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A look at the offensive line

Unit returns 4 of 5 starters

July 29, 2010 · Athletic Communications

Headlines
Key Losses: C Mark Thompson

Key Returnees: RT Mark Fisher, LT Mike Williams, LG Brandon McLeroy, C Alex Stuart

Battle to Watch: Group looks to have a solid two-deep roster for the first time under Rick Stockstill. One of the biggest battles in the fall will be for the center spot between Alex Stuart and veteran Chris Hawkins. Also keep a keen eye on Colin Boss, who could slip in and take one of the guard spots. Boss is a talented player and will see plenty of snaps regardless.

Spring Standout: Junior Mike Williams was the only starter at every spring practice. He showed improvement and gained a lot of knowledge because of the added reps. Due to injuries and class schedules, the unit never had the same five starters at two consecutive practices in the spring.

Coach Jimmy Ray Stephens on the offensive line

"This is a very experienced group, which we have not been able to say at Middle Tennessee since we arrived. Four starters are returning who have been through a lot of battles. With the addition of Preston Bailey and a few other moves, this should be our best starting five. The biggest question will be depth, which is usually the case at this level. If we can stay healthy, then I believe we will have a very solid two-deep.

Left Tackle
MIKE WILLIAMS
(r-Junior) - Extremely athletic for an offensive lineman ... Small for an OT but makes up for it with athleticism and playing with aggression ... Has great feet and runs well in space ... Needs to improve his run blocking.

JESSE GRISHAM (r-Freshman) - Took a redshirt year in 2009 ... Played center briefly in spring but moved back to tackle, which is where he played in high school ... Is very athletic and possesses good footwork ... A competitor who has a very bright future at Middle Tennessee.

Left Guard
BRANDON MCLEROY
(Junior) - Was the most improved lineman during spring drills ... Brings physicality and leadership to the offensive line ... A two-year starter who gained valuable experience last season.

COLIN BOSS (r-Junior) - Has played every position along the offensive line during his career ... A smart player who is invaluable because of his versatility ... Could win a starting job but will be the first substitute at virtually every spot.

Center
ALEX STUART (Junior) - A very talented and physical offensive lineman ... Spent his entire career at guard before moving to center the last week of spring drills ... Is a natural at the position ... Has very good feet and a lot of pop.

CHRIS HAWKINS (r-Senior) - A veteran who adds solid depth and leadership ... Missed a lot of spring practice because of class conflicts ... A smart player who can back up at many positions.

Right Guard
PRESTON BAILEY
(r-Sophomore) - A transfer from Tennessee who paid his own way as a walk-on in 2009 ... Lost nearly 20 pounds since he got on campus and needs to lose a few more before August camp ... Has very good feet for his size and works extremely hard ... His progress allowed the coaches to move Alex Stuart to center.

EVON LETTSOME (r-Senior) - A veteran player who has been around the program for four years ... Will provide depth at either guard spot ... Needs to improve foot speed.

JOSH WALKER (r-Freshman) - Moved from tackle to guard in the spring where he is a more natural fit because of his size ... Will be a good player but needs experience ... Needs to improve foot speed.

Right Tackle
MARK FISHER
(Senior) - In terms of total package, he is the best all-around lineman on the team ... An intelligent player who should provide great leadership ... An all-league-type performer.

JADAREIUS HAMLIN (r-Freshman) - Made move from DL to OL in the spring ... Reinjured his knee and did not get many reps, but coaches feel he will provide very good depth because of his athleticism.

Returners
50 Colin Boss r-Jr. OG
74 Mark Fisher Sr. OT
58 Jesse Grisham r-Fr. OT
61 Jadareius Hamlin r-Fr. OT
75 Chris Hawkins r-Sr. C
76 Jordan Johnson r-Fr. OT
62 Evon Lettsome r-Sr. OG
60 Brandon McLeroy Jr. OG
65 Alex Stuart Jr. C
77 Josh Walker r-Fr. OG
78 Mike Williams r-Jr. OT

Newcomers
73 Isaiah Anderson Fr. OT
79 Preston Bailey r-So. OG
53 Jeremiah Black Jr. C
57 Judd Hunt Fr. OT

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