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2018 Football Position Previews: Offensive Line

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This is probably one of the biggest keys to the 2018 season.

NCAA Football: Northern Iowa at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Iowa State’s offensive line had some issues last season, but with at least three returning starters and others who took meaningful snaps, new offensive line coach Jeff Meyers is looking for improvement this upcoming season.

Departures:

Robby Garcia and Jake Campos are the departures from last season’s starting offensive line.

New Guys:

Joey Ramos- Arizona

Trevor Downing - Iowa

Zach Ross - Iowa

Iowa State will have two new starters come September 1st. Collin Newell at center, and Josh Mueller at left guard, as it stands right now. Newell, an Ames native, has pushed his way into the starting center job, and has allowed last year’s center to make a move to the outside. Mueller, a sophomore, is not technically a new guy, but he’s new to the starting job. He’s finally gotten his feet under him and learned the offense

Leader Of The Pack:

Josh Knipfel. Many may say Julian Good-Jones is the pick here, but I think all through last season Knipfel was Iowa State’s best lineman not named Jake Campos. I think Knipfel will take his game to another level, and help propel the Cyclone run game to new heights.

NCAA Football: Oklahoma State at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Dark Horse:

Oge Udeogu. Last season, Udeogu spent the season hurt, and has been playing catch up since. Currently, he is behind in a battle for the starting spot at left guard, likely due to the injury. If he can finally get fully healthy, he may push for playing time at left guard, though it all depends on how well Mueller can handle the position.

2018 Projection:

Despite some of the struggles this group had in the 2017 season, I think it’s safe to say they will be much improved once camp comes to a close and they figure out a cohesive group. The offensive line is going to be one of the most important pieces to Iowa State’s success this year aside from Kyle Kempt. They will have to continue their ways of protecting the quarterback, all while finding the road grader mentality they lacked last season in the run game.

I think we will see some early growing pains to start the season, but nothing that will derail an entire campaign. Campbell will have two new starters, and Julian Good-Jones playing out at tackle after playing center last season. It will be nothing that us Cyclone fans should worry about against South Dakota State.

I think Josh Knipfel and Collin Newell will be the shining stars of the offensive line. While we may see some rotation at left guard, that shouldn’t negatively impact the line much, if at all. Most of the offensive line played significantly last year, and will all be back heading into next season, so we should expect to see some noticeable growth through the year, possibly leading to the Cyclones having a upper tier group in the conference, and once of the most experienced offensive lines in the nation heading into 2019.