The Big 12 Conference isn't necessarily known as an offensive line league, but heading into the 2009 season most experts will tell you that Oklahoma State's Russell Okung is arguably the nation's top returning offensive lineman. Okung leads a group of solid linemen in the conference as we continue our ranking the Big 12 series.
Oklahoma State's Russell Okung is clearly the top returning offensive lineman in the Big 12 Conference. Okung was a first-team All-American in 2008 and he has started an amazing 34 straight games for the Cowboys offensive line. As a junior, Okung led OSU with 71 knockdowns and as a sophomore he helped Cowboy offensive line lead the Big 12 Conference with just five sacks allowed in eight league games. Most NFL experts predict Okung as a top five pick in next year's draft.
2. Trent Williams, Oklahoma, 6-5, 310, Sr.
Oklahoma has had one of the nation's best offensive lines over the last few seasons and senior Trent Williams play has been a big reason why. Williams played right tackle in 2008, but he'll move over to the left side this season. OU's line allowed just 11 sacks on 476 passing attempts last season, which is just an astounding stat when you break that down compared to other teams across the country. The Sooners must replace four other starters this fall, so Williams experience and leadership will be a big part of their success up front.
3. Chris Hall, Texas, 6-4, 300, Sr.
Texas probably has the top returning offensive line the Big 12 Conference and fifth-year senior Chris Hall's play over the last three seasons is a big reason why. Hall has played in 31 games over that period, including 23 starts. During that time Hall has lined up and played all five positions on the line, before finally settling in at center this past season.
4. Brandon Carter, Texas Tech, 6-7, 340, Sr.
Most people know Texas Tech's Brandon Carter as the guy that wears the crazy face paint and sports the Mohawk on the football field…but don't let the getup trick you. This guy can play, as he's helped Texas Tech's offensive line become one of the better units in the Big 12 Conference over the last couple of seasons. With a new starting quarterback in Lubbock this fall, Carter's services up front will become even more important this season.
5. Adam Ulatoski, Texas, 6-8, 305, Sr.
Very rarely will you see a four-year starter on the offensive line at a school like Texas, but Adam Ulatoski has managed to do just that. Ulatoski has played in 36 games over the last three years and started 30 of them (16 at RT/14 at LT). He was a first-team All Big 12 selection in 2008 and his 6-foot-8 frame is definitely something that has the attention of several NFL scouts. Ulatoski will once again anchor down the left side of Texas's offensive line this fall.