The focus of northstarfootballnews.com’s series of players to watch from the Class of 2020 now switches to the trenches. I decided to keep these lists to ten, so many capable guys just missed the cut. There is a lot of…
The focus of northstarfootballnews.com’s series of players to watch from the Class of 2020 now switches to the trenches. I decided to keep these lists to ten, so many capable guys just missed the cut. There is a lot of talent on the offensive line with this class. Here are some of the guys I feel will stand out – even in the obscurity of the offensive line.
Tommy Brandt St. Thomas Academy
Brandt has three early DI offers from Rice, Air Force, and Kansas. He has excellent feet and moves well as a pass blocker getting outside with his kick step and as a tackle who can pull across the formation. The 6’5″ 265-pound tackle has solid upper body strength; once he locks onto his man, he stays on him. Brandt typically plays tackle, but with his footwork, he can bump inside to one of the guard positions too.
Jalen Travis De La Salle
Travis has picked up two DI offers from Indiana State and most recently from Minnesota. He has also visited Iowa and Iowa St. Travis is a physical mauler of a tackle. The 6’7″ 280-pound tackle keeps his hips low for such a big athlete and doesn’t have just to use his size and strength – which are advantages over basically everyone he faces. His footwork is more than adequate for an athlete of his size.
Noah Pappas Armstrong
Pappas has junior day and or game day invites from DI programs across the Midwest. Those invites include Minnesota, Iowa State, Kansas State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Iowa State. Pappas might be the most complete offensive line prospect in the class. The 6’6″ 310 pounder’s combination of technique, athletic ability, and strength make him just as likely to shove a defender to the ground with one arm as to get into the open field and wall off a quicker linebacker or lock up a defensive lineman and drive him off the ball.
Mason Miller Ada Borup
Miller has an offer in hand from NDSU and has some DI interest. He has a tall, athletic build and also plays tight end. He only caught a handful of balls as a junior and as he puts on weight should end up playing a tackle position. At 6’8″ 240 pounds, he is possibly the most athletic guy on this list. He gets to the outside – both in pass protection and in the run game with ease. Despite his height, when he lowers his hips, he drives defenders off the line of scrimmage consistently.
Jac Carver Wayzata
Carver has one DI junior day invite to Iowa State as well as some FCS junior day invites. He keeps his base low and uses his upper body well. Because of the 6’5″ 280-pound junior’s solid footwork, his work coming off double teams to get to the second level is solid. Carver comes out of his stance nice and low and explodes into defenders underneath their pad level.
Ethan Prodzinski Winona
Prodzinski has junior day and/or game day invites from Minnesota and Iowa. He also has FCS invites to consider. He mauls people with a combination of good hands and his upper body strength. At 6’5″ and 270 pounds, he has an excellent pass set on the outside and can be effective against smaller pass rushers. His quick feet allow him to stay with defenders laterally as well as downfield at the second level.
Seth Thompson Holy Family
Thompson has a junior day invite from Iowa State as well as invites to SDSU, UND, and NDSU. Thompson is a center who appears to be as comfortable dealing with someone right on his nose as well as getting to the second level to pick up a linebacker. At 6’5″ and 250 pounds, he is able to get a reach block when tasked with attempting to get to a defensive tackle who is not lined up in front of him. He might need to put on some weight but uses his feet and hips to make up for what he sometimes lacks in size.
Bennett Weber Waconia
Weber has an offer secured from UND. He comes off the ball nice and low, allowing him to get under his opponents’ pad level. Weber has good feet – both with his pass blocking as well as getting him to the second level and staying with smaller players in the open field. At 6’5″ and 270 pounds, he finishes his blocks well and sets the edge effectively with his ability to hook block on the end of the line.
Noah Layton Benilde-St. Margaret’s
Layton has junior day invites to Iowa, SDSU, and NDSU. Primarily a center, Layton is quick off the ball. He gets his pads underneath his opponent and explodes upward to move his man off the line of scrimmage. This is particularly impressive because, at 6’5″ and 280 pounds, he was taller than almost everyone he faced. Layton has good upper body strength and uses it to bully smaller interior linemen. He has position flexibility as he played parts of games at offensive tackle as well.
Bennett Heftman Winona
Heftman has DI and FCS game day invites to Minnesota, UND, and SDSU. At 6’2″ 240 pounds, he is not the biggest lineman on this list, but after Ada Borup’s Miller, he might be the most athletic. His quickness off the ball allows him to beat his man to the spot – getting him in an excellent position to make his block. He works well in space where he can use his athletic ability on sweeps and any situation where he is required to get to the next level and track down a linebacker or defensive back.