May 30, 2002

The real beasts of the East

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Many college teams are looking to tweak their offensive lines this off-season, while others are forced to completely overhaul their front five because of graduation, NFL defection or an overall lack of consistency.

With more and more coaches looking for offensive line recruits who can make an impact on a program within their first two years of college ball, the battle for elite o-line prospects becomes hotter every year. Here's a look at five offensive linemen on the East Coast that have the skills to make a sudden impact in college.

Offensive tackle - Joel Holler - 6-foot-6, 330 pounds, Lancaster (Pa.) J.P. McCaskey
Holler is a massive tackle that has the size and power to impact after a redshirt season. He needs to trim down slightly, but he has good footwork, uses his arms well and is a dominant run blocker. Might not be quick enough to be a left tackle early in his career, but could be an impact right tackle until he fully develops. Holler has offers from Penn State, Pitt, Ohio State, Miami, Maryland, Michigan State and many others. It will be tough to pull him out of Pennsylvania.

Offensive tackle - Tripp Carroll - 6-foot-5, 280 pounds, Charlotte (N.C.) Myers Park
Carroll is an outstanding prospect with a large frame, excellent quickness and superior athleticism. He can play either tackle or guard at the college level because he's equally as efficient pass blocking and run blocking and has the foot speed to pull with ease. Recent inside word has Carroll headed to Virginia Tech where his girlfriend attends school but programs like North Carolina, NC State, Virginia, Florida, Clemson and countless others won't give in without a fight.

Offensive guard - Dan Mazan - 6-foot-4, 295 pounds, Carteret, N.J.
When you check in at nearly 300 pounds and can run the 40-yard dash in under 5.0 seconds, you have to be considered a special player. That's the case with Mazan, who already has offers from Penn State, Syracuse, Boston College, Maryland, Rutgers, Iowa and many others with powers like Miami, Nebraska, Ohio State and Michigan also ready to pull the trigger. Mazan might not get the same press as some others on the East Coast, but he could impact quicker.

Offensive guard - Matt Welsh - 6-foot-5, 275 pounds, Clifton (Va.) Centreville
OK, we know that Welsh is listed as an offensive tackle in our database and his size potential will probably have him playing outside in college.

However, Welsh works very well in tight quarters and has awesome upper body strength. Give him a year in the Virginia Tech weight room (he has already committed to the Hokies) to improve his leg drive and watch him go.

Welsh has a nasty temperament on the field and the heart of a fighter, something that is always a factor for younger o-linemen trying to impact quickly.

Center - John Sullivan - 6-foot-4, 270 pounds, Greenwich, Conn.
The best lineman that Connecticut has produced in nearly a decade, Sullivan can play tackle, guard or center in college with his mobility, smarts, strength and uncanny instincts. When you see him play, he not only dominates his designated area, but he moves downfield to make key blocks as well. With nearly 30 offers and more coming in every day, Sullivan will have a difficult decision to make. Regardless where he goes (Boston College, UConn, Maryland, Miami, North Carolina, South Carolina, Syracuse and Virginia are amongst the many teams he likes), Sullivan will probably end up as a three-year starter at center.



 

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