Latest posts by Joe Broback (see all)
- Big Ten Championship: Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Wisconsin Badgers Game Preview - December 6, 2019
- SEC Championship: LSU Tigers vs. Georgia Bulldogs - December 5, 2019
- Big 12 Championship: Oklahoma Sooners vs. Baylor Bears - December 4, 2019
There can be an argument that centers are one of the most important players in football. They work with the quarterback to make sure the correct play is called, or how to adjust blocking schemes to accommodate blitzes. Centers can be the quarterback of the line, and they’re vitally important. Good centers rarely get noticed, but bad centers find the spotlight on them for the wrong reasons. We’ll stick to the positive side today, and look at 15 centers you need to watch in 2019.
15. Dillon Reinkensmeyer, Virginia
Started the first 12 games last year at center, but played the Belk Bowl at guard. Graded at 85% as a run blocker and 90% as a pass blocker. Reinkensmeyer can help improve a group that had Bryce Perkins running for his life frequently last year. Cavaliers have a chance to win their division, and it all starts up front.
14. Nick Harris, Washington
Made First Team All-Pac 12 last year after moving over from right guard where he started all year in 2017. Four Washington starter return, and you could consider it all five with Trey Adams coming back at tackle. Harris must work with a new quarterback in 2018.
13. Trey Hill, Georgia
Losing Lamont Galliard will hurt the offense, but Hill should be a great replacement. While he wasn’t a starter at any position last year, he’ll move over from guard to start at center. Hill can be nasty with his blocks, and he’s a big dude that’s hard to miss up front.
12. Matt Allen, Michigan State
Does Allen’s name ring a bell? It should. His brothers Jack and Brian played center for the Spartans as well. Health will be a key to his success this year, but he now will start a full season. Michigan State’s line took a step back last year, and that must change. With a loaded defense, it’s up to the Spartan offense to determine their success in 2019.
11. Dustin Woodard, Memphis
The loss of Drew Kyser hurt the Tigers, but Mike Norvell quickly found a solution. Woodard moves in from playing guard, and should be one of the best centers in the AAC. He’s a smart player that’s learned a lot from playing with Kyser, so this will be a smooth transition.
10. Sean Pollard, Clemson
All of the attention is on the departure of Mitch Hyatt, but Pollard is as solid as they get. He’s a versatile lineman that moved around to help when injuries affected the Tigers line. Pollard made the Second Team All-ACC in 2018.
9. Drake Jackson, Kentucky
Jackson current streak moved up to 20 consecutive starts after starting all 13 games last year. He won’t have Benny Snell to block for anymore, but the Wildcats figure to be just fine. Postseason honors appear to be heading his way with another full season of starts.
8. Sam Tecklenburg, Baylor
Entered the 2018 season on the Rimington Trophy Watch List, and made Phil Steele’s Preseason Third Team All-Big 12. Tecklenburg moved from tight end in 2017 to center, and started 25 consecutive games.
7. Zach Shackelford, Texas
Texas is getting a lot of attention again, and there’s plenty of pressure to go around. That starts up front. With Sam Ehlinger returning at quarterback, the line needs to keep him healthy. Shackelford’s seen action in 40 games, and started in 27 of them.
6. Jake Hanson, Oregon
Oregon’s line enters the 2019 season as one of the best in the entire country. Once Hanson won the starting job at center, he hasn’t looked back or given up the spot. His final season with the Ducks should be his best one yet, and will play a big role in an explosive offense.
5. Jordan Johnson, UCF
Started 26 games for the Knights, and made the First Team All-AAC in both years he’s started. It would be a surprise if he didn’t do that a third consecutive year. UCF’s skill players get all of the attention, but Johnson and the line deserve a lot of the credit as well.
4. Cesar Ruiz, Michigan
Something scary about Ruiz: he played special teams in 14 games in his career. He moved over from guard, so he has the versatility to move if needed. Michigan’s offense will see some changes in scheme, so Ruiz should expect to snap to a quarterback in the shotgun this year.
3. Lloyd Cushenberry II, LSU
A full year at center under his belt, Cushenberry and the Tigers are poised to make another run in 2019. He always looks for work after the snap, and he’s never satisfied when he can’t find a defender to block. LSU surprised teams last year thanks to a solid offensive line, but they’re ready to take on a new challenge this year.
2. Creed Humphrey, Oklahoma
Humphrey’s lonely after losing all other starters on the offensive line. Still, he’s a great starter to have returning. After snapping for Heisman Trophy winner Kyler Murray, he snaps to Alabama transfer Jalen Hurts. The skills position are loaded for the Sooners, so Humphrey must find four other starters to do work up front.
1. Tyler Biadasz, Wisconsin
A Wisconsin lineman who’s the best at his position? Shocker. Biadasz joins the long list of great Badger linemen to play college football. He made First Team All-Big Ten last year, but he finds himself in need of help. Wisconsin needs to find new starters to join their center, but that shouldn’t be a problem for a team that produces great linemen yearly.
Others to Watch
Levi Brown, Marshall: His official picture features some great facial hair, but he’s more than just a pretty face.
Cohl Cabral, Arizona State: Appeared on the Rimington Trophy Watch list last year, and gets to block for the phenomenal Eno Benjamin.
Jack Wohlabaugh, Duke: One of four starting linemen returning for the Blue Devils. That should help with a new quarterback running the show.
Nick Buchanan, Florida: If Florida and quarterback Feleipe Franks are making a playoff run, it’s because Buchanan and his buddies up front are doing work.