If you have known me long enough, you know I have a soft spot for the big fellas in the trenches.
Having been a collegiate offensive lineman, you will never see me undervalue the importance of any position along the line. Even though the position is not the most appealing or sexiest on paper, it’s the engine that makes every offense go, and you will realize quickly when you don’t have a good group blocking upfront.
When it comes to high school football teams, you are often lucky to have one stud offensive lineman protecting your quarterback. Offensive line coaches often have to mix and match and work with what they got to make sure their offense can click. If you get more than one good offensive lineman, you should consider yourself extremely fortunate and enjoy while you can.
So imagine being in the position that Desoto high school has found themselves in this year. They have not one, not two, but THREE very good offensive lineman leading the way for their offense.
We aren’t just talking about good by high school standards, each of these linemen are committed to FBS programs that reside in Power 5 conferences.
Edward Ingram (committed to LSU), Xavier Newman (committed to Texas), and Hyrin White (committed to Missouri) are all going to play big time college football. The offensive coordinator at Desoto has to feel like he hit the Mega Millions having these three guys blocking for him, because the chances that he is able to have this kind of talent assembled again on one offensive line is slim to none.
In Ingram, you have the prototypical offensive guard who at 6’4, 325 pounds is a big mauling road grader type. With White, you have what I call the offensive tackle starter kit, as he is listed at 6’7, 292 pounds and possesses some upside that can be attained with some collegiate coaching. And with Newman, you have the versatile chess piece who has played every single spot on the offensive line (and did a pretty good job at each spot) even though he is destined to play center or guard at the next level.
If I’m an opposing defensive coordinator responsible with trying to scheme against the Desoto offense, I am not even sure where I would begin when it comes to attacking them upfront. Typically you try to find that weak link in the offensive line and try to expose it, but in this case it becomes a bit more complicated when you three very talented players on one line.
What makes things even more complicated for opposing defenses is that the offensive line isn’t the only position group that is spoiled with talent at Desoto. They also have a solid running back in 2018 prospect Kelan Walker, who holds offers from Colorado, Iowa State, New Mexico, SMU, and ULM, they have KD Nixon (formerly committed to Tennessee) and Laviska Shenault (committed to Colorado) at wide receiver, and oh by the way they also have some guy named Shawn Robinson at quarterback who happens to be pretty good as well.
That’s an embarrassment of riches on one side of the ball for Desoto and it’s one of the reasons way they are picked to make a deep playoff run if not win the state title this year. As great as that offense looks on paper, it can’t be understated how important that offensive line is likely to become as the season wears on and the competition gets stiffer come playoff time. As I said before, without the engine running smoothly this high end luxury car of an offense would not be able to get out of neutral despite having so many bells and whistles.
I can tell you one thing, if the Eagles end up hoisted the state championship trophy later on this year, I bet you will be able to point directly at the success the offensive line is able to have this year. Yes, having a five star talent like Shawn Robinson definitely helps their chances, but he can’t do it by himself out there and every quarterback ever will tell you he is only as good as his offensive line is.