If you’ve ever listened to the Depth Chart Podcast, read KSR football posts, or follow me on Twitter; then you’re probably familiar with Cole Cubelic’s work. Cubelic is a former Auburn offensive lineman turned SEC Network sideline analyst and radio show host. I don’t buy into the theory that former players are the end-all for covering and explaining the game of football. Frankly, some are over the top obnoxious in self-absorption and presentation. However, Cole is simply the best in the industry when dissecting offensive line personnel and play. When he speaks/tweets/writes/talks offensive line; I stop and pay attention.
Cubelic released his long-awaited SEC offensive line ranking on Tuesday in which he ranked the Kentucky Wildcat grouping as his top unit in 2016. This may have come as a surprise to folks outside of the Commonwealth. But, to those that closely follow UK, Cole’s declaration acts as a confirmation for a 2-deep unit that distinguished itself during October and November.
Let’s take a look at John Schlarman’s big fellas and debunk a few recruiting myths:
Cole Cubelic’s 2016 SEC Offensive Line Rankings
4) Texas A&M
10) Miss. State
13) South Carolina
14) Ole Miss
All-SEC center Jon Toth is now in Mobile participating in the Reece’s Senior Bowl activities. Toth will go down in UK lore as one of the best offensive linemen in program history. A four-year starter that never missed a game due to injury or replacement, Toth provided technical prowess, continuity and leadership to an offensive line unit that rolled 2-deep at both guard and tackle. Rivals ranked him as a 2-star prospect with zero Power 5 offers other than Kentucky.
Starting left tackle Cole Mosier is a former walk-on from Walton-Verona High School. Cubelic ranked Mosier as one of the SEC’s top OT’s in November. Mosier was not ranked by recruiting services and had zero scholarship offers from programs within the Power 5.
How They Ranked
Nick Haynes: 247 Sports 3-star, Kentucky was only Power 5 scholarship offer.
Logan Stenberg: 247 Sports 3-star, UK was only Power 5 offer.
Bunchie Stallings: 3-star; was offered by Colorado and Mississippi State.
Ramsey Meyers: 247 Sports 3-star, UK only Power 5 program to offer.
Landon Young: Rivals 5-star, offer list included most of college football.
George Asafo-Adjei: Rivals 3-star; offered by Florida, Louisville, and West Virginia.
Kyle Meadows: 247 Sports 3-star offered by Florida State, Louisville, Michigan State.
Recruiting Myths Debunked
“It takes an offensive line full of 4-5 stars to win in the SEC.”
False, see above list. Grievances of some have been heard. I realize that at times I tend to focus on the undervalued/under-rated prospects. For that I will never apologize. You see, I often speak to high school football players and frequently use player development success stories as a means of motivation. I fully understand that 4-5 star players are highly coveted and necessary for Kentucky to move its program up the demanding ladder also known as the Southeastern Conference. But in this case, ranking diversity is highlighted as the sum was far more important than individual.
The “grass is greener” theory.
False. “If (fill in the blank player name) would have gone to (fill in the blank top 10 team name) then he would have been a much better player. False; especially in this case. OL Coach John Schlarman’s success has proven that player development is an ongoing vitality of a successful football program regardless of ranking or status. In other words, Schlarman is flat out getting it done in Lexington and should be credited for identifying, recruiting, and developing offensive line on an extremely high level.
What does all this mean?
Kentucky has shown a trend of identifying prospects at an early stage in the recruiting process. To go further, the linemen recruited by Schlarman consists of commonalities that can go unseen if only assigning significance by recruiting stars. Don’t get me wrong, every coach in the business wants to sign the very best players at all positions on the football field. 5-stars are welcome; but signing a class full of them at Kentucky is highly unlikely.
UK loses just one OL starter off the SEC’s top unit. Taking a look at this year’s haul of offensive linemen shows positional diversity, aggressive disposition, height/arm length, and competitive nature. Oh by the way, I really like UK’s committed offensive linemen.
So, buckle up and be ready for some last-minute fireworks as we are just a week away from National Signing Day. And, follow the OL guru Cole Cubelic @colecubelic.