Often the most overlooked and underappreciated position group, West Virginia’s offensive line is suddenly tasked with protecting a potential Heisman Trophy winner in Will Grier.
Let’s give the big guys some love and break down what the offensive line will look like for the 2018 season.
Center: Starter – Matt Jones (Jr.), Backup – Jacob Buccigrossi (Soph.)
Jones is no stranger to the starting lineup after starting all 13 games last season. At 6’3″, 223-lbs, he’s been a more than reliable anchor along the offensive line but will be pushed by Buccigrossi for minutes heading into fall camp. Buccigrossi was thought to be capable of taking starter’s minutes last season before an ACL injury derailed his 2017 campaign.
Right Guard: Isaiah Hardy (Sr.), Backup – Blaine Scott (Freshman)
After a season of backing up now Carolina Panther Kyle Bosch in 2017, Hardy will be looked at as a veteran presence for the Mountaineers in 2018. Despite being a true freshman, Scott will provide depth at guard for Holgorsen. But if/when the time comes, it seems Chase Behrndt – who at least saw the field last season – would get the call at either of the guard spots.
Right Tackle: Colton McKivitz (RS Jr.), Tyler Thurmond (RS freshman)
At 6’7″ 300-lbs, McKivitz is by far the largest guy on the offensive line and considered one of best returning lineman for West Virginia. After starting in all 13 games last season, he has been named to the preseason All-Big XII Second Team by Athlon Sports and Phil Steele. Thurmond, however, redshirted last year and should be ready to contribute if needed.
Left Guard: Josh Sills (RS Soph.), Chase Behrndt (RS Soph.)
Sills took full advantage of his redshirt year in 2016 and burst onto the scene as a reliable starter in 2017. The 6’6″ Ohio native saw action in all 13 games last season and even started in 10 of them. Behrendt will float between the right and left guard spot depending on where he’s needed and when. He was used sparingly last season but is believed to be ready to absorb starter’s minutes at any point.
Left Tackle: Yodny Cajuste (RS Sr.), Kelby Wickline (RS Jr.)
Behind Will Grier, Cajuste is the Mountaineers next best pro prospect and a sure-fire All-American. After a stellar 2017, Cajuste was named to the preseason All-Big XII First Team and is widely considered one of the best tackles in the college ranks. Wickline, offensive line coach Joe Wickline’s son, joined West Virginia from JUCO in 2016 and saw action in all 13 games last season. He’ll add reliable depth to an already impressive unit.