Here are the spring contenders for one key open spot, offensive left tackle:
Jamaree Salyer (junior): He was the nation’s No. 10 offensive guard in the 2018 class but thus far he has played most of his significant snaps at right tackle. It’s probably inaccurate to say that he has looked natural at that spot, but he has performed pretty well considering that he lacks some of the ideal measureables. He has adequate length and is a good athlete with the appropriate competitive spirit. He’s definitely capable of being a more-than-serviceable option at right tackle but we don’t see him as a great fit on the left side.
Owen Condon (redshirt sophomore): Injuries have plagued the 6-foot-7 315 pound lineman thus far. He was coming off an ACL injury in his first season with the program but drew praise from Smart for his work in the weight room. Those Friday lifts when he didn’t make the travel roster made a difference. He was banged up quite a bit last season and we never really saw what he had to offer. He’s kind of the forgotten man at tackle right now.
Warren McClendon (redshirt freshman): The Brunswick native enrolled last January and we quickly started hearing some buzz about his natural strength. He’s long and athletic but he has a really powerful lower half that gives him the ability to slide inside if he’s needed there.
Xavier Truss (redshirt freshman): If you were to draw up the ideal offensive tackle, it would look a lot like Truss. He’s 6-foot-7 and tips the scales at around 320 pounds. He has really good feet and his senior film shows that he can use his hands well. We’ve heard quite a bit already about his athleticism and for now, we have him as the favorite to win the starting left tackle job.
I have no idea who winds up manning the spot come September. There’s both plenty of talent to choose from, as well as question marks. Plus, a new evaluator in the form of Matt Luke.
I will say that I have a feeling come September, 2021, the correct answer may be Broderick Jones, but that’s a subject for another day. In the meantime, what’s your feeling about who’s gonna be protecting Jamie Newman’s back side?