We continue to count down the 15 most important players for this upcoming season. By most important, we believe these players are the most vital to the team reaching its goal of a Big 12 title and College Football Playoff berth.
Today we look at No. 12, the likely starter at left guard.
#12 Marcus Keyes
The redshirt sophomore lineman from Port Allen, Louisiana was the only freshman to start on the offensive line last year, holding down the left guard position all season.
If you don’t remember, last season OSU finally found a rushing attack after it disappeared for a few years. It was in part due to the discovery of Justice Hill, but a good deal of credit also goes to a much improved offensive line. A big part of that improvement was Keyes.
Looks at the rushing difference between 2015 and 2016.
2015: 3.6 yds per carry | 126.8 yds per game
2016: 4.5 yds per carry | 171.0 yds per game.
Yes some credit goes to a line that showed improvement overall, but again, a good deal of credit needs to go to Keyes, who was a first year starter.
He’s one of OSU’s most promising players, and considering what could be happening at left tackle, he’s going to be a crucial one. As of now, the projected starter at left tackle according to Robert Allen, is redshirt freshman Dylan Galloway.
Right now, the first team offensive line is pretty solid and from left to right has red-shirt freshman Dylan Galloway, who could be the next Marcus Keyes; than at left guard Marcus Keyes; senior and three-year starter at center Brad Lundblade; right guard Larry Williams, and three-year starter at right tackle Zach Crabtree.
We all know how important the position of left tackle is. The left side of the line is responsible for covering Mason Rudolph's blind side. Rudolph relies on them to keep him from getting crushed and not seeing it coming.
If Galloway isn’t up to par, Keyes holding his own is going to be that much more important. Even if OSU lands Cal transfer Aaron Cochran to cover the left tackle position, Keyes will still be a crucial player on the line.
We will be releasing the rest of our countdown each day leading up to the Spring Game April 15th. Check back every day to see who makes the list!