Michigan State is our preseason pick for nation's top O-line
The Joe Moore Foundation for Teamwork has announced the inception of the Joe Moore Award, which will honor the nation’s most outstanding offensive line unit. Unlike the numerous individual awards given out at the end of the season, the Joe Moore Award places the emphasis on the team in a sport that is entirely reliant upon team work. We will be announcing our Heisman favorites and revealing preseason picks for an array of awards tomorrow, but as a new and unique award category, the Joe Moore Award should stand on its own.
Based on our rankings, the preseason nomination for this award goes to the Michigan State offensive line. The Spartans return four starters, led by left tackle Jack Conklin and center Jack Allen. Conklin punishes defensive linemen and linebackers in the run game, and his 91.3 run-block grade ranks second in the nation among left tackles, while his 87.0 pass-protection grade ranks ninth. Allen allowed zero sacks in 2014, giving up just one hit and four total pressures. He is also adept as a run blocker with an 86.4 run-block grade.
Right guard Donavon Clark (73.4 overall) and right tackle Kodi Kieler (73.5) man the right side of the line, leaving a vacancy at left guard that should be filled by sophomore Brian Allen. Allen played 321 snaps as a freshman, and while he struggled at times that experience stands him in good state for his first full season as a starter.
The Spartans line may not be full of all-star names, but as a unit, they are tough to beat.