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June 4, 2012

Ranking the Big Ten: Offensive line

As Nebraska moves into its second season in the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today, we look at the offensive line position in the Big Ten heading into 2012.

1. Ricky Wagner, T, Wisconsin, 6-6, 322, Sr.
There may not be a more dominant offensive lineman in all of college football than Wisconsin's fifth-year senior left tackle Ricky Wagner. After initially starting out as a tight end for the Badgers, Wagner has established himself as a gifted talent on the offensive line that will be one of the front-runners for the Outland Trophy this season. With the ability to play either tackle spot, Wagner should be one of the first linemen off the board in next year's NFL draft.
2. Jack Mewhort , T, Ohio State, 6-6, 310, Jr.
Versatility may be Ohio State junior Jack Mewhort's biggest strength, as he's capable of manning all five spots on the offensive line. However, he should end up finding his home at left tackle this season. After playing right tackle because All-American Mike Adams was manning the left side, Mewhort will move over and man Buckeye quarterback Braxton Miller's blind side in 2012.
3. Taylor Lewan, T, Michigan, 6-8, 302, Jr.
Michigan has as much star power at the offensive skill positions as anyone in the conference, but there are some big questions on the line up front. Junior left tackle Taylor Lewan is not one of those questions, however. A second-team All-Big Ten selection last season, Lewan has started at left tackle for the Wolverines since he was a redshirt freshman in 2010, and he'll only continue to get better as he holds down the spot for the next two seasons.
4. Chris McDonald, G, Michigan State, 6-5, 299, Sr.
Fifth-year senior Chris McDonald has anchored Michigan State's offensive line at right guard the past two years, and after earning honorable mention All-Big Ten honors last season, he could be in for his best year yet. Even better for the Spartans is they have one of their best o-lines in some time this season, with McDonald and his 17 consecutive starts leading the way.
5. Spencer Long, G, Nebraska, 6-4, 305, Jr.
Few players were a more pleasant surprise last season than walk-on Spencer Long. After battling his way into the starting lineup at right guard in fall camp, Long was one of three Husker linemen to start every game last season, and he ended up being named honorable mention All-Big Ten for his efforts. On a line that lost three starters from last season, Long will be counted on to be one of the leaders for NU up front this year.

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