLA BRUINS
Highest-graded player: OT Jake Burton – 79.3 (43rd)
UCLA saw their offense improve down the stretch, and their offensive line was no stranger to that improvement. For the year, their strongest suit was the ground game, and their tackles finished as the 40th-ranked run-blocking duo in the country.
73. BALL STATE CARDINALS
Highest-graded player: OT Danny Pinter – 91.2 (4th)
Led by Pinter, the nation's fourth highest-graded tackle, the Cardinals' ground game rolled in 2019. Pinter finished fourth in run-blocking grade among tackles and powered the Ball State tackle duo to the 21st-ranked overall grade this season.
72. TCU HORNED FROGS
Highest-graded player: OT Lucas Niang – 79.5 (40th)
Had they had Lucas Niang for more than just seven games this year, their ranking would almost certainly have been higher. Niang finished by allowing just six pressures on his 191 pass-blocking snaps, and he had the nation's 20th-ranked pass-blocking grade.
71. CHARLOTTE 49ERS
Highest-graded player: OT Cameron Clark – 78.8 (46th)
The 49ers' offensive line was remarkably efficient this season, notably in pass protection, where they combined to allow just 10 combined sacks and hits. Their 2.7% sack+hit rate was the third-lowest in the country.
70. UTAH UTES
Highest-graded player: OT Darrin Paulo – 66.2 (159th)
The Utes had an incredible season by all accounts save for their final two outings that saw them falter just a bit. Nevertheless, their offense clicked on nearly all cylinders, especially in the run game, as they saw some incredibly positive grades from interior blockers on the ground. They had trouble on their offensive line when they had to stay in for pass protection, though, as they gave up a whopping 119 pressures on just 395 pass-blocking snaps for a 30.1% pressure rate that was the sixth-highest in the nation.
69. TOLEDO ROCKETS
Highest-graded player: OG Nick Rosi – 80.9 (6th)
Rosi was the Rockets' most dominant player on offense this season, and he helped boost the interior of the offensive line in 2019. He helped push Toledo to 29th- and 25th-placed rankings in guard and center play, respectively, while their tackle duo ranked just 117th.
68. WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS
Highest-graded player: OT Justin Herron – 68.2 (129th)
At one point this season, Wake Forest had a legitimate shot at taking down Clemson. But that was then and this is now, as they rank just 69th in overall grade but 100th in run-blocking grade. Their pass protection carried them this season, but they lost some luster as the season wore on.
67. ARKANSAS RAZORBACKS
Highest-graded player: C Ty Clary – 69.0 (41st)
Arkansas had their fair share of tumultuousness this year, and that was echoed by their offensive line. Their tackles couldn't crack the top 100 in overall grade, while Clary anchored the interior play to top 50 overall in terms of center grades. Still, the Razorbacks gave up 107 total pressures (41st-most) and averaged a pressure given up 2.63 seconds after the snap.
66. VIRGINIA CAVALIERS
Highest-graded player: C Olusegun Oluwatimi – 68.7 (46th)
The Cavaliers' offensive line improved in terms of overall grade throughout the year, especially on the interior. Their tackles were a liability in pass protection this season, ranking just 118th in pass-blocking grade, while Oluwatimi, their center, finished the season with the 29th-highest grade in pass protection.
65. NORTHERN ILLINOIS HUSKIES
Highest-graded player: OT Jordan Steckler – 81.1 (30th)
Steckler was a prime example of carrying an offensive line as on his accord, as he helped them rank 49th in pass protection as a unit this season. He allowed all of six total pressures on his 434 pass-blocking snaps this year.
64. LOUISVILLE CARDINALS
Highest-graded player: OT Mekhi Becton – 81.3 (28th)
Becton made his name known during his three years on campus for Louisville, and he led the Louisville tackle duo to the 35th overall grade at tackle this season. On the strength of the pass protection that ranked 21st among tackles, Louisville's tackle group was among the best in the ACC.
63. EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES
Highest-graded player: OT Steve Nielsen – 70.5 (123rd)
The EMU offensive line gave up a total of 104 pressures, but only 3.63% of those were sacks or hits, as they did a remarkable job of keeping QB Mike Glass off the ground. Their sack+hit rate ranked as the 19th-lowest in the country.
62. TEXAS TECH RED RAIDERS
Highest-graded player: C Dawson Deaton – 70.5 (33rd)
Like other Air Raid offenses, the nature of the play call seems to aid the offensive line as the ball gets thrown quicker than in other offensive schemes. Still, you have to be able to hold up in pass protection, and that's exactly what they did at times. Despite the sixth-most passing snaps in the country, the Red Raiders' offensive line allowed just the 52nd-most pressures.
61. WEST VIRGINIA MOUNTAINEERS
Highest-graded player: OT Colton McKivitz – 76.3 (55th)
The Mountaineers were great in pass protection this season, but they were equally as bad in the run game. No position on the line graded above 61.3 in the run game, but their pass-protection grades all topped 68.6 and ranked in the top third among FBS schools. McKivitz was their shining star, as he allowed just 15 pressures on his 513 snaps in pass protection.
60. IOWA STATE CYCLONES
Highest-graded player: OT Bryce Meeker – 68.2 (129th)
Iowa State's offensive line certainly gave up a ton of pressure, 115 total pressures to be exact, but they did do a great job of limiting sacks and hits on QB Brock Purdy. They allowed a sack or hit on just 4.78% of their pass-blocking snaps, the 39th-lowest rate this season, but they still finished outside of the top 60 units in terms of pass-blocking grade.
59. TEXAS A&M AGGIES
Highest-graded player: OT Carson Green – 75.6 (60th)
The Aggies' offensive line was a real liability in pass protection this season, ranking just 107th as a unit in pass-blocking grade. In contrast, their offensive line had the nation's 34th-highest grade on the ground and had it not been for their success in the running game, they'd have fallen even further down this list.
58. CAL GOLDEN BEARS
Highest-graded player: OT Jake Curhan – 79.5 (40th)
A tale of three different units, the Cal offensive line was divided by their success at each position bracket, finishing with the 38th overall grade in pass protection at tackle, the 113th overall grade at guard and then the 19th overall grade from center. They were solid for the most part, but the line certainly didn't win the Golden Bears any games.
57. FRESNO STATE BULLDOGS
Highest-graded player: OT Syrus Tuitele – 81.0 (31st)
With their highest-graded player on offense — Tuitele — in the lineup, the Bulldogs had a formidable offensive line, but Tuitele played only eight games this season. Still, they ranked 55th in pass-blocking grade and 46th in run-blocking grade as a unit this year.
56. NEW MEXICO LOBOS
Highest-graded player: OG David Zavala – 73.3 (36th)
Running was the name of the game for the Lobos this season, and their offensive line had some success in that regard, finishing with the 55th overall grade on the ground. However, when they did drop back to pass on all of 381 snaps (110th-fewest), they had some great success and finished with the 23rd overall grade in pass protection.
55. UTSA ROADRUNNERS
Highest-graded player: OT Josh Dunlop – 73.2 (80th)
The Roadrunner tackles were the stars of the season in San Antonio, as they finished as the 32nd-highest graded duo in college football. They were great in the passing game and even ranked 17th overall in pass-blocking grades among all tackle duos.
54. COLORADO BUFFALOES
Highest-graded player: OT Arlington Hambright – 74.8 (63rd)
By all definitions, Colorado's offensive line was very middle-of-the-pack as a unit. They finished the season ranked 47th in pass-blocking grade and 52nd in run-blocking grade but were certainly strongest on the outside at the tackle position. Hambright led them all in grade, finishing with top-third grades in the pass and run game.
53. TROY TROJANS
Highest-graded player: OT J.L. Gaston – 74.5 (66th)
Troy's offensive line certainly had their strengths — in pass protection — and their weaknesses — in the run game — during the 2019 season. Their offensive line saw each position bracket fall inside the top 50 in terms of PFF pass-blocking grade, but subsequently, each position bracket couldn't find their way inside the top 45 in terms of PFF run-blocking grade.
52. CENTRAL MICHIGAN CHIPPEWAS
Highest-graded player: OT Luke Goedeke – 81.3 (28th)
Only five offensive tackles played more snaps than Goedeke did for CMU this season, topping out at 1,031 total snaps that included 550 in pass protection and another 481 in the run game. He anchored the Chippewas this year, as their tackle duo ranked 23rd in overall grade and 13th in the run game.
51. UNLV REBELS
Highest-graded player: OG Julio Garcia – 76.9 (15th)
The running game was the strength for the UNLV offensive line this season, making way for their offensive to gain 2.30 yards before contact per carry in 2019. They may have struggled in pass protection, but their offensive line ranked 21st in run-blocking grade.
50. FAU OWLS
Highest-graded player: C Junior Diaz – 80.3 (6th)
Diaz was the go-to man for the Owls' offensive line this season, finishing with the sixth-highest grade among all centers. He finished with top-12 grades in the run and pass game and was dominant across all facets. They ranked 17th in pass-blocking grades as a unit thanks to Diaz but managed only a 72nd-ranked mark in the run game.
49. ARMY BLACK KNIGHTS
Highest-graded player: OT Luke McCleery – 85.7 (15th)
It's a good thing Army's attack is based on the ground and their option offense, because when they did have to stay in to pass protect, it wasn't pretty. Still, the Black Knights had the nation's sixth-highest run-blocking grade as a unit and put forth an average of 2.50 yards before contact per carry on the ground.
48. MISSOURI TIGERS
Highest-graded player: OT Yasir Durant – 73.3 (77th)
The Tigers were incredibly strong in pass protection during the 2019 season, ranking 14th in pass-blocking grade and allowing just 65 total pressures on 447 pass-blocking snaps. However, their lack of success in the run game saw them rank 59th in run-blocking grade, as they struggled to find much success on the ground this year.
47. NORTHWESTERN WILDCATS
Highest-graded player: OT Rashawn Slater – 90.1 (7th)
One of the better tackles in the entire country, Slater was by far the best player on offense for the Wildcats this season. Thanks in large part to his efforts, Northwestern's offensive line was able to limit themselves to just eight total sacks allowed and an overall ranking of 19th among all tackle duos this year.
46. ARIZONA WILDCATS
Highest-graded player: C Josh McCauley – 71.0 (31st)
The Wildcats' offensive line, like many others, had its strength featured on the interior, as McCauley led the interior unit to strong positive grades, especially in pass protection. As a unit overall, they ranked 32nd in the FBS by allowing a sack or hit on just 4.3% of their pass-blocking snaps this year.
45. MINNESOTA GOLDEN GOPHERS
Highest-graded player: C John Michael Schmitz – 84.1 (3rd)
A boom-or-bust unit this fall, the Gophers' line allowed a sack or hit on 10.2% of their pass-blocking snaps (sixth-highest) but allowed just 84 total pressures this year. They paved the way for an explosive passing attack when Tanner Morgan had time, while Michael Schmitz led the Big Ten in overall grade at the center position.
44. LOUISIANA TECH BULLDOGS
Highest-graded player: C Kody Russey – 76.1 (15th)
Louisiana Tech's success on the offensive line was built from within, as Russey ranked 15th in overall grade among centers and their guards cracked the top 50 at the position. Russey finished with a 74.3-plus grade in both the run and passing game this year.
43. OKLAHOMA SOONERS
Highest-graded player: OT Adrian Ealy – 73.4 (76th)
The Sooners were rarely done in by their offensive line, but they certainly weren't paced by them in 2019, either. As a unit, they ranked just 46th in pass-blocking grade, and their highest-ranking position ranked just 42nd in pass protection, as Ealy and the combination of Erik Swenson and R.J. Proctor proved to be just slightly above average this season. A favorite for All-American at center, Creed Humphrey finished with a significantly lower grade than he did a year ago and gave up 12 total pressures in 2019.
42. MISSISSIPPI STATE BULLDOGS
Highest-graded player: OT Tyre Phillips – 80.8 (32nd)
The Bulldogs did a good job of allowing time in the pocket this season, giving up pressure just 2.96 seconds after the snap on average, the 24th-best mark in the FBS. Still, no player graded higher than 32nd overall at their position, and their lack of consistency prevented them from climbing this list further.
41. HOUSTON COUGARS
Highest-graded player: OT Josh Jones – 93.2 (2nd)
Jones finished the season with just nine games in his back pocket, as he was the team's leader in overall grade in seven of those outings. Few were able to do what Jones did this season, as he limited himself to just four pressures given up on 325 pass-blocking snaps while generating the country's second-highest run-blocking grade among tackles.
40. HAWAII WARRIORS
Highest-graded player: OG J.R. Hensley – 72.2 (44th)
Hawaii's offensive line dominated at times this season but then went away at others. Still, each of their starters finished with overall grades above 66.6, but no player graded higher than Hensley at 72.2. They were good but not great, though they did an admirable job of keeping their quarterbacks off the ground by allowing a sack or hit on just 3.95% of their pass-blocking snaps, the 24th-lowest rate in the FBS.
39. OHIO BOBCATS
Highest-graded player: OT Marques Grimes – 79.2 (44th)
The strength of the Ohio offensive line was certainly on the outside, as their tackle duo finished with the 13th-highest grade in the country. As a unit, they were great in the run game, generating a positive EPA on runs more frequently than most, but they struggled in pass protection and gave up pressure on 25.8% of their pass-blocking snaps.
38. SAN DIEGO STATE AZTECS
Highest-graded player: C Keith Ismael – 80.3 (6th)
The Aztecs had perhaps the best pass-blocking season from a center thanks to their leading man on the offensive line in Keith Ismael. He finished with the nation's top pass-blocking grade and allowed just six pressures on 474 pass-blocking snaps. Unfortunately, no other position group ranked inside the top 35 in pass protection for SDSU this year.
37. MARSHALL THUNDERING HERD
Highest-graded player: OT Josh Ball – 80.5 (33rd)
Marshall's offensive line was strong from the outside in and relied heavily on their tackles and guards to keep clean pockets and pave the way in the run game. Their tackle duo ranked 11th in run-blocking grade while the Thundering Herd's guards ranked 10th in pass protection.
36. WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
Highest-graded player: C Luke Juriga – 76.7 (14th)
Western Michigan fielded another strong unit on their offensive line. They were paced by Juriga, who finished with the country's fourth-highest pass-blocking grade among centers after giving up just five pressures on 481 snaps in pass protection.
35. BOSTON COLLEGE EAGLES
Highest-graded player: OT Tyler Vrabel – 73.8 (61st)
Boston College has put forth strong offensive line play for what seemed like the entire tenure of former coach Steve Addazio, and his final season was no different. The Eagles finished with top-35 rankings in run-blocking grade and pass-blocking grade, as all five starters on the offensive line had grades above 65.0 overall.
34. FIU GOLDEN PANTHERS
Highest-graded player: OT Devontay Taylor – 74.2 (68th)
FIU's strength on their offensive line came from their guards, but the now-transferred Taylor also gave them two bookend tackles when paired with D'Antne Demery. As a group, the Golden Panthers' offensive line gave up a sack or hit on just 4.57% of their pass-blocking snaps, the 23rd-lowest rate in the country.
33. UCONN HUSKIES
Highest-graded player: OT Matt Peart – 90.0 (8th)
UConn may have struggled to get many wins this season, but their offensive line was not the culprit by any means. They got terrific play from one of the best in the AAC in Peart along with junior tackle Ryan Van Demark, who put forth a career-high grade. As a duo, UConn's tackles were the 15th-highest graded duo in college football this season.
32. NAVY MIDSHIPMEN
Highest-graded player: OT Billy Honaker – 74.1 (69th)
Clearly their focus is on the run game, as the Navy offensive line was porous in pass protection when called upon this season. Still, their dominant play in the run game saw them gain nearly 3.50 yards before contact per carry in 2019.
31. USC TROJANS
Highest-graded player: OG Alijah Vera-Tucker – 78.1 (9th)
The USC offensive line was certainly helped out by an Air Raid offense that got the ball out quickly, but they still saw some dominant play in both the run and passing game. Despite playing the ninth-most pass-blocking snaps this year, they still allowed only the 57th-most pressures and finished as a top-six ranked unit in the run game, as well.
30. LSU TIGERS
Highest-graded player: OG Damien Lewis – 76.7 (17th)
It's amazing to consider that the LSU offensive line is the weakest unit of their entire team, yet they still rank where they do here. They're bolstered by the interior of their line where Lewis and Adrian Magee are quite the duo. They've struggled at times with consistency in pass protection, but that's been long forgotten due to Joe Burrow's historic play under pressure this season.
29. TEXAS LONGHORNS
Highest-graded player: OT Samuel Cosmi – 83.7 (18th)
The Texas offensive line was certainly thought to be one of their weaknesses heading into 2019, but it was far from that. In fact, if they are both to return to college football in 2020, both Cosmi and fellow tackle Derek Kerstetter will be two of the three highest-graded returning tackles in the Big 12.
28. AUBURN TIGERS
Highest-graded player: OG Marquel Harrell – 72.4 (38th)
As a unit, this team finished by allowing just 48 total pressures on the year, the third-fewest among all teams and the fewest among non-run-first teams. Their strength was pass protection, but they did struggle mightily in the run game, hence their place here. Still, Harrell and Prince Tega Wanogho were dominant all season long, and the Tigers' offensive line was certainly crucial in keeping freshman QB Bo Nix upright all year. In fact, Nix invited seven more pressures on himself than any one offensive lineman did this year.
27. BOISE STATE BRONCOS
Highest-graded player: OT Ezra Cleveland – 82.6 (22nd)
The Broncos' strong suit in 2019 along their offensive line was certainly in the run game, as they paved the way to the 23rd overall run-blocking grade. Cleveland finished his third straight season of incredibly high grades at tackle, and they could have seen their ranking improve here had Jake Stetz not gotten injured.
26. MEMPHIS TIGERS
Highest-graded player: C Dustin Woodard – 85.4 (2nd)
Leading man Dustin Woodard was a clear reason why Memphis finished the year by ranking 16th overall in the run game. Woodward led all centers in run-blocking grade, yet he only gave up four pressures in pass protection as he was dominant in 2019.
25. OKLAHOMA STATE COWBOYS
Highest-graded player: OT Teven Jenkins – 83.7 (18th)
Oklahoma State's offensive line allowed a sack or hit on just 3.77% of their pass-blocking snaps this season, ranking 16th in the FBS, and they were led by Teven Jenkins, who gave up just eight pressures on his 412 pass-blocking snaps. As a unit, they allowed just 59 total pressures as pass protection was clearly their strong suit this year, contrary to Chuba Hubbard's success.
24. WASHINGTON STATE COUGARS
Highest-graded player: OT Abraham Lucas – 84.5 (17th)
No offensive line was tasked with as many pass-blocking assignments as the Cougars' unit was, and despite that, they still allowed just the 14th-most pressures. They were incredibly solid in pass protection, and the unit moved extremely well to the next level when the play called for it. All was led by Lucas, who gave up just 17 pressures on a whopping 786 pass-blocking snaps.
23. TEMPLE OWLS
Highest-graded player: C Matt Hennessy – 86.9 (1st)
Temple got incredibly strong play on the interior of their offensive line this season, notably from Hennessy, who finished with the second-highest grade in pass-blocking and run-blocking and finished as the country's highest-graded center overall. Temple ranked 29th in the run game to round out their strong play in pass protection as a unit.
22. KANSAS STATE WILDCATS
Highest-graded player: OG Josh Rivas – 84.6 (2nd)
Rivas was dominant when he saw the field in 2019, but so were the other members of the offensive line for Kansas State, paving clear lanes at times for either Skylar Thompson or their stable of running backs to explode through. They also limited their pressure given up by allowing just 73 total pressures on the season.
21. NC STATE WOLFPACK
Highest-graded player: OT Ikem Ekwonu – 80.5 (33rd)
If years past have told us anything, it’s that NC State will always field a dominant offensive line, and even with an influx of youth this season, that was certainly true yet again. Ekwonu stole the show with his dominant play, as the Wolfpack finished the year with the 11th-highest run-blocking grade as a unit and allowed a sack or hit on just 3.89% of their pass-blocks.
20. WKU HILLTOPPERS
Highest-graded player: OT Cole Spencer – 81.9 (25th)
Four of their seven highest-graded players on offense this season were offensive linemen, as the Hilltoppers utilized a dominant form of play to win nine games this season. As a unit, they ranked first in pass-blocking grade this year, surrendering a pressure on just 12.7% of their pass-blocking snaps, the eighth-lowest percentage in the FBS.
19. AIR FORCE FALCONS
Highest-graded player: OT Scott Hattok – 90.5 (5th)
Air Force's dominant rushing attack was thanks in large part to their offensive line, which ranked first overall in run-blocking grade as a unit. Hattok led the way at tackle but Parker Ferguson and Nolan Laufenberg each had their own dominant success in the run game.
18. APP STATE MOUNTAINEERS
Highest-graded player: OT Cooper Hodges – 79.8 (38th)
A solid all-around offensive line, the Mountaineers ranked inside the top 10 with both their guard and center play this season. Collectively, their run-blocking was certainly their strong suit, as they finished the year with the eighth-highest run-blocking grade as a unit.
17. BUFFALO BULLS
Highest-graded player: OT Kayode Awosika – 81.7 (27th)
Though they had some struggles at times in pass protection, the Bulls' offensive line ranked eighth in run-blocking grade this year and were relatively dominant at opening holes for Jaret Patterson and Co. As a unit, they helped pave the way for nearly 2.00 yards before contact per carry on the ground this season.
16. MICHIGAN WOLVERINES
Highest-graded player: OG Michael Onwenu – 76.5 (18th)
The interior of the Michigan offensive line dominated the action this season, as their collective play from their guards was the highest-graded unit in football. Onwenu and Ben Bredeson allowed just 18 total pressures in the passing game on a whopping 991 pass-blocking snaps.
15. OREGON STATE BEAVERS
Highest-graded player: OT Blake Brandel – 90.0 (8th)
Oregon State's left tackle actually held the nation's highest pass-blocking grade this year, even higher than his in-state counterpart in Penei Sewell. Brandel allowed just five pressures on 473 pass-blocking snaps as he anchored the blindside for Jake Luton brilliantly.
14. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS
Highest-graded player: C Michael Menet – 78.0 (12th)
The Nittany Lions held the advantage over Notre Dame in the run game but did have some struggles in the passing game this year. Still, Penn State's prowess at some positions was too much to look over, specifically the play of their center in Menet. For the year, Menet allowed just 15 pressures on his 434 pass-blocking snaps despite seeing some feared interior pass-rushers.
13. NOTRE DAME FIGHTING IRISH
Highest-graded player: OT Liam Eichenberg – 79.6 (39th)
Splitting hairs with the team right above them, both Notre Dame and Penn State ranked 17th in overall grade from their offensive lines this year, but the Fighting Irish get the advantage due to their second-ranked pass-blocking grade in 2019. The Fighting Irish were led by Eichenberg, who didn't allow a single sack all year long.
12. BYU COUGARS
Highest-graded player: OT Brady Christiansen – 86.9 (12th)
BYU's offense had to weave its way through multiple quarterbacks this year but their offensive line never wavered. Led by Christiansen, a star in the making, their starting left tackle ranked fifth in pass-blocking grade among all tackles this year.
11. ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
Highest-graded player: OG Kendrick Green – 79.3 (7th)
The Illini's strength on their offensive line came from the interior, notably from Kendrick Green, as he finished with the country's fourth-highest run-blocking grade among guards. Together, they ranked as the 17th-best unit in terms of run-blocking grade and allowed pressure on just under 18% of their snaps in the passing game.
10. WASHINGTON HUSKIES
Highest-graded player: OT Jared Hilbers – 80.5 (33rd)
The Huskies' offensive line was a strength for their success as the season wore on, proving to be solid if not spectacular throughout the year. Hilbers headlines the group that allowed a sack or hit just 5.66% of the time, good enough to rank 20th in the country.
9. LOUISIANA RAGIN’ CAJUNS
Highest-graded player: OG Kevin Dotson – 93.1 (1st)
The highest-ranked Group of 5 team for a reason, Louisiana's offensive line ranked fourth in run-blocking grade and fifth in pass-blocking grade this year, limiting themselves to just 48 pressures given up, the fourth-fewest among all offensive lines in the country.
8. WISCONSIN BADGERS
Highest-graded player: C Tyler Biadasz – 81.9 – (4th)
No surprise that Wisconsin's offensive line find themselves in the top 10 here, as they're led by their center in Tyler Biadasz. Their star center allowed just five total pressures and was the country's third-highest graded center in the run game.
7. CLEMSON TIGERS
Highest-graded player: OT – Jordan McFadden – 88.3 (10th)
Clemson rolled through their tackles like they roll through their safeties, pitting to their strength at the position as well as their positional versatility. Headlined by their tackle and guard play, Clemson's offensive line allowed a sack or a hit on just 3.45% of their 521 pass-blocking snaps, the 26th-lowest rate in the country.
6. IOWA HAWKEYES
Highest-graded player: OT Tristan Wirfs – 90.5 (5th)
You'd only expect to see Iowa high on this list, and after a slow start to the year, sixth is a fair spot for the Hawkeyes' unit. Led by their tackle duo when Alaric Jackson was healthy (and even when he wasn't), the Hawkeyes had the fourth highest-graded figure among tackle play in the country, a strong testament to Wirfs' overall ranking of fifth at the position this year.
5. KENTUCKY WILDCATS
Highest-graded player: OT Darian Kinnard – 86.3 (14th)
The Wildcats' offense became one predicated on rushing success, and that seemed to fit their strength as a unit on the offensive line. They finished with the seventh-highest run-blocking grade as a unit while Kinnard finished the year as the third-highest graded tackle in the SEC in the run game.
4. OHIO STATE BUCKEYES
Highest-graded player: OG Wyatt Davis – 82.6 (4th)
Ohio State's offensive line really helped set the tone for OSU's success in 2019, keeping QB Justin Fields clean on 67.4% of his dropbacks and allowing pressure 3.11 seconds after the snap on average, the latter figure ranking eighth-best in the country.
3. ALABAMA CRIMSON TIDE
Highest-graded player: OT Jedrick Wills Jr. – 86.6 (14th)
The bookend tackle duo of Jedrick Wills and Alex Leatherwood was a revelation for the Crimson Tide in 2019, as they locked down each side for Alabama quarterbacks. As a unit, the Crimson Tide's offensive line ranked second in percentage of plays that gained positive EPA at over 53%.
2. GEORGIA BULLDOGS
Highest-graded player: OT Andrew Thomas – 92.4 (3rd)
Georgia's strength on offense this year was clearly their offensive line, a unit that ranked fifth in run-blocking grade and fourth in pass-blocking grade. Andrew Thomas and Isaiah Wilson are both headed to the NFL, leaving big voids at the tackle spots in 2020, but their mark left on the nation's second-best offensive line will not be forgotten. Georgia's offensive line helped pave the way for the Bulldogs running backs to average over 2.20 yards before contact per attempt on the ground.
1. OREGON DUCKS
Highest-graded player: OT Penei Sewell – 95.5 (1st)
The Ducks' offensive line proved time and time again that they were the class of college football in 2019. As a unit, they ranked second in run-blocking grade and third in pass-blocking grade for the season. Led by potential Heisman Trophy candidate for 2020 in Penei Sewell, the Ducks allowed just 15 combined sacks and hits from the offensive line (just 3.04% of snaps), the 16th-lowest figure from any team, despite playing a whopping 493 pass-blocking snaps.