The Big Ten had 11 offensive linemen selected in April’s NFL Draft, three more than any other position. The next highest was wide receiver (8) followed by defensive line (7). This season is no different in that the conference boasts some of the best tackles, guards and centers in the country.
Here's a look at the Big Ten's top-five offensive lines:
Despite losing two more players to the NFL -- Kevin Zeitler and Peter Konz -- the Badgers are loaded across the line. The two represent the fourth and fifth offensive linemen, respectively, to get drafted out of “Linemen U” in the past two years. The Badgers have C Travis Frederick and LT Rick Wagner, who were named to the Outland Trophy watchlist. The three other linemen -- RG Robert Burge, LG Ryan Groy, and RT Rob Havenstein -- average 6-7, 325 pounds.
2. Michigan State
The Spartans are returning four starters, including RT Fou Fonoti, a junior college transfer from Cerritos College (Calif.). Fonoti (6-4, 300) was given preseason All-Big Ten awards by two national magazines. Two-year starter Dan France was also a preseason second-team All-Big Ten national magazine selection. Dan Roushar coached the veteran offensive line for four years before he became the Spartans’ offensive coordinator last season.
RB Fitzgerald Toussaint will have plenty of holes to run through with LT Taylor Lewan (6-8, 300) anchoring the line. Lewan, an Outland Trophy nominee, was named to Phil Steele’s All-America third team. The Wolverines' other returning linemen are Patrick Omameh at RG and Michael Schofield at RT. Both contributed to a line that allowed just 18 sacks last season, third best in the Big Ten. Blocking for Denard Robinson isn’t easy but Michigan rushed for 221.9 yards per game last season, 13th in the country.
4. Ohio State
LT Jack Mewhort and LG Andrew Norwell return for a Buckeye line whose RBs rushed for 191.2 yards per game last season, 27th in the country. Norwell earned All-Big Ten honorable mention last season after playing five games at LT and eight at LG. Marcus Hall, the No. 1 at RG, started five games last year for the Buckeyes. Hall is a product of Glenville High School in Cleveland, the same school that produced Ted Ginn Jr. and Troy Smith.
RG Spencer Long (6-4, 305) earned preseason All-Big Ten honors from both Phil Steele and Athlon Sports. Long, a junior, was a former walk-on for the Huskers. Junior Brent Qvale will replace Tyler Moore as the starting LT after Moore decided to take the semester off and reevaluate his football options. At 6-7, Qvale will be the Huskers’ tallest linemen.
For more Big Ten coverage, follow Mike Singer and Dave Carey @CBSSportsBigTen.