Big Ten Breakdown: Ranking the conference’s 5 best offensive linemen
In our Big Ten Breakdown series, we will examine the best five players in the conference at each position. We continue this series with a look at the best offensive linemen across the Big Ten.
The Big Ten’s top two offensive linemen from last season, Ohio State’s Taylor Decker and Michigan State’s Jack Conklin, have moved on to the NFL. But there are still plenty of outstanding offensive linemen within the conference, which made picking the top five extremely difficult.
Here’s a look at the Big Ten’s five best offensive linemen entering the 2016 campaign:
5. Billy Price, guard, Ohio State
Billy Price earned third-team All-Big Ten honors in just his second season as a starter. Along with guard Pat Elflein – more on him later – Ohio State could have the best tandem at guard in the conference.
The arrow is definitely pointing up for the redshirt junior, and he should make a run at a first or second-team honor this season. He is on the Outland Trophy preseason watch list entering his third season as a starter.
4. Erik Magnuson, tackle, Michigan
Erik Magnuson was a third-team All-Big Ten selection after making 12 starts for the Wolverines at tackle as a redshirt junior. He should be an anchor along Michigan’s front during his fifth season and is one of the most experienced linemen in the conference, appearing in 32 games thus far in his career.
Magnuson was also named to the Outland Trophy watch list and should be one of the top blockers along Michigan’s line during his final season in Ann Arbor.
3. Brian Allen, guard, Michigan State
Brian Allen, the brother of former Spartans lineman Jack Allen, was named second-team All-Big Ten after an impressive sophomore season. He started in 12 of Michigan State’s 14 games last season and should play primarily at left guard this season.
Allen was named to the Outland Trophy watch list and also earned a spot on the Rimington Trophy watch list, which is given to the nation’s top center. His role might be a bit uncertain, but Allen is one of the preeminent blockers in the Big Ten.
2. Dan Feeney, guard, Indiana
Dan Feeney earned All-American and first-team All-Big Ten honors as a redshirt sophomore with the Hoosiers. Incredibly, Feeney did not allow a sack on 475 dropbacks last season.
Feeney will likely challenge for consecutive All-American and All-Big Ten honors. He enters the 2016 season on the Outland Trophy watch list and will be an important piece of Indiana’s rebuilding offense.
1. Pat Elflein, guard, Ohio State
Pat Elflein was a first-team All-Big Ten honoree after an excellent junior season and enters the 2016 season as the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten.
Ohio State is losing a ton of offensive talent, but Elflein provides some steady assurance in the trenches. He enters 2016 on the Outland Trophy and Rimington Trophy watch lists and should be in the running for the Big Ten’s Offensive Lineman of the Year award.
Mason Cole, center, Michigan State
Sean Welsh, center, Iowa
Michael Deiter, center/guard, Wisconsin
Dylan Utter, left guard/center, Nebraska
Dan Voltz, center, Wisconsin