- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
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Little fanfare comes with being a guard or center, but interior linemen are important to an offense's success.
When evaluating interior linemen, there is usually a bit of projecting because, oftentimes, the best linemen at the high school level play the tackle position. However, you will find some good true guard and center prospects in every class.
A solid nine guard prospects are in the initial ESPNU 150 along with one center prospect. There are also players we project to these positions at the next level. Overall, it is not a strong year for interior line prospects, but the class does provide some good talent at the top as well as some players that show good upside.
Cyrus Hobbi (Scottsdale, Ariz./Saguaro)
Ht.: 6-4 | Wt.: 285 pounds | Stars: 4 | OG rank: 1 | ESPNU 150 rank: 33
Hobbi is a good offensive lineman who could play tackle. He has good size, athleticism and toughness, and he is also a good technician who is capable of contributing quickly in college.
Angelo Mangiro (Succasunna, N.J./Roxbury)
Ht.: 6-3 | Wt.: 290 pounds | Stars: 4 | OG rank: 2 | ESPNU 150 rank: 50
Mangiro is a big boy who can drive defenders off the ball. He is pretty athletic for his size, has good agility and can quickly get out of his stance. Mangiro can also pull, get out in front and lead the way.
Reese Dismukes (Spanish Fort, Ala./Spanish Fort)
Ht.: 6-3 | Wt.: 275 pounds | Stars: 4 | C rank: 1 | ESPNU 150 rank: 52
The only center in the initial ESPNU 150, Dismukes is a fine talent at the position. He is athletic and aggressive as well as a good technician. The Auburn commit is one of the best center prospects we have seen over the last few classes.
Interior linemen to watch
• There may not be a lot of flash to Mitch Smothers (Springdale, Ark./Springdale), but this is a well-rounded and versatile player. He is a flexible athlete who can be a productive, consistent and even a dominant run- or pass-blocker. While we think he will fit best at guard, he could potentially play any spot on the line for Arkansas.
• Gregory Robinson (Thibodaux, La./Thibodaux) is still a bit raw, but he is violent and competitive. He is a big, impressive looking kid who carries his weight well and has a nice reach. He could project to tackle, but we think his skills will fit better at guard. Robinson is able to jolt rushers and knock them off stride with his punch as a pass blocker, but he needs to improve his technique and work to be more consistent. He has good tools and could potentially crack the ESPNU 150.
• When you think of the state of Nebraska, you can't help but think linemen. Ryne Reeves (Crete, Neb./Crete) is the next one to come from the Cornhusker State. The tough and aggressive road-grading run blocker could fit well at guard for the Cornhuskers, but don't count out center either.
Spencer Region (Cullman, Ala./Cullman) and Chris Carter Jr. (Cleveland/John F. Kennedy) are two 320-plus pound guards who can move surprisingly well for their size. ... Michael Bennett (Centerville, Ohio/Centerville) could play on the defensive line in college, but we like his upside on offense as a guard. He will need to develop as a pass blocker, but he is a physical run blocker who can quickly get into defenders and drive them off the line of scrimmage. ... Miami commit Marcus Jackson (Vero Beach, Fla./Vero Beach) is a tenacious blocker who looks to punish defenders. ... Kiaro Holts (Indianapolis/Warren Central) is an athletic big man. When he gets his hands on defenders, they are usually done for. He could project to offensive tackle, but we think his abilities will allow him to fit best as a guard in college. ... Brian Bobek (Palatine, Ill./William Fremd) is not the biggest lineman, but this center prospect combines good ability and technique to be a productive player.
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.