Turel's Big 10 Position Rankings: OG

Mike Jones

In an upcoming issue of GoBlueWolverine the magazine, Josh Turel ranks the top players at each position in the Big Ten conference. These preseason forecasts are subject to change, but here is his outlook in things heading into the 2006 season. In this segment, Turel breaks down the offensive guards. Iowa's Mike Jones leads the way.

Offensive Guards
1-Mike Jones, Senior, Iowa
2-Tony Brinkhaus, Junior, Minnesota
3-Jordan Grimes, Junior, Purdue
4-TJ Downing, Senior, Ohio State
5-Ryan Keenan, Senior, Northwestern
6-Adam Kraus, Junior, Michigan
7-Mike Elgin, Senior, Iowa
8-Kraig Urbik, Sophomore, Wisconsin
9-Kyle Cook, Senior, Michigan State
10-Matt Maddox, Senior, Illinois

Also Watch For
Joe Tripodi, Senior, Northwestern
Steve Rehring, Sophomore, Ohio State
Alex Mitchell, Sophomore, Michigan
Andy Kemp, Sophomore, Wisconsin
Martin O’Donnell, Junior, Illinois

The Hawkeyes are very strong up the middle this year with seniors Mike Jones and Mike Elgin. Jones, who tops the list has started since his freshman year and has built himself into a fine player. The former Michigan recruit showed his versatility and value last season starting games at left tackle and right tackle before finishing out the year at his left guard slot.

Coming in at number two is Minnesota’s Tony Brinkhaus. Brinkhaus came on in a big way last season and may be the top run blocking guard in the conference. He's one of the strongest players on the Gopher roster and is poised to carry on the excellent run blocking tradition Glen Mason is building in Minneapolis.

Purdue's Jordan Grimes is one of the most physical interior linemen in the league. He has performed well in Purdue's spread scheme, serving as the Boilers primary road-grader. Most of the running in this offense will go behind Grimes and he very well could move up to the top of this list by seasons end.

Buckeye senior TJ Downing is a fine run blocker that could play a number of offensive line positions, but his skills are best suited for the interior. He will team with rising youngster Steve Rehring to give Ohio State some punch up front.

Northwestern’s Ryan Keenan is a converted defensive lineman who picked up the position quickly as a first year starter in 2005. Another first year starter was Michigan’s Adam Kraus. Kraus played much of the year at center and looked solid there despite injuries throughout the year. The Wolverines moved Kraus in order to use his athletic ability and he should move up this list during the year.

Iowa's Mike Elgin is as not quite as talented as his linemate Mike Jones, but he has several years of experience and can play center as well. He may be a little on the lean side at 285-pounds, but he is a real technician up front.

Sophomore Kraig Urbik is developing into a fine lineman for the Wisconsin. Urbik rotated at tackle last season and the coaching staff is very excited about the young man who will now take over inside.

Michigan State’s Kyle Cook is the blue collar type that is the Spartans top lineman. Illinois senior Matt Maddox is built in that same mold and is the anchor of an Illini line that is quickly becoming solid with the addition of Oklahoma transfer Akim Millington.

A few names to keep in mind are Andy Kemp and Alex Mitchell. Kemp challenged for playing time as a true freshman last year in Wisconsin and has been the talk of the town for awhile. He is set to start this year and big things are expected from the young man. Alex Mitchell is a stocky built run blocker who could really fit in well if he can drop some weight.

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