Arguably the position group in need of the most improvement heading into the 2023 season, the offensive line will hope to not repeat a dismal 2022 performance. Between injuries and youth, this unit struggled mightily. The offensive line should theoretically be better in 2023 if they can stay healthy and it will be interesting to see how new offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino’s presence impacts the unit. Let’s preview the big fellas up front.
Who did we lose?
Texas A&M returns every single projected starter from the 2022 season so the losses at this position group are minimal. Matthew Wykoff did see a lot of time as the starter at center due to Bryce Foster’s injuries. Wykoff transferred to Cal during the offseason, representing a loss in depth at the center position.
Who do we bring back?
Bryce Foster: The obvious key to the offensive line improving in 2023 is Bryce Foster staying healthy. After battling an illness in camp, the starting center missed the first two games of 2022. He would return to action only to suffer a season-ending injury. If he’s 100% in 2023, expect the offensive line to feed on his performance.
Layden Robinson: The projected NFL draft pick elected to come back to Texas A&M after the 2022 season. His return instills confidence in the interior of the offensive line. I’d expect Robinson to have a solid 2023 campaign.
Kam Dewberry: It isn’t often that true freshmen find themselves getting playtime in the SEC. Due to the injury bug and his own impressive talent, Dewberry found his way into the rotation at left guard in 2022. Now, Dewberry looks to be the starter at the position in 2023 and should improve from his 2023 performance.
Trey Zuhn: After starting last year at left tackle, Zuhn is back in 2023. He’ll need to be much better this season in order to keep the starting quarterback upright. If Zuhn struggles again, the offense could be in for a rough go.
Reuben Fatheree: After getting significant playing time as a true freshman in 2021, many expected Fatheree to take a big step up in 2022, myself included. Those improvements never materialized over the course of the season. Perhaps it was the adjustment to a new position coach, but the Aggies will be hoping to see that expected improvement in 2023.
What other names should we know?
With Reuben Fatheree suffering an injury late in spring practice, Chase Bisontis stepped in and has cemented himself as the backup at the right tackle position. In fact, with Fatheree being eased back into practice - I wouldn’t be surprised to see Bisontis get a large share of snaps early on in the season. Mark Nabou, like Kam Dewberry, saw a lot of playing time last year as a true freshman. Nabou has seen work at both guard positions as well as center and will likely be first up if anyone goes down on the interior. Further depth is provided by veterans Dametrious Crownover, Jordan Moko, Aki Ogunbiyi, Hunter Erb and Remington Strickland, as well as freshmen Colton Thomasson and T.J. Shanahan.
Overall Grade: C
There were two massive factors that went into the offensive line struggles last year. A new position coach and a lack of continuity from week to week due to injuries. If healthy, the unit will undoubtedly improve in 2022 as pretty much the only direction for this group to go is up. However, I’m holding off raising my expectations until I see the improvement. The potential is still there but I’m not near as high on this group as I am on the defensive line. Hopefully, the unit improves on my initial grade of C and allows the offense as a whole to see a big boost in 2023.