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Projecting the Depth Chart: Offensive Line

Reconstructing the offensive line is a necessity with four primary starters gone.

Cincinnati v Navy Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

When we laid out who’s gone, who’s back and who’s new for the Cincinnati Bearcats’ offensive line earlier in the week, the number of players in the who’s gone section was substantial. The Bearcats will no longer be able to lean on four of their five primary starters from last year, with Korey Cunningham, Will Steur, David Niehaus and Kendall Calhoun all gone. That makes figuring out who will be employed on the line this year a little more difficult — since its possible a host of players will be given a shot throughout the year — but that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to try.

Definite Starters

Garrett Campbell, LG

The only returning lineman to have started every game last year is Campbell, a senior from Cincinnati, who started every game of 2018 at left guard. There is no reason to believe he won’t reclaim that spot once again. If for some reason he is shifted on the line, he’s still going to start.

Position Battles

Putting together the rest of the line will be a task the coaching staff will handle in the weeks leading up to the season opener against UCLA. There are some players who would seemingly have a leg up on getting first team status. Former Ohio State Buckeye Kyle Trout started six times last year and that experience should serve him well. In addition, Keith Minor, Morgan James, Blake Yager and Zach Bycznski were all backups who got varying degrees of playing time a year ago. It seems like a good bet that all five of those players (Trout included) will be vying for a starting job, while the battle for the second team will be even more competitive.

Final Projection

First Team

Garrett Campbell, LG

Kyle Trout, RG or RT

Keith Minor, RG or RT

Blake Yager, LT

Zach Bycznski, C

In half of the games he started last year, Trout played right guard. He played right tackle in the other half. Minor appeared in plenty of games last year and has some starting experience from earlier in his career. Yager was recruited as an offensive tackle, so he should get one of the first shots at a tackle spot. Bycznski was recruited as a center and fits best there.

Second Team

Morgan James

Cody Lamb

Vincent McConnell

Jakari Robinson

Chris Ferguson or Tyler McGarr

James could easily leapfrog Minor, but whoever wins out will be a primary backup. Robinson, Lamb and McConnell were all three-star recruits who redshirted last year and should be ready to go. While neither Ferguson or McGarr has played in the last two years, both are upper classmen that could finally get their shot in 2018.

How do you think the defensive line depth chart will look when the season opens? How should it look? Let us know in the comments or drop a FanPost.