Football season is right around the corner Red Raider fans and it’s time for our annual ranking of the top-15 players that are currently on the roster. Our rankings begin with starting center Paul Stawarz coming in at #15.
15. Paul Stawarz
Jersey Number: 76
Hometown: Channahon, Illinois
Time to highlight one of the least appreciated positions in sports: the center on the offensive line. The center position is one of the most crucial positions on the team, especially in an air raid offense. The shotgun snap needs to be perfect every time, otherwise it could be a disaster.
While he is not a Jedi, you could say he blocks with “The Force”. On a more serious note, the All-Big 12 honorable mention is a vicious lineman that can punish the opposition in run blocking and holds his own in pass protection. At 6’6” and 295 lbs he can move quickly to get to the second level when blocking for the run or screens that the Red Raiders love to utilize.
Paul brings experience to an offensive line that returns all five starters from the 2017 team. Last season was Stawarz’s first year at center and he started all 13 games for the Red Raiders in 2017. In 2016 Stawarz started the last 8 games at right guard while appearing at left guard in the other 4. Having continuity at offensive line is a key to success in college football and the Red Raiders have that with Stawarz. Without the guys up front, quarterbacks, receivers, and running backs can’t perform at a high level.
During last year’s matchup against the Houston Cougars, Stawarz held his own against arguably the best defensive lineman in the country, Ed Oliver. Even Stawarz himself thought he handled the projected first rounder in next year’s NFL Draft well.
Go watch the film again— Paul Stawarz (@PaulStawarz78) September 23, 2017
Stawarz has the size to be an NFL draft pick and it’s possible he could be a second or third day selection if his steady play continues this year. NFL scouts will look to see how he holds up in the run game as Texas Tech lineman get a bad reputation with scouts, due to the lack of a rushing attack from the air raid offense. He will likely get plenty of chances to show off his run blocking this year due to Texas Tech’s lack of an experienced quarterback.