If there’s a player who shined in 2017 and exceeded even the most optimistic prediction, this is for sure Jake Anderson. Last season, the former true freshman earned the starting spot at right guard early in the spring and has been a lock since then.
At the end of the season, he was named a Freshman All-American by both ESPN and USA Today. He was the first offensive lineman to earn this recognition since Le’Raven Clark did so in 2012, so the basis for comparison is particularly demanding.
Talking about the upcoming season, the offensive line has to be one of the team strengths. Having five players who started every game in 2017 returning is a lucky situation and this opportunity that has to be taken by the Red Raiders. The Bruffy-Akamnonu-Stawarz-Anderson-Steele group has to step up once again.
And there’s another thing that has to be considered. Regardless of the starting quarterback, the offensive line will have to protect a player who will have very little experience. In addition, the running game showed some improvements in 2017 and in 2018 it’s led by two at least backs like Tre King and Da’Leon Ward. A solid O-line is the key to put them in the right conditions to work, also considering that Kliff Kingsbury seemed to rely more on this aspect.
He was outstanding in his freshman season and he has to avoid every kind of sophomore slump that could affect him. He’s already one of the best players of the team and has to be a strength also in 2018.