Lineman U: Sports Illustrated Shows Who's Best in the Trenches

Dan Raley

College football coaches lightheartedly refer to these guys as "the big uglies."

Offensive linemen.

The men in the trenches.

Most of them weigh 300-plus pounds now.

They're bigger and more valuable than ever.

You can come up with all the great quarterbacks and running backs you need, but they won't make a difference if they don't have a proper escort.

Sports Illustrated, embarking on a study of 10 years of college football talent dispersal, has rated each of the position areas and determined which schools are the most successful in each stockpiling talent.

While the quarterback position researched earlier generally favored mostly second-tier schools, the best offensive linemen typically gravitate to the powerhouse programs, as shown here by S-I's Reid Foster.

The criteria for finding those schools best suited to answer to "Linemen U" include the number of drafted players, first-rounders, draftees overall, award winners and other variables.

See who's No. 1 as the college supplier for elite linemen and why.

Two Pac-12 schools appear in this top 10 listing. Can you name them?

One of them once had an O-line that was so towering, the school's lighthearted refrain was "when they stood up, they could see Denver."

The University of Washington is not among these highlighted linemen schools, having fallen off this past decade with top-level players in the trenches. The Huskies have provided just center Coleman Shelton and tackles Senio Kelemente and Kaleb McGary to the pros in that time.

Trey Adams stood to be in the NFL by now, and starting at left tackle for someone paying him, but he ran into a string of cruel injuries. This prevented him from taking early draft entry and could lower or curtail his coming selection in three weeks.

On the other hand, center Nick Harris stands a good chance of doing Washington proud in the upcoming draft, with the two-time All-Pac-12 selection earning favorable reviews so far and a likely mid-round pick.