Do the best offensive line prospects come from the North?
Rivals.com recruiting analyst Mike Farrell has been evaluating high school prospects since 1999. As we can attest, doing anything online in the college football world for 14 years is a long, long time.
But his view on where the best offensive linemen come from stopped us in our tracks, at least momentarily. According to Farrell, the best offensive linemen are produced north of the Mason-Dixon line.
“The only theory I have on that is obviously there’s a bit of Midwestern, Northeastern mentality of toughness that exists,” Farrell told the Charleston (S.C.) Post and Courier. “And it’s legitimate. They consider themselves snot knockers. I live up here (in Connecticut). They play in the snow. They play in the rain. The mentality is you need to have the mentality of a defensive lineman. Down South, it’s more about athleticism at the offensive line position. It’s more about technique. I just think the toughness has been lacking in those two states (South Carolina and North Carolina) when it comes to offensive linemen. It’s not a hard-and-fast rule. It’s something I kind of noticed.”
Part of Farrell's evidence stems from Boston College's early days in the ACC, and how the Eagles' physicality on the offensive line surprised Bobby Bowden at Florida State and Tommy Bowden at Clemson.
“I think there’s more of a mentality up here and in the Midwest that doesn’t exist in the South. That mentality (of toughness) exists in Texas. I don’t think it exists out West. I think those guys are more athletic and technique than they are snot knockers," Farrell reasoned. “Because there’s not as much speed up here (in the North), you have to hold your blocks longer. You can’t just get in front of the kid, and your running back is past him. You have to be more physical and engage up here because there isn’t as much speed at the skill positions."
At the very least, at least Farrell's praise for Northern offensive linemen comes through backhanded praise to the speedy athletes in the South and West.
Farrell's opinion may (or may not) turn some heads, and he certainly provides solid reasoning to back up his opinion. Coaches, what do you think?