The offensive line is a position group that Coach Brohm made real good, real quick. Last year, he brought in Shane Evans from NIU that had two years left - he started every game. He also brought in Dave Steinmetz as a 5th year, he is now with the Miami Dolphins.
The offensive line is most important position group on the field - there really is no denying it. The front 5 make this offense go. Good news for us, everyone but Steinmetz is back and we should be even better than we were last year on the front.
Our depth guys have gotten older and that should help as well, but for the most part, they are not proven yet - but they will have the chance this year. I may have a guy be a primary reserve to a couple of spots, but I will try and have a back up at each position. So, this is what I got for the big guys.
LT - Grant Hermanns - Albuquerque, New Mexico, Sophomore
LG - Shane Evans - Crystal Lake, Illinois, Senior
C - Kirk Barron - Mishawaka, Indiana, Senior
RG - Matt McCann - Fishers, Indiana, Junior
RT - Eric Swingler - Munster, Indiana, Senior
Potential Starter (Guard) - Dennis Edwards - WKU Transfer, Senior
With three seniors on the starting offensive line this should be one of our best groups we have had in years. Then with McCann, who has started since his freshman year at either tackle or guard, brings great skill and experience. Hermanns was dominating last year until a torn ACL, but he should be ready to go.
Barron is the leader of this group - hell leader of this team. “The Body” claims to be the most athletic center in the nation. I believe it, there are videos of him touch his toes just jumping in the air like a damn cheerleader and he dunking the basketball. Kirk will play on Sundays.
Hermanns is an athletic LT. He is perfect there, at 6’7” he has great size and a huge motor to go with it. As long as he is full go it is his job for his entire career at Purdue. Shane Evans is another guy who could be playing on Sundays. We were lucky to get him from NIU, he is equally as talented run blocking and pass blocking.
On the right side, we have McCann who is better and run blocking and Swingler, that I do not know a ton about. Swingler is a former walk-on, I believe he is on scholarship now. He has a huge frame at 6’6” and has made strides. He was in rotation last year. McCann has the height of a tackle but his skill set better suits him inside.
I forgot to mention the transfer Dennis Edwards from WKU where he was ll conference. The 6’1”, 310 Pound Guard could very well start. I could see him sliding into the Right Guard spot and moving the versatile Matt McCann out to Right Tackle, where he has played before.
(Here is Kirk doing a toe touch.)
(And kind of (?) dunking.)
LT - Mark Stickford - Carmel, Indiana, RS Freshman
LG - Mike Mendez - Los Fresnos Texas, Junior
C - Viktor Beach - Fort Myers, FL, RS Freshman
RG - Bearooz Yacoobi - Dearborn, Michigan, Senior
RT - Ethan Smart - Southaven, Mississippi, Senior
6th Man - D.J. Washington - Louisville, Kentucky, RS Freshman
Quite frankly, this is a pretty good group of backups. Stickford has really good feet for being a young offensive lineman and fits that mold of tall and athletic that Coach Brohm likes at tackle. Mendez, could probably start on most teams - he can pave a path for our running backs. Beach will be our center of the future, more than likely. He is a really smart kid and is learning from the best center in the B1G.
On the right side for back ups, we have two seniors. Yacoobi has been here his entire career and maybe this is the year he figures it out and gets some legit playing time. Ethan Smart is a 2nd year JuCo and usually it is year two when JuCos figure it out. Maybe he could push Swingler for the starting job.
I listed Washington as a 6th man because he can play multiple positions on the offensive line. I do believe he will be able to make an impact this year. He is a very smart football player. At 6’4”, 285, he looks more like a tackle, but he could easily be 300 by the season and help on the inside.
Deep Reserves (Walk ons)
Bryce Brown - Evansville, Indiana, Sophomore
Ryan Flaherty - New Carlisle, Indiana, Sophomore
Eric Ferguson - Noblesville, Indiana, Sophomore
Marc Roland - Indianapolis, Indiana, RS Freshman
Sam Loebig - Bethesda, Maryland, Sophomore
Sam Garvin - Fishers, Indiana, RS Freshman
Graham Keller - Noblesville, Indiana, RS Freshman
The Indiana kids. All walk-ons that love their university. These guys put in endless hours of work to help the team and mostly operate as scout team players. I can’t tell you who mau have a chance of playing by the time they are a senior like Swingler, but these guys all have great offensive linemen bodies.
Eric Miller - Mason, Ohio, Freshman
Will Bramel - Danville, Kentucky, Freshman
Jimmy McKenna - Avon, Ohio, Freshman
We did have four in the group, but Charles Allen decided he no longer wanted to play football. Miller and Bramel look like sure fire bets to be tackles. Where as McKenna could be a utility knife. All three offensive lineman are what Coach Brohm wants though, athletic, tall in shape guys that can help in our tempo offense.