Power Ranking the Top 10 Offensive Linemen Recruits of 2014
Damian Prince Via 247Sports
Football games are won in the trenches, and the good programs know that a good offensive line is key to winning those battles.
That makes recruiting offensive linemen vital to the success of any college football program.
This 2014 class is packed with big offensive linemen with immense potential, none greater than the recruit who checks in at No. 1 in these rankings.
At 6'6'', 330 pounds, he could be mistaken for an NFL prospect.
He's the top lineman in this group, but frankly, it's tough to find much difference in talent level from No. 1 to No. 10, and that's great for the future of college football.
Note: "Star" rankings courtesy of the 247Sports Composite Rankings. All scouting and analysis done by writer, from film study via the tapes provided by each recruit's respective 247Sports profile page unless otherwise noted. 247Sports predictions courtesy of the 247Sports Crystal Ball.
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10. Donell Stanley, OG
Weight: 327 pounds
Hometown: Latta, S.C.
School: Latta High School
247Sports Prediction: South Carolina 100%
Bleacher Report Prediction: South Carolina
Donnell Stanley is a big lineman who's versatile enough to play guard or tackle. At his size, he could be a dominant guard, but he may project best as a tackle. Either way, that versatility is huge, especially on the offensive line.
His size allows him to drive defenders back and overpower them at the point of attack. He does a great job of extending his arms and pushing back the defender, and he's quick out of his stance.
The one negative for Stanley is that he plays too tall. He needs to work on getting lower, improving his center of balance and establishing leverage.
Stanley is a big-in state recruit for the Gamecocks and seems to be leaning their way. South Carolina is the top team on his 247Sports interest list.
9. Casey Tucker, OT
Weight: 270 pounds
Hometown: Chandler, Ariz.
School: Hamilton High School
247Sports Prediction: None
Bleacher Report Prediction: USC
Casey Tucker isn't a huge tackle, but he appears to have great strength. He's quick out of his stance and plays with good leverage and bend in his knees. He explodes into the defender, locking up his arms and driving downfield.
Tucker also stands out as a pass-blocker. He moves his feet quickly and can move laterally up and down in the pocket with the defender.
His lack of size at just 270 pounds is what hurts him in regard to these rankings, but he still has immense potential.
Tucker is a former Trojans commitment, according to Scott Schrader of FightOn247. But it still seems as if USC has the chance to get him back. USC is tied with Notre Dame as the top teams on his 247Sports interest list.
8. Jamarco Jones, OT
Weight: 290 pounds
Hometown: Chicago, Ill.
School: De La Salle Institute
247Sports Prediction: Ohio State 100%
Bleacher Report Prediction: Ohio State
Jamarco Jones will be able to move the line of scrimmage. He has good size and is strong. He's dominant at the high school level, and that should translate to college as well. He gets out of his snap quickly, his size makes it hard for defenders to disengage and once he gets his hands on a defender, they might as well drop to the ground.
He moves his feet well, understands leverage and angles as a blocker and can set the edge and be a good lead blocker.
Jones lacks the agility of some of the big offensive linemen in front of him, but that's something he can improve.
Ohio State is the leader on his 247Sports interest list, and all signs are pointing to the Buckeyes right now.
7. Joshua Casher, OC
Weight: 297 pounds
Hometown: Mobile, Ala.
School: Saint Paul's Episcopal School
Committed to Auburn on March 31
Joshua Casher is the No. 1 center in the 2014 class, according to the 247Sports Composite. His combination of great size and strength will be important because defenses will try to establish gap control on either side of him. So even with the help of a guard, it's important for the center to be able to hold his own.
Casher has quick feet, moves well for such a big player and can get out into open space and be an effective blocker. He has a solid base and moves his feet well as a pass-blocker. He's also sound fundamentally, which is key for a center recruit.
Casher's highlights feature him at tackle or guard, and being versatile is great. But as a center, the more snaps you make, the better. Even if he doesn't play more center as a senior, he already is one of the better offensive line recruits in this class.
Casher has the talent and versatility to play all over the line of scrimmage for Auburn. If he sticks at center, though, and gets more snaps during his senior season, he should be a staple for the Tigers.
6. Ross Pierschbacher, OT
Weight: 285 pounds
Hometown: Cedar Falls, Iowa
School: Cedar Falls High School
Committed to Iowa on Jan. 12
It's easy to see Ross Pierschbacher's potential. He's a strong, physically dominant offensive tackle. He has good size, is explosive and aggressive and does a good job of setting up his blocks.
Pierschbacher plays with good leverage, drives his feet and gets the defender on his heels and takes him wherever he wants him to go. If he adds bulk, he could end up being elite.
Even 10 more pounds could put him in the top three of these rankings.
Pierschbacher is the prototypical Iowa offensive tackle. He fits the program perfectly and will compete for a starting job right away.
5. Andy Bauer, OT
Weight: 304 pounds
Hometown: Saint Louis, Mo.
School: De Smet Jesuit High School
Committed to Ole Miss on March 18
Andy Bauer has tremendous strength and good size for an offensive tackle. He's an elite pass-blocker who uses his hands well to combat the defender, and he has quick footwork and a great base.
His shuffle-kick-gather step is top notch, and he does a good job of staying in front of the defender.
Bauer can also be a good downhill blocker, and he's strong and big enough to engage a defender and drive him out of the picture.
Bauer doesn't have the open-field speed of the linemen in front of him on this list, but that's his only negative, and it can improve.
Bauer will eventually be a starter for Ole Miss on the other side of the line opposite Laremy Tunsil.
4. Kc McDermott, OT
Weight: 285 pounds
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
School: Palm Beach Central High School
Committed to Miami on April 2
Kc McDermott is a fundamentally sound lineman, which sets him apart. He plays with leverage and is able to establish the lower pad level at the line of scrimmage.
He's an athletic lineman who will be aggressive at the point of attack. He has the power to drive-block and set the edge as a tackle. Like most great tackles, he also has the quickness to get to the second level and block in open space.
The No. 2 tackle on this list is also effective in open space or as a lead blocker, so that's going to keep McDermott at No. 3 for now. He's also behind the top ranked guard in the nation.
McDermott will be one of the better offensive tackles in the nation in time though. He'll be a star for Miami.
3. Braden Smith, OG
Weight: 290 pounds
Hometown: Olathe, Kan.
School: Olathe South High School
247Sports Prediction: Texas A&M 56%, Notre Dame 44%
Signed, Sealed, Delivered: Notre Dame
He plays with good bend and establishes low level as a blocker, and he has a strong base as a pass-blocker or run-blocker. He also has elite quickness for a lineman, so he can get downfield and be effective in open space. He'll be an exceptional pulling guard.
Smith doesn't have the size of offensive linemen No. 1 and No. 2., but he still has just as much potential. For now, he checks in at No. 3, though.
This could go either way, but for now, the championship-caliber program with the rich tradition that also offers an excellent education will get the edge.
2. Damian Prince, OT
Weight: 300 pounds
Hometown: District Heights, Md.
School: Bishop McNamara High School
247Sports Prediction: Florida State 100%
Bleacher Report Prediction: Ohio State
Damian Prince has the height and size to be an elite offensive tackle. He's strong, he plays with leverage and establishes low pad level and he's an exceptional pass-blocker.
Even at his size, he has the quickness and agility to maintain a strong, balanced base, he can shuffle up and down the edge of the pocket and he uses his hands well to keep the defender at bay.
If it weren't for the sheer size and potential of offensive lineman No. 1, Prince could be the top guy in these rankings.
Ohio State seems to be high on Prince's list, and he's planning on visiting, according to Bill Kurelic of Bucknuts.com.
1. Cameron Robinson, OT
Weight: 330 pounds
Hometown: West Monroe, La.
School: West Monroe High School
247Sports Prediction: Alabama 55%, LSU 45%
Bleacher Report Prediction: LSU
Cameron Robinson is the undisputed No. 1 offensive lineman in this class. He's the No. 1 offensive tackle, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings, and he has superstar potential—just because of his size alone.
He's as strong as he is big. He gets out of his stance quickly and explodes through the block. He gets his hands into the defender and does a great job of driving and churning his legs.
Robinson also has great quickness and speed for his size, so he can get off the line and get up to the linebackers and wall off on down blocks.
You can't teach size, and it's tough to teach quickness and speed. Robinson has plenty of all three.
"Home-state advantage" will give LSU a slight advantage in this huge recruiting race.