We previously looked at offensive tackles, but now the focus will be on the interior. While these players don’t necessarily get the same credit as tackles, championships are won and lost on the back of these linemen.
While size plays a big factor, trying to sort through big guys and players who can compete at the next level is a balancing act for college coaches. For that reason, finding the sweet combination of size and athleticism can make a recruiting class.
*Note: All rankings from the 247 Composite.
OG Netori Johnson, Georgia
Overall ranking: 110
National OG ranking: 6
The skinny: Kirby Smart has revitalized Georgia’s recruiting acumen since he arrived in Athens, Ga. Flipping highly-touted OG Netori Johnson from Alabama is one of his best maneuvers to date.
The 6-foot-4, 348-pound specimen is one of the most physically imposing players in the class of 2017. For a player of his size, Johnson boasts impressive finesse and athleticism for the position. But at his heart, Johnson is a pure mauler.
Depth chart: When he gets on campus, Johnson’s top priority will be shifting his weight. Like many high school players, Johnson has a lot of bad weight that needs to convert into leaner muscle. When he does that, he will be ready to play at a high level.
OG Edward Ingram, LSU
Overall ranking: 181
National OG ranking: 10
The skinny: Listed at 6-foot-4 and 325 pounds, Edward Ingram already has much of the physical profile to compete as a college football player. Playing for powerhouse Desoto in Texas, he also has plenty of experience to fall back on against some of the best high schoolers in the nation.
Ingram is a physical marvel with the pure force to play consistently against opposing defensive lines. He projects to be an excellent player at the next level.
Depth chart: With RG Josh Boutte graduating after next season, Ingram could potentially compete for the starting offensive guard spot right away. There will be stiff competition, but Ingram has the physicals to stand out quickly.
OC Creed Humphrey, Texas A&M
Overall ranking: 300
National OC ranking: 3
The skinny: Before he left the program, Mike Sherman compiled an impressive group of offensive linemen at Texas A&M. Listed as the No. 1 center recruit in the SEC, Creed Humphrey is prepared to be next in line.
The relationship between a center and quarterback can often change the outcome of several games a year. Humphrey has the added benefit of several years to familiarize himself with whichever quarterback eventually sticks around College Station, Texas.
Depth chart: At this point, redshirt freshman Erik McCoy is expected to take over at center this season for the Aggies. McCoy wasn’t recruited to the same level as Humphrey, but it can be difficult to unseat an incumbent. One of the two players could move to another interior line position with time.
OG Saahdiq Charles, LSU
Overall ranking: 392
National OG ranking: 16
The skinny: Like thousands of other young kids, Saahdiq Charles’ family was displaced by Hurricane Katrina and forced to move from New Orleans in 2005. By committing to LSU, his mother’s alma mater, Charles is heading home.
With his commitment, LSU is getting an impressive physical prospect. Charles is listed at 6-foot-5 and 314 pounds. At Madison-Ridgeland Academy in Mississippi, Charles played both offensive line and defensive tackle with his brute strength.
Depth chart: Charles is an excellent player, but likely needs some time to mature physically and mentally to play football at the highest level. But when he refines his skillset, Charles will be a force in college football.
OG Justin Shaffer, Georgia
Overall ranking: 395
National OG ranking: 17
The skinny: There are some players who just physically are in a completely different place than the players around them. At 6-foot-5 and 356 pounds, Justin Shaffer is one of those players. With his impressive frame for the guard position, Shaffer has fielded offers from some of the top programs in the country.
Shaffer will join Netori Johnson to form one of the nation’s best interior line classes. Kirby Smart has changed Georgia’s recruiting acumen, which should pay off mightily in the coming seasons.
Depth chart: Like Johnson, Shaffer’s biggest priority will have to be turning bad weight into good weight when he gets on campus. When a player is in high school, he can get away with carrying excess weight on his body because his natural ability against this competition will make up for it. Getting his body fat percentage down is a natural progression of transitioning to college football.