December 16, 2009
We're closing out the last ten years by assembling the best in one place on the Doc's All-Decade team. It's a democratic enterprise: Vote below for the best offensive lineman. The top five vote-getters will appear on the final team later in the month.
Dominic Raiola • Nebraska (1997-2000)
Four-year starter set the school record for knockdowns each of his last two years and won the Rimington Trophy as the nation's best center in 2000 as the anchor of a dominant option attack that averaged more rushing yards per game (360) than any other offense this decade.
Bryant McKinnie • Miami (1999-2001)
Two-time All-American won the Outland Trophy and finished eighth in Heisman voting in 2001, when he memorably shut out opposing pass rushers for an offense that averaged 43 points per game en route to the national championship.
Toniu Fonoti • Nebraska (1998-2001)
Two-time All-Big 12 pick was a key part of the dominant 2000 rushing attack and a consensus All-American for the 2001 ground game that led the nation for the second year in a row, produced Heisman winner Eric Crouch and led the 'Huskers to the BCS Championship game in the Rose Bowl.
LeCharles Bentley • Ohio State (1998-2001)
Two-time All-Big Ten center won the Rimington and consensus All-America honors for Jim Tressel's first Buckeye team in 2001. Remembered mainly for oft-referenced "nasty streak."
Eric Steinbach • Iowa (1999-2002)
League coaches voted Steinbach Big Ten Offensive Lineman of the Year as a senior, when he anchored the line for the surprising Hawkeye offense, which led the conference in scoring and ran the table in Big Ten play.
Shawn Andrews • Arkansas (2001-03)
Colossal tackle started all three years in Fayetteville, allowing two sacks in his career and twice winning the Jacobs Blocking Trophy as the SEC's best blocker. Andrews left early as a two-time All-American and a finalist for the Lombari Award and Outland Trophy in 2003.
Robert Gallery • Iowa (2000-03)
Converted tight end started every game for three years as the Hawkeyes went from doormat to Big Ten power, succeeding Steinbach as the conference's Offensive Lineman of the Year and earning the Outland Trophy in 2003 en route to landing as the No. 2 pick in the '04 draft.
Jammal Brown • Oklahoma (2001-04)
Former defensive lineman was the left tackle for Heisman winner Jason White in 2003 and Heisman runner-up Adrian Peterson in 2004, picking up the Outland in '04 as the Sooners rolled to their second straight BCS title game.
Greg Eslinger • Minnesota (2002-05)
Nimble center was a four-year starter and three-time All-Big Ten pick for the high-powered Gopher running game, which produced a stunning seven 1,000-yard rushers over the course of Eslinger's career. He left with the Outland and Rimington trophies to go with consensus All-America honors in 2005.
D'Brickashaw Ferguson • Virginia (2002-05)
Undersized left tackle grew into a dominant pass blocker, starting every game of his career for the Cavaliers and earning All-America attention in 2004 and 2005 on his way to becoming the No. 4 overall pick in the '06 draft.
Justin Blalock • Texas (2003-06)
Three-time All-Big 12 pick entrenched himself at right tackle as a redshirt freshman, ultimately starting 50 consecutive games and going out as All-American in 2006. That streak encompassed the Longhorns' 11-1 run in 2004 and their scorched-earth march to the national championship a year later, when the UT offense averaged 50.2 points per game.
Joe Thomas • Wisconsin (2003-06)
Converted tight end started every game over his last three years, paving the way for three different 1,000-yard rushers on teams that combined to go 31-7 and appeared in three straight January bowl games for only the second time in Wisconsin history. Thomas won the Outland as a senior and went with the third pick in the '07 draft.
Jake Long • Michigan (2004-07)
Four-year starter finished his decorated career as a two-time All-American, two-time Big Ten lineman of the year and the No. 1 overall pick in the '08 draft, the first offensive lineman since Orlando Pace in 1997 to go with the top pick.
Duke Robinson • Oklahoma (2005-08)
Two-time consensus All-American was a mainstay at left guard for three straight Big 12 championship teams, notably the 2008 juggernaut that produced Heisman winner Sam Bradford and a pair of 1,000-yard rushers while smashing every known scoring record en route to the BCS title game.
Andre Smith • Alabama (2006-08)
Massive (and massively hyped) recruit started every game of his career prior to his suspension in the '09 Sugar Bowl, leaving early with back-to-back All-SEC nods, the Jacobs and Outland trophies and unanimous All-America honors as the Tide surged back to national prominence in 2008. Also the only player on this list with a touchdown catch to his credit.
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