- 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.
- Arkansas’ Beaux 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.
The 2022 college football season has come and gone, and so has the deadline to enter the 2023 NFL Draft. 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.
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.
ok Cooper Beebe (LG #50) ok pic.twitter.com/vxmyhrIJGp
— cristian (@Cristianspfc_) January 27, 2023
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.
Arkansas’ Beaux Limmer was one of only three P5 guards with 80+ pass- and run-blocking grades this season per @PFF.
Here he (RG, #55) does an excellent job of getting to the second level and taking out the LB.
My #2 IOL in CFB heading into 2023.pic.twitter.com/01juN519q1
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) February 4, 2023
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.
I’d challenge someone to find a more dominant C/G combo in 2022 that @UMichFootball C Olu Oluwatimi & RG Zak Zinter
Oluwatimi has 3200 snaps played (multi year starter at Virginia before transferring). Zinter is a road grader out there – nasty and powerful! pic.twitter.com/bIYXo6kyiK
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) November 15, 2022
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.
UConn guard Christian Haynes was dominant this season.
Led all FBS guards in @PFF pass-blocking grade and big-time blocks.
RG #64 here does a great job sealing off the NC State DL before tossing him aside.
Top-5 IOL heading into next year.pic.twitter.com/GAJ1GQsv7s
— Max Chadwick (@Chad_Maxwick) February 4, 2023
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).
Justin Dedich throwing a dude out the club: pic.twitter.com/K73sETEc2A
— Shotgun Spratling (@ShotgunSpr) November 11, 2022
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.
Haven't watched much of Drake Nugent (Stanford IOL 60) this year but he did transfer to Michigan a few weeks ago. He certainly caught my eye with this rep! pic.twitter.com/6xG6wcH35Y
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 13, 2023
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.
I’d like to report a dead body. Suspect, No. 69 Tate Ratledge, still at large.
Very large. pic.twitter.com/Ko93vghb2W
— Brooks Austin (@BrooksAustinBA) September 13, 2022
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.
WVU C Zach Frazier springing Leddie Brown untouched is beautiful pic.twitter.com/J6ietYj5p3
— Cam Mellor (@CamMellor) September 18, 2021
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.
How about former Bellaire (TX) Episcopal 5⭐️ and Ohio State guard Donovan Jackson
His first career start against Notre Dame… Moving. People.#GoBucks X #TXHSFB @Bucknuts247 pic.twitter.com/ihjSqVChr3
— Collin Kennedy (@CKennedy247) September 5, 2022
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.
All-ACC OL Christian Mahogany with the rare Lineman Wildcat TD
And a Keg Stand celebration pic.twitter.com/82kpGcyIHF
— Pick Six Previews (@PickSixPreviews) April 10, 2022