Kentucky Wildcats Football: Offensive Line Preview


The offensive line is a weird position to preview this season, On paper, Kentucky returns a ton of experience and this group of guys SHOULD be one of the strongest groups.

But that’s just on paper.

Jul 17, 2014; Hoover, AL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats tackle Jordan Swindle talks to the media during the SEC football media days at the Wynfrey Hotel. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY SportsThe reality is that returning starters aren’t always your best players and sometimes they were actually only part-time starters. This is where Kentucky is at this point.
The two tackles should be two of the best players on the entire team, but the interior offensive line is much less certain. Today we break down the big guys up front.

Darrian Miller (SR) – Of all the players on the team, Miller has probably been the most consistent of anyone at any position in his four years at Kentucky. Outside of some bumps and bruises, he’s stayed healthy for almost four years and he has been an anchor at left tackle for the last two. Just about a guarantee to start, Miller’s athleticism and length make him a great fit for the most important position on the line. His experience only adds to his value, but his calm demeanor and penchant for staying out of the news (good or bad) unfortunately makes him forgettable. Trust that the quarterbacks won’t forget Miller this season as he takes on the opposition’s best defensive lineman each week.

Jordan Swindle (JR) – Swindle, like Miller, was the team’s third tackle as a true freshman he also played extensively in his first season. Since then, Swindle has gathered a stranglehold on the starting right tackle spot that he is unlikely to lose this year. Standing at 6’7, he has elite length for the position and should provide a bookend to Miller on the other side this season.

Kyle Meadows (RFR) – Meadows was a touted recruit coming out of Lakota West two years ago and his decision to sign with Kentucky was a big one. After redshirting last season and improving everything from his body to his technique, Meadows is expected to be the team’s top backup for both tackle positions this fall. While he isn’t quite as big as Swindle and he’s probably a little less athletic than Miller, Meadows is a great blend of what each starter brings to the table and fans should be confident in his abilities moving forward.

Teven Seatmon-Nared (SR) – It seems like he signed his letter of intent yesterday, but Eatmon Nared is now in his fifth year on campus and in his final season of eligibility. After bumping around the line at different positions, Eatmon-Nared was a part-time starter at one of the guard spots in 2013. Moving on to this season, he is expected to be a top backup at one of the two tackle spots. If he can prove he has relearned the position, he could allow Meadows to backup only one spot while he mans the other. This would in turn allow the staff to redshirt some of the incoming freshman class.

Josh Krok (FR) – Krok is an enormous person at 6’8 and 310 pounds. It is always tough for true freshmen to play in the SEC, but Krok could be called upon if either starting tackle sustains an injury or if the coaches feel like he is ready early. A redshirt is always preferred with freshmen offensive linemen though.

Nick Richardson (FR) – He might be a tackle or he might be a guard, but Richardson was a big pickup for Kentucky either way. He has great size and length for a player his age and his body type lends itself to being effective on the interior or on the perimeter of the offensive line. Like Krok, he is probably best off redshirting his first season.

Zach West (JR) – After starting and playing well as a redshirt freshman two years ago, West regressed last season as he attempted to play through injury. He split time with Eatmon-Nared and others at right guard without ever asserting himself as “the guy.” Now, he’s in a battle with multiple players for his position and, while West is still the favorite, things aren’t as clear as they should be. His experience and size make him a prototypical SEC guard, but he will have to beat out some talented young players and a nagging shoulder injury to win the job.

Ramsey Meyers (RFR) – From the minute he stepped on campus, everyone was talking about Meyers. He wasn’t the highest rated recruit in his class. Or the biggest. Or the fastest. Actually, based on recruiting rankings, he was relatively lucky to be retained after Joker was dismissed. There was always something about him that let you know he was going to be a good one though and Kentucky should be thankful they held on to him. Fast forward to now, and Meyers is expected to start as a redshirt freshman at the right guard position vacated by Kevin Mitchell’s graduation. There is a chance he could be beaten out at this point, but it sure seems unlikely. A blend of size, speed, and a nasty streak make Meyers a player to watch for a breakout inaugural season.

Nick Haynes (RFR) – Another young guy, Haynes was a late addition to his signing class that got some attention early on for his play. He’s big, tough, and surprisingly athletic for a guard at 320 pounds. He should be one of the top challengers to West and Meyers for a starting job and he is likely to be a top player in the rotation at guard.

Cole Mosier (RFR) – I have not previewed another walk-on (and I doubt I will), but Mosier merits it. At 6’6 and 360 pounds, he doesn’t have walk-on size and he has garnered praise from the coaching staffs on too many occasions to keep track of. Guards tire quickly due to the nature of their position and physical size, so look for Mosier to get in plenty of snaps even if he does not start.

Jarrett LaRubbio (FR) – Guards seldom get love from the recruiting rankings and this can allow some fans to overlook them early on. LaRubbio was one of the best guards in the country, but that still only earned him a three-star ranking as there are VERY few four-star guards in any given year. His size should allow him to contribute early in his career, but with the four players ahead of him looking very good at this point, it would be much more ideal for LaRubbio to sit out 2014 and fill out his frame redshirting.

Jon Toth (SO) – Maybe the most surprising player of 2013, Toth returns as the incumbent center for the team. He was actually remarkably good when you consider that he had never played center in his life prior to last season. With about twenty extra pounds of good weight, Toth will attempt to hold off fellow sophomore Myers and incoming freshman Stallings.

Zach Myers (SO) – It really seems like Myers has the most rotten luck of anyone on the team. He has been injured in the preseason in two consecutive years and will (hopefully) break that pattern this season. Myers has a lot of what you look for in a center and being healthy should allow him to compete with Toth for the starting job. Considering his size and now experience advantage, Toth should be difficult for Myers to unseat at this point though. If he does remain the backup center, expect the coaches to cross-train him at guard to provide some help there as well.

Bunchy Stallings (FR) – As mentioned above, Toth is expected to be the team’s starting center and Myers should prove to be a capable upperclassman backup. With the two-deep looking solid at the center position, the staff can afford to redshirt Stallings in the hope that he has an offseason similar to Meadows and Ramsey Meyers last season. Already 6’3 and 330 pounds, Stallings has the type of body to play center or guard moving forward and a redshirt will allow the staff to find the spot best suited for him.