As you may have heard, Kolton Houston can play college football! Congratulations to him, his family, Ron Courson, and everyone else who worked hard and never stopped trying to get this young man eligible. But since he is eligible, now what?
Houston arrived in 2010, so he's redshirted, and wasted two season of eligibility waiting on the NCAA to pull their head out of their backsides. Now, there is a small chance the NCAA might grant him a 6th season of eligibility, but that depends on them, and Houston, in 2 years time. For now, he's a junior with the ability to play this season and next.
He's practiced some, but not consistently according to Marc Weiszer. Still, we are talking about someone who two years ago was slotted into the post spring depth chart as the starting RT. He's been said to have the ability to contribute at LT, LG, RG, or RT, and that versatility will come in handy. OL coach Will Friend has a few versatile players to work with, so who ultimately ends up where probably depends on who wins the battles in fall camp.
C David Andrews looks set, with probably Josh Cardiello or Brandon Kublanow working behind him redshirting, as Hunter Long, Chris Burnette, or Dallas Lee take snaps whenever Andrews needs a break.
But aside from the certain center, the other 4 OL spots are up for grabs.
At LT, you have John Theus, Kenarious Gates, Mark Beard, and Kolton Houston as options.
LG? Gates, Beard, Chris Burnette, and Dallas Lee can all play there.
RG? Take those same 4, and add Watts Dantzler.
RT can be filled by Theus, or Gates, or Dantzler, or Houston, or Xzavier Ward who was in the lead there coming out of spring.
And that is not including redshirt freshman G Greg Pyke, Hunter Long able to work in at G or his brother Austin who's worked at both G and T spots, and rs sophomore Zach Debell who can work at T.
You expect John Theus to win one of the two T spots, but that is far from set in stone with all this competition. If Ward has filled out and started to reach his immense potential, he might have RT on lock, forcing Theus and Houston, and others to battle it out at LT. Chris Burnette would be sure at RG after starting 24 games there the last two years, and Lee at LG since he's started over 20 games himself at one or the other G spot the last two seasons. But if they haven't put in the work necessary this off season, there is competition to pass them by.
The safe bet is on an OL with Lee (LG), Andrews (C), and Burnette (RG) on the inside, then either Ward or Houston at RT, with Theus or Gates at LT. But that versatility is nice if someone has been slacking this winter, or gets hurt during the season. And the competition should hopefully bring out the best in the guys we have taking the field.
Damn it feels good to have OL depth. (/cuechuckdawgparty!) Oh, and Andrews, Theus, Beard, Houston, Dantzler, and Ward, among others, all still have multiple years of eligibility left to be fighting for jobs next year too!