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Vanderbilt Football 2022 Position Preview: Offensive Tackle

Hey! Maybe I should finish these. Like the basketball player report cards.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 Vanderbilt at Florida Photo by David Rosenblum/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

In the past, when I’ve done the position previews, I’ve split the offensive line up just because there are so many players — such that it’s better to make it two posts instead of one. But also in the past, I’ve just split it up at random, which typically ended up being “here are the starters and probably the top two reserves” and “hey, all these guys aren’t gonna play much.”

So this year, I’m doing the more logical split of tackles and interior linemen, which does make sense, but also means I have to figure out which guys are the tackles, and remember, I barely know what I am talking about when it comes to the offensive line. One thing we do know: Tyler Steen is gone, and uh, we’ll be seeing him on September 24 when we go to Tuscaloosa. That means one starting spot is wide open, though Clark Lea probably has somebody in mind.

The (Likely) Starters

Bradley Ashmore, junior: For all the problems the offensive line had last year, at the very least, if the updated roster weights are any indication, the strength and conditioning program is doing its job. Ashmore got forced into action as a true freshman mostly because, well, who else was going to play right tackle, and he started all twelve games there last season in spite of being under 300 pounds. You don’t often see sub-300 offensive linemen in the SEC any more, and Vanderbilt won’t, either, with Ashmore now being up to 310.

Jacob Brammer, sixth-year senior: Well, finding a guy who will probably start on the offensive line seems like a good use of the transfer portal. Brammer started 35 games on the North Texas offensive line over the last four years, and he played mostly at tackle. Granted, 6’4” and 301 pounds is a bit undersized for an offensive tackle in the SEC, but he’s easily the most experienced option here and that includes Bradley Ashmore.

The Depth

Junior Uzebu, redshirt junior: Uzebu barely played last season after transferring in from West Virginia. He’s got good size at 6’6” and 310 pounds, and a Power 5 pedigree, but it’s hard to see him beating out Ashmore or Brammer for a starting role.

Gunnar Hansen, redshirt freshman: Where I’m not really sold on Uzebu — who, after all, probably would have played more than seven snaps for last year’s team if he were a likely contributor, Hansen is another product of the new and improved weight training program. He’s now listed at 6’5” and 320 pounds, and I’ll guess he backs up Ashmore and Brammer this season before seeing more action in 2023 — but he’s probably the first option if anyone gets hurt.

The Freshmen

Leyton Nelson, freshman: I always just assume true freshmen on the offensive line are going to redshirt, but Nelson — listed at 6’6” and 305 pounds — is the rare freshman who probably doesn’t need a year in the weight room. It’s unlikely that he’ll play much, though I wouldn’t be shocked if he finds his way into four games and preserves a redshirt.

David Siegel, freshman: Siegel, on the other hand, needs a year in the weight room even after taking a prep year at the Hun School. At 6’6” and 285 pounds, he doesn’t quite have the size to play on an SEC offensive line yet.