2016 Preseason All-American Projections: Guards

By Charlie Campbell
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Heading into the 2016 college football season WalterFootball.com will debut our projections for the nation’s leaders during the fall. The All-American teams always have some surprises and the stars of next fall could be the headlining players next April in the 2017 NFL Draft.

First-Team Guards:

Dan Feeney, Indiana

The 6-foot-4, 310-pound Feeney is a well-balanced blocker. He has strength to contribute as a power run blocker and has been effective in pass protection. The past few seasons, Feeney has been a tremendous hole opener for running backs Jordan Howard and Tevin Coleman. Feeney has allowed only one sack in 2,719 snaps – 37 career games – per Indiana. He should easily be one of the best guards in college football in 2016.

Pat Elflein, Ohio State

The Buckeyes had a tremendous running game in 2014 and 2015. Elflein was one of the reasons for that as he was an difference-making run blocker for Ezekiel Elliott. Elflein (6-3, 300) is very strong for his size and can blast defensive lineman off the line of scrimmage. He is an absolute road-grader, and that shouldn’t change as a senior. In pass protection, Elflein is reliable and a steady presence to protect his quarterback. It would be surprising if he isn’t one of the most acclaimed guards in college football in 2016.

Second-Team Guards:

Kareem Are, Florida State

Are hasn’t gotten as much publicity as other guard prospects, but he was superb in 2015 at opening holes for Dalvin Cook. Are has a ton of talent and was very impressive before a knee injury slowed him down. The 6-foot-6, 334-pounder is a bull at the point of attack with surprising athletic ability to be a pass protector. He is raw and just needs polish and development. It wouldn’t be surprising to me if Are becomes a hot prospect after paving the way for Cook to have another big season.

Greg Pyke, Georgia

Pyke was up and down in 2015, but has potential. He is a good run blocker who needs to improve his pass protection. At one point, Pyke was benched during 2015. As a sophomore in 2014 though, he was a Second-Team All-SEC selection and a tough run blocker for Todd Gurley and Nick Chubb. Georgia averaged 257.8 yards per game that season, and Pyke was impressive at the point of attack. Overall, Pyke (6-6, 313) has upside and could earn acclaim opening holes for Chubb and Sony Michel this fall.

Third-Team Guards:

Isaac Asiata, Utah

The 6-foot-4, 315-pound Asiata was the Utes left guard last season and was an effective blocker for them. He opened holes for Devontae Booker the past two seasons. In 2014, Asiata played right and left guard while making some starts at right tackle in 2013. The senior could develop into an even better player during 2016.

Caleb Peterson, North Carolina

Peterson was an effective run blocker last year for North Carolina, and running back Elijah Hood ran for over 1,300 yards and quarterback Marquise Williams went over 800 yards on the ground. Peterson broke into the starting lineup as a redshirt freshman and has been a mainstay on the Tar Heels’ offensive line at left guard since then.

Honorable Mentions: Pittsburgh’s Dorian Johnson, Stanford’s Johnny Caspers, Oregon State’s Sean Harlow, Michigan’s Kyle Kalis, Miami’s Danny Isidora, Michigan State’s Brian Allen, Notre Dame’s Quenton Nelson, Ohio State’s Billy Price and USC’s Damien Mama.

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