Snap Judgments: 2 College Centers Dallas Cowboys Fans Should Watch

Patrick SchusterContributor IIIAugust 27, 2012

Nov 4, 2011; Boulder, CO, USA; Southern California Trojans center Khaled Holmes (78) and guard Marcus Martin (66) pass protect for quarterback Matt Barkley (7) in the second quarter against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

Now that we are only a few days away from the start of the college football season, I wanted to spotlight two players to keep an eye on this year.

Having little faith in Phil Costa as anything more than a stopgap center for the 2012 Dallas Cowboys, it is time to share the centers in college that warrant special attention as possible long-term replacements for Costa.  If Phil Costa plays anywhere close to the way that he performed last year, you should start thinking about his replacement after the season starts in September. 

The first player to watch is Khaled Holmes, the starting center at USC and pivot man for Heisman front-runner Matt Barkley.

Holmes is about to become a three-year starter on the USC offensive line and should be able to distinguish himself this year against some other prominent draft prospects such as Aaron Tipoti (Cal Bears), the standout tandem of Star Lotulelei and Dave Kruger (Utah) and Cassius Marsh (UCLA).

Besides being a Rimington Award candidate, Holmes also is an Academic All American candidate and has already received his bachelor degree and is now working on his masters degree. Holmes also comes from a football family with a father who played at Michigan in the 1970s and a brother, Alex, who played at USC in 2003 and 2004 and for the Dolphins in 2005. 

Any guess who was on the staff with the Miami Dolphins during that year? Right, it was Coach Garrett, who is very familiar with Khaled and will become even more familiar if we continue to have blunders at center during pivotal moments this season.  

The second player to keep your eye on is the man in the middle of the University of Arkansas offensive line, Travis Swanson

This season will mark his third year as a starter at Arkansas, and having worked with both former Arkansas standout QB Ryan Mallett and now future high draft pick, Tyler Wilson, one thing is for certain: Swanson knows how to operate in a pro-style offense.  Teaming with standout guard Alvin Bailey, Swanson takes as much pride in his pass protection as he does in creating holes for the running attack—something that he will be able to do even more this season, with the return of star tailback Knile Davis

Some of the prominent draft prospects that Swanson will face this season include Jesse Williams and (University of Alabama) on September 15, Jeff Whitaker (Auburn University) on October 6 and Bennie Logan (LSU) on November 23.  How successful Swanson is in these battles will greatly affect where he ends up going in the draft, whenever he declares.  

Let us never forget that the illustrious owner of the Dallas Cowboys is one of the University of Arkansas' most recognized graduates, so I’m sure Travis already has a big fan in Big D. 

As Matt Barkley and Tyler Wilson appear locked in a battle to be considered the top quarterback in next April’s draft, it looks like both of their centers are in a similar battle. These are just two players of many to pay extra close attention to as future additions to the Dallas Cowboys.    

Check back soon for more spotlights of players in college football.


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