Top 10 returning interior offensive linemen in college football for the 2023 season

Lubbock, Texas, USA; Kansas State Wildcats offensive lineman Cooper Beebe (50) blocks Texas Tech Red Raiders defensive lineman Tyree Wilson (19) in the first half at Jones AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Michael C. Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

  • Kansas State’s Cooper Beebe: The junior guard’s 94.0 pass-blocking grade over the last two seasons leads all offensive linemen in the country.
  • ArkansasBeaux Limmer: The redshirt junior guard comes in second on this list and was one of three Power Five guards who posted 80-plus grades as both a pass- and run-blocker this season.
  • Michigan’s Drake Nugent: The Stanford transfer is the highest-ranked center on this list and should fill Outland Trophy winner Olusegun Oluwatimi’s shoes nicely.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes

It’s officially time to hit the reset button.

Now that we know who will continue playing on Saturdays next fall, let's take an early look at the top returning players at every position.

Here are the top 10 interior offensive linemen returning to college football next season. Please note that NFL projection is not taken into account here. 

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1. OG Cooper Beebe, Kansas State Wildcats

Beebe spent the last two seasons at offensive tackle before moving inside to left guard in 2022. 

Over the last two seasons, the junior’s 94.0 pass-blocking grade leads all offensive linemen in the country, as he hasn’t allowed a sack over the course of his 770 pass-blocking snaps since 2021. He’s also the most valuable returning interior offensive lineman in the country over those two years according to PFF’s wins above average metric. No matter where Beebe lines up, he produces elite play. 

 


2. OG Beaux Limmer, Arkansas Razorbacks

Limmer is an all-around stud at right guard. The redshirt junior was one of only three Power Five guards who recorded 80-plus grades as both a pass- and run-blocker this season.

Among returning FBS interior offensive linemen over the last two seasons, only Beebe has been more valuable than Limmer according to PFF’s wins above average metric. 

 


3. OG Zak Zinter, Michigan Wolverines

Zinter is one of Michigan's three returning starters on the offensive line, which is the first two-time defending winner of the Joe Moore Award that is given to the nation’s best offensive line.

The junior was the second-most-valuable guard in the Power Five this season according to PFF’s wins above average metric. On 389 pass-blocking snaps, the right guard only surrendered nine pressures.


4. OG Christian Haynes, UConn Huskies

UConn made it to its first bowl game in seven years this past season and one of the biggest reasons was the dominance of its interior offensive line. 

Haynes was the star of that unit, as his 91.0 pass-blocking grade led all guards in the country while the redshirt junior’s 84.6 run-blocking grade ranked sixth. His 16 big-time blocks (PFF’s highest-graded blocks) led all FBS guards as well. 


5. OG Justin Dedich, USC Trojans

While Michigan won the Joe Moore Award, one can make a very strong argument that it should’ve gone to USC. The Trojans line was the only one in the country with an 85-plus pass- and run-blocking grade as a unit.

A major reason for that was the best interior offensive line in college football, led by center Brett Neilon in addition to guards Andrew Vorhees and Dedich. The latter is the only returner from that interior and led all Power Five guards with a 90.0 pass-blocking grade this year. The redshirt senior had the most pass-blocking snaps in the country without allowing a sack or hit this season (528). 


6. C Drake Nugent, Michigan Wolverines

Despite losing Outland Trophy winner Olusegun Oluwatimi, Michigan should still have elite play in the middle of its offensive line.

Nugent is the highest-ranked center on this list and is the most valuable returning one in the Power Five according to PFF’s wins above average metric. The Stanford transfer’s 84.1 run-blocking grade ranked third among all centers in the country this past season. Between Nugent creating holes in the middle and two top-10 running backs in Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards, the Wolverines’ ground game should once again be deadly next season.


7. OG Tate Ratledge, Georgia Bulldogs

Ratledge did a masterful job protecting quarterback Stetson Bennett during Georgia’s national championship run this season.

His 85.6 pass-blocking grade on true pass sets ranked second among all guards in the country. The redshirt sophomore also only allowed a pressure on 1.4% of his pass-blocking snaps, the third-lowest rate for Power Five guards.


8. C Zach Frazier, West Virginia Mountaineers

Among returning Power Five centers over the last two seasons, none had a higher grade than Frazier’s 82.0 mark.

The junior is also the most valuable Power Five center in that span according to PFF’s wins above average metric. His 80.9 run-blocking grade ranked sixth among all centers in the country this year.


9. OG Donovan Jackson, Ohio State Buckeyes

Jackson was a top-15 recruit coming out of the 2021 class according to On3 Sports’ consensus ratings

The sophomore began to live up to the hype this year in his first season as a starter. His 76.7 grade was a top-10 mark among Power Five guards this year while his nine big-time blocks were tied for sixth.


10. OG Christian Mahogany, Boston College Eagles

Mahogany missed the entire 2022 season after tearing his right ACL in June, but he still deserves a spot on this list for what he did last year.

As a redshirt sophomore, he was one of six Power Five guards who earned 80-plus grades as a pass- and run-blocker. For his efforts, he was named a second-team All-American by PFF. If he can return to form from his knee injury, Mahogany should be near the top of this list.

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