Top 10 Returning FCS Interior Offensive Linemen In 2024

South Dakota State OL Gus Miller
South Dakota State OL Gus Miller / Dave Eggen (SDSU Athletics)

The 2024 FCS football season is approaching and it is time to begin ranking the top returning players at each position. The FCS Football Central staff submitted their ranking of the top FCS interior offensive linemen entering next season. The submissions were combined and players were ranked by total points received.

The rankings were compiled using multiple factors, including film, on-field performance, career accolades, Pro Football Focus grades, and any other information available to the voters.

Some notable honorable mentions that received votes include Montana's Journey Grimsrud, Tarleton State's Hunter Smith, Austin Peay's Chandler Kirton, William & Mary's Ryan McKenna, and Montana's Liam Brown.

Below are the top returning FCS interior offensive linemen in 2024.

Top 10 Returning FCS Interior Offensive Linemen

10. Jack Connolly (Brown)

Brown offensive lineman Jack Connolly
Brown OL Jack Connolly / Chip DeLorenzo (Brown Athletics)

Connolly established himself as one of the best offensive linemen in the Ivy League last season. He earned first-team All-Ivy honors after starting 10 games for the Bears, allowing zero sacks in over 400 snaps at left guard.

Connolly showed his versatility, moving to left tackle due to injuries along the offensive line in the season's final two games. He allowed only 10 quarterback pressures in over 784 offensive snaps, helping the Bears rank second in the Ivy League in total offense.

9. Nathan Mejia (Sacramento State)

Sacramento State offensive lineman Nathan Mejia
Sacramento State OL Nathan Mejia / Sacramento State Athletics

Mejia has started 26 consecutive games at center for the Hornets. He did not waste any time making an immediate impact, earning Freshman All-American and second-team All-Big Sky honors in 2022.

Mejia was an All-Big Sky honorable mention last season after only allowing one sack in over 475 pass-blocking snaps. Pro Football Focus graded Mejia as the No. 14 center nationally and No. 2 in the Big Sky in 2023. He also finished the season with the second-highest pass-blocking grade in the conference.

8. Evan Roussel (Nicholls State)

Nicholls State offensive lineman Evan Roussel
Nicholls State OL Evan Roussel / Nicholls State Athletics

Roussel enters the 2024 season as one of the most accomplished offensive linemen in the FCS. The 6-foot-2, 290-pound center has earned All-Conference honors in four consecutive seasons. He also earned HERO Sports Freshman and Sophomore All-American honors.

Roussel has only allowed one sack over his four seasons with the Colonels. Last season, Roussel played over 700 snaps, allowing zero sacks and only six quarterback pressures. He helped lead Nicholls to the first conference title since 2019.

7. Reid Williams (Chattanooga)

Chattanooga offensive lineman Reid Williams
Chattanooga OL Reid Williams / Laura O'Dell (Chattanooga Athletics)

Williams has started 21 games over the past two seasons, earning All-SoCon honors in back-to-back seasons. He earned third-team FCS All-American honors last season, allowing zero sacks in 450 pass-blocking snaps.

Pro Football Focus ranked Williams as the No. 6 center in the FCS last season. His pass-blocking grade led all FCS centers and ranked No. 9 among all FCS offensive linemen. In over 750 career pass-blocking snaps, Williams has allowed only one sack and 16 quarterback pressures.

6. Zack Gieg (SEMO)

Southeast Missouri State offensive lineman Zack Gieg
SEMO OL Zack Gieg / SEMO Athletics

After starting his career at Fresno State, Gieg has started 33 games for the Redhawks over the past three seasons. He is a three-time first-team All-Conference selection and earned FCS All-American honors in 2022.

Gieg won the Rimington Award in 2022, which is awarded to the nation's top center at the FCS level. He did not allow a sack over his first two seasons and has only allowed five quarterback hits in his career.

5. Justus Perkins (Montana State)

Montana State offensive lineman Justus Perkins
Montana State OL Justus Perkins / Garrett Becker (Montana State Athletics)

Perkins has started 40 consecutive games at center for the Bobcats. He has a chance to make history next season, as he is only 10 starts away from the school record for career starts and consecutive starts. He is a two-time All-Big Sky honorable mention and earned third-team FCS All-American honors last season.

Pro Football Focus graded Perkins as the No. 4 overall center in the FCS last season. His run-blocking grade ranked second among centers and No. 12 among all FCS interior offensive linemen. Last season, Perkins only allowed one sack and one quarterback hit in over 285 pass-blocking snaps.

4. Evan Beerntsen (South Dakota State)

South Dakota State offensive lineman Evan Beerntsen
South Dakota State OL Evan Beerntsen / Dave Eggen (SDSU Athletics)

Beerntsen is expected to step into the spotlight next season for the Jackrabbits. He was named an All-MVFC honorable mention after only allowing six quarterback pressures in over 375 pass-blocking snaps last season.

Beerntsen's pass-blocking grade led all interior offensive linemen in the FCS and ranked No. 3 among all offensive linemen. Pro Football Focus graded Beerntsen as the No. 6 overall guard in the FCS.

3. Nick Taiste (South Carolina State)

South Carolina State OL Nick Taiste
South Carolina State OL Nick Taiste / Nick Taiste (@MrTaiste)

Over the past four seasons, Taiste has started in 33 career games for the Bulldogs. He is a three-time All-MEAC selection, including earning first-team honors in back-to-back seasons. In 2021, he helped lead the Bulldogs to the first Celebration Bowl in program history.

Taiste has not allowed a sack in over 1,000 pass-blocking snaps at South Carolina State. Pro Football Focus graded Taiste as the No. 4 interior offensive lineman in the FCS last season.

2. Jackson Slater (Sacramento State)

Sacramento State OL Jackson Slater
Sacramento State OL Jackson Slater / Sacramento State Athletics

Slater has started 35 consecutive games for the Hornets and enters next season as one of the most accomplished offensive linemen in program history. He earned first-team All-Big Sky and third-team FCS All-American honors last season.

Slater did not allow a sack in almost 500 pass-blocking snaps last season. He is only the second offensive lineman in program history to earn first-team All-Big Sky honors in two consecutive seasons.

1. Gus Miller (South Dakota State)

South Dakota State OL Gus Miller
South Dakota State OL Gus Miller / Dave Eggen (SDSU Athletics)

Miller has started 30 consecutive games and helped lead the Jackrabbits to back-to-back FCS national championships. Last season, he was awarded the FCS Rimington Award and earned first-team FCS All-American honors.

Miller finished the regular season as the highest-graded center in the FCS. His run-blocking grade ranked No. 1 among centers and No. 9 among all interior offensive linemen. Miller only allowed one sack and 11 quarterback pressures in 377 pass-blocking snaps last season. He also enters next season as one of the top FCS prospects for the 2025 NFL Draft.

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Zachary McKinnell

ZACHARY MCKINNELL

Zach McKinnell is the Founder and Senior Editor of FCS Football Central. He is also a columnist for HERO Sports and a contributor for Athlon Sports. In 2022, he became an official voter in the FCS Stats Perform Top-25. He is a former contributor for Vols Wire, part of the USA TODAY Sports Network, and Fly War Eagle on FanSided. Zach graduated from Auburn University in 2018.