1-Mike Brewster, C, Ohio State
Analysis: Brewster has great size and a lot of starting experience for Ohio State. He started 10 games as a freshman and has started every game since as far as I’m aware. He will enter his senior season with about 35 games of starting experience which is pretty incredible for a program like Ohio State, especially at Center. That is typically a tough position to step into, especially because of all the responsibility you have for line calls, etc. I can’t imagine that was made any easier for him since I doubt Terrelle Pryor was ever much help in blitz pick-up. This is a talented class of Centers, but I think Brewster is the best of the bunch at this point.
2- David Molk, C, Michigan
Analysis: Molk is another good center and one of the few NFL caliber prospects on Michigan at this point. He is also a three year starter and has 29 games of starting experience for Michigan, which is quite impressive. He and Brewster are both on the Rimington watch list, and it would not surprise me in the least if one of them ended up winning the award. They are two of the best Centers not only in the Big-10 but in the entire country.
3- Ben Jones, C, Georgia
Analysis: Having Ben Jones at #3 surprised me because I was impressed by him when I watched a lot of Georgia games last year to take a look at A.J. Green, but obviously I noticed a lot of the other talent they have. Jones is another Center who has a lot of starting experience at the position, as he started 10 games as a freshman, all 13 as a sophomore and 12 as a junior. It is going to be a very interesting battle between these top four senior pivots to see who goes first. Imagine if they were all at the Senior Bowl! What a show that would be (yes, I just said that about Centers).
4- William Vlachos, C, Alabama
Analysis: Vlachos has 27 games of starting experience, making this class one of the deepest and most talented Center classes that I have ever seen. There isn’t a dominant junior at this point like there are at times (though Peter Konz could make a run at that title) but having four quality senior center prospects like this is incredibly rare. As Mihai Mitrache over at OGDraft.com told me today: “This is probably the first time anyone has ever said ‘Dang, this is a good Center class.’” I tend to agree, and all of the top four centers I have listed here have 27 games of starting experience or more, and the top three are three year starters. That is pretty incredible, and I am looking forward to watching all of them this year.
5- Peter Konz, C, Wisconsin
Analysis: Konz is only a junior but he is a talented center and enters this season with 20 games of starting experience the past two years, and should help keep the Wisconsin offensive line formidable along with returning offensive guard Kevin Zeitler inside. Surprisingly I found out that before the Hawaii game his freshman year (2009) he was brought to the hospital where they found two blood clots in his lungs. Apparently it was nothing serious since they caught it early, but that is the kind of thing that might freak teams out when they go through what I can only imagine is an incredibly thorough medical check. Hopefully that was a fluke and he won’t have any more problems with clots.
6- Moe Petrus, C, Connecticut
Analysis: Petrus is a converted Center (he converted from guard after his freshman season when he started all 13 games at guard, then started all 13 at Center as a sophomore) and while I can’t speak to how good he is he is another guy in this class who has a boatload of starting experience. I don’t know how many games he started as a junior, but he had 26 games of starting experience in his first two seasons which is pretty remarkable. The more I look into this Center class the deeper it seems to be.
7- Philip Blake, C, Baylor
Analysis: Blake started his career out in Junior College and then joined Baylor as a sophomore. There he started 12 games at Right Tackle, then shifted inside to Center last year where he started 13 games. He is obviously new to the position, so it will be interesting to see just how effective he is inside at this point. He is a big guy as he is listed at 6’2″, 315 pounds, which is pretty huge for a Center. I am interested to see how well he moves around, and how well he handles defensive tackles one on one at the point of attack. At his size, he has a solid shot to neutralize DT’s one on one which would make him very intriguing to NFL teams.
8- Ben Habern, C, Oklahoma
Analysis: Habern is a junior, but he is a talented one. He has started the last 24 games at center (10 as a redshirt freshman after a medical redshirt as a freshman, and 14 as a sophomore) and should be the starter again this season. He isn’t a huge guy at 6’2″, 290 pounds but I expect that he is pretty mobile, so it will be interesting to see just how well he moves when I watch him this year. He is probably the #2 junior at this point, and while I doubt he would declare I still think he is one of the best centers in the country.
9- Grant Garner, C, Oklahoma State
Analysis: Garner has only one season of starting experience, but he started every game last year as a junior from what I understand and was spoken of as the leader of the offensive line. They were great in pass protection and were a big reason why Weeden was only sacked 10 times in 13 games, which is an incredible statistic. It will be interesting to see how he plays this season and if Oklahoma State can recreate their explosive offense againt his year even without Kendall Hunter.
10- Scott Wedige, C, Northern Illinois
Analysis: I believe Wedige is a second year starter after starting all year for Northern Illinois last year. I haven’t watched him play much at all, so I am looking forward to getting a feel for his game this year. I just don’t know much about him at this point. I have a couple of Northern Illinois games I can watch before the season starts, so if I have time I will check those out to get a better feel for his ability.