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Pac-12 position group rankings: Offensive line

Here’s a stab at ranking the offensive line groups in the Pac-12.

1. USC: Massive RT Zach Banner headlines the best group in the conference. The Trojans are so deep that LG Damien Mama, who was an All-Pac-12 honorable mention pick as a sophomore, is on the verge of losing his starting job to Chris Brown. Chad Wheeler, a second-team All-Pac-12 pick, has been slowed by plantar fasciitis throughout camp and there is concern it will affect him all season.

2. Utah: The Utes are replacing a lot on offense, but not on the line. They have three tackles – Garett Bolles, Sam Tevi and Jackson Barton – whom the coaching staff feels comfortable with. Isaac Asiata and Salesi Uhatafe return at the guard spots and J.J. Dielman, a second-team All-Pac-12 player at right tackle last year, will shift to center.

3. Stanford: Replacing Outland Trophy winner Josh Garnett won’t be easy, and the same goes for LT Kyle Murphy, but Stanford has one of the country’s best offensive line coaches in Mike Bloomgren and a solid track record of replacing NFL talent with more NFL talent. RG Johnny Caspers returns and Casey Tucker will switch to left tackle from right tackle, as did Murphy last year, when he replaces Andrus Peat.

4. Washington: Center Siosifa Tufunga is the only departure, but the unit is still actually fairly young. LG Jake Eldrenkamp is the only returning senior starter, with sophomore Trey Adams at left tackle and redshirt sophomore Kaleb McGary at right tackle. Coleman Shelton shifts over from right guard to center, while senior Shane Brostek appears to be the favorite at right guard.

5. UCLA: The Bruins have a potential All-American at left tackle in Conor McDermott and return Kenny Lacy at left guard, but must replace a lot of experience with the departures of C Jake Brendel, RT Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond. Scott Quessenberry has earned solid reviews at center during camp.

6. Washington State: The Cougars lose All-Pac-12 first-team selection Joe Dahl, but return All-Pac-12 honorable-mention picks in RT Cole Madison and C Riley Sorenson, plus Eduardo Middleton, who has started 25 straight games. Andre Dillard, who started at left tackle twice last year, and Cody O’Connell, who is 6-foot-8 and 354 pounds, will be at left guard. The size across the line is impressive.

7. Cal: A knee injury will likely keep LT Aaron Cochran out a little while longer, but the Bears lost just one starter from last year’s group. The big surprise here is that walk-on Addison Ooms has passed Dominic Granado on the official depth chart and looks like he’ll be the rare non-scholarship player in a Pac-12 starting lineup (until the inevitable scholarship comes).

8. Oregon: RG Cameron Hunt and LT Tyrell Crosby are solid, but the Ducks will break in three new starters around them. C Jake Hanson will fill an important role in the Ducks offense – one Matt Hegarty filled so well last year -- and has been good in camp. If this feels like a low ranking for the Ducks, that’s fair. Most of these positions – No. 4 through No. 10 for sure – could be viewed as interchangeable.

9. Arizona: No group has been through more than the Wildcats. The sudden death of OG Zach Hemmila put football into perspective, but there’s no doubt they will hope to honor him, at least to a degree, with their play this year. Jacob Alsadek is their most experienced lineman with 23 career starts, but the unit as a whole has combined for nearly 50 – more if you count LG Freddie Tagaloa’s experience at Cal before transferring.

10. Colorado: LT Stephane Nembot is gone, but four starters are back. Those four might not end up in the starting lineup remains fluid, but it appears Jeromy Irwin’s recovery from a torn ACL appears to have gone well and he’s slated to start at left tackle.

11. Arizona State: The Sun Devils rank so low because they’re largely unknown. LT Evan Goodman is the only returning starter and while Sam Jones, Quinn Bailey and Stephon McCray have all played, it has been limited. The coaching staff is high on redshirt freshmen Zach Robertson and Steve Miller, who might already be the most athletic offensive lineman on the roster.

12. Oregon State: It’s expected that LT Sean Harlow will take a redshirt year, which leaves Blake Brandel as the likely starter. Only two starters are back in LG Fred Lauina and RT Dustin Stanton and there's a massive hole to fill with OG Isaac Seumalo off to the NFL, where he is challenging for a starting job with Philadelphia.