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May 27, 2013

Ranking the Big Ten: Offensive line

As Nebraska moves into its third season in the Big Ten Conference, HuskerOnline.com will get you ready with ranking analysis pieces breaking down each position in the league. Today, we look at the offensive line position in the Big Ten heading into 2013.

1. Taylor Lewan, Michigan, 6-8, 308, Sr.
A consensus All-American selection last season, Michigan senior tackle Taylor Lewan returns in 2013 as not only the best offensive lineman in the Big Ten, but arguably in all of college football. He's started 28 consecutive games and has 35 total starts in his career, and he will continue to hold down the left side of the Wolverine's o-line this season.
2. Spencer Long, Nebraska, 6-4, 315, Sr.
It's hard to find a better example of a walk-on success story than Nebraska senior guard Spencer Long. After walking on to the Huskers back in 2009, Long has now established himself as one of the Big Ten's best interior offensive linemen. He broke onto the scene and won the starting job at right guard in 2012, and was so good that he was a consensus first-team all-conference selection and also earned second-team All-America honors.
3. Andrew Norwell, Ohio State, 6-6, 319, Jr.
It only took one season on campus for Andrew Norwell to establish himself as fixture on Ohio State's offensive line at left guard. Norwell, now a junior, has played in 24 games in his first two seasons as a Buckeye, including starting all 13 games last year. His versatility makes him a valuable piece for OSU up front, as he actually started five games at tackle in 2012 before moving inside to guard.
4. Ryan Groy, Wisconsin, 6-5, 317, Sr.
There might not be a more versatile offensive lineman in the Big Ten than Wisconsin senior Ryan Groy, who started at every position on the o-line last season except for right tackle. He ended up spending most of his time at left guard, but there's a chance he could move out to take over as the Badgers' new starting left tackle depending on how things shake out in the fall.
5. John Urschel, Penn State, 6-3, 300, Sr.
Penn State had surprising success last season under first-year head coach Bill O'Brien, and much of it came from a power running game that was led by a tough and physical offensive line. Senior right guard John Urschel is the perfect example of that bruising style, as the 4.0 student has emerged as Penn State's top overall lineman and also one of the most respected leaders in the locker room.

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