Rick Stewart/Getty Images
Even as the left tackle position has gained popularity, offensive linemen have long toiled in relative obscurity, even as they keep defenders from exploding plays before they begin.
Hey, people don't take very many pictures of the first floor of the Empire State Building either, even though it accomplishes a whole lot more than the needle on top. So it goes.
But the flagship left tackle, the player who brought the position to the forefront, was Ohio State mountain-man Orlando Pace. Pace had an otherworldly size and mobility to him, often hustling his 340-pound frame up to 50 yards downfield to continue blocks in high school.
Once at Ohio State, Pace lived up to his outsized reputation, and by his junior year, he had become as close to perfect as a coach could ask for. He didn't allow a sack in his last two years. He was the first and only two-time winner of the Lombardi Award in those years. He was a consensus All-American in those years.
He won the Outland Trophy in 1996. He was named to the Sports Illustrated All-Century team at starting tackle in 1999. He was the first overall pick in the 1997 NFL draft.
He was, in total, as good a left tackle as the sport of college football has ever seen.
Orlando Pace will be in the College Football Hall of Fame, and probably pretty soon. There's no reason why it shouldn't be this year.