Running Back Defensive Line
  Wide Receiver Linebacker
  Offensive Line Defensive Back
Offensive Line


Last season, the Sooners had to replace four starters, leaving questions marks up front. The newly formed unit performed beyond expectations (17th ranked rushing offense, 11th ranked in sacks allowed) and has now made a solid case for being the No. 1 ranked unit across the nation. Nine of their top ten performers are back in the mix. Guards George Robinson and Brandon Walker earned All-Big 12 honors in '06. Filling in for the departed Chris Messner at LT will be two-time JUCO All-American Phil Loadholt. At 6-8 and 350 pounds, Phil was a prep standout in both basketball and track…this kid can move. His future, as does this group’s, looks promising. The entire line goes an average of 6'5, 317 pounds. That is a real load of Oklahoma beef, but not so rare around here.

Texas A&M

Led by 2007 Preseason All-American Cody Wallace at center, this unit has been responsible for much of the recent success in head coach Dennis Franchione’s option system. A&M generated 401.4 yards of total offense per game, including a Big 12-best 210.5 yards rushing per game. The Aggies also led the league in time of possession and third-down conversion percentage. This OL paved the way for three RBs and a QB to receive All-Big 12 honors. Guard Kirk Elder is a three-time All-Big 12 honoree. Four of the starters are seniors and two are juniors, making this one of the most veteran lines the country has to offer.


Although the Wolverines may be best known for their skill positions (Heisman candidates at RB, QB and WR), history has shown the OL is always stacked. This fall will be no different. Senior OT Jake Long was voted the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten last fall and turned down a chance to enter the NFL Draft (as an underclassmen). A returning captain, Long is the frontrunner at this point for the Outland Trophy as well as the Rotary Lombardi Award, and he has been on most All-American lists since his freshman year ('04). The Wolverines boast two guys on our Preseason All-American team (senior guard Adam Krause also cracks the list). Adam is an athletic ex-TE who made the position switch in the spring of 2004. Since then, he has played all three interior line positions making him valuable as a transition player. Eight of the top ten linemen are back and all were highly touted prep players.

Southern California

When football fans think of USC, they think of top-caliber QBs and RBs. But most overlook how this OL has been a major factor for both establishing Pete Carroll's dynasty in Los Angeles and why three of the last five Heisman winners were Trojans. For 2006 coaches had to replace three NFL Draft Choices. This year, they only replace two. Senior Sam Baker and Michigan's Jake Long comprise the two best OTs in the country. Sam will start for his fourth season at LT. He is a two-time First Team All-American and should be a top five pick in April. Chilo Rachal was an All-Pac Ten selection last fall and guard Jeff Byers is a former national high school Gatorade Player of The Year (almost an unheard of concept for any lineman). This entire group is comprised of former prep All-Americans as are most positions at USC.

Boise State

There is a reason Boise State is able to continually field top 25 teams as a mid-major program. Sure, the RBs and receivers get much of the credit, as does excellent coaching. But the OL has played the role of the unsung hero. Last year, the Broncos lost returning starter Pete Cavender to injury in August, but this group was still able to pave the way for RB Ian Johnson to be a legitimate Heisman Candidate. In Pete’s absence, his brother Jeff Cavender picked up the slack and earned All-WAC honors. Pete is back, and the Broncos have five full-time starters returning. OT Ryan Clady continues the tackle tradition in Boise (taking over for now-Green Bay Packer Daryn Colledge) and earns a Preseason All-American tag. Still, it’s teamwork that is the focus here - this line’s stellar performance levels as a unit far outweigh the sum of their parts. How many non-BCS-aligned schools can brag about beating the Sooners? (Besides TCU, none since 1996) This is a veteran group with tons of experience, especially those that held their own in the thrilling overtime Fiesta Bowl victory.

Just Missed: Brigham Young, California, Florida, Georgia Tech, Louisville, Ohio State, Oklahoma State