2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings: Jacob Bayer, Daniel King Pave the Way

    With plenty of starting IOL returning, the 2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings are full of players experienced in the conference and ready to impress.

    Attrition on the interior offensive line hit a few Sun Belt teams hard — like Appalachian State losing all three starters, including its All-Sun Belt First Team selections as center Isaiah Helms and right guard Bucky Williams prepare for the NFL Draft.

    Despite this, the IOL hierarchy in the Sun Belt is firmly in the control of returning starters who have dominated the line of scrimmage for several years in the conference. Let’s look at where the remaining big men on the inside stack up against each other in the 2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings.

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    2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings

    10) Tanner Morris, C, James Madison Dukes

    Now a sixth-year senior, Tanner Morris has manned the middle of the Dukes’ offense as a full-time starter since JMU jumped to the FBS ranks two seasons ago. With 26 career starts to his name, he hasn’t missed a start since 2021 and was an instrumental piece of JMU’s high-scoring offense that propelled the Dukes to an 11-2 finish.

    After loads of attrition through the portal and the draft, the 6’3″, 310-pound senior is one of the few returning key contributors for JMU.

    9) Tellek Lockette, G, Texas State Bobcats

    A familiar face in a new place, Tellek Lockette transferred to the Bobcats after two years starting for ULM. With five starts as a true freshman in 2022, he became a full-time starter for the Warhawks last season, earning a 2023 CFN All-Sun Belt Second Team nod for his efforts.

    Listed at 6’3″, 335 pounds, Lockette has proven he can be successful in the Sun Belt, but he’ll have some big shoes to fill with Texas State guard Brey Walker (6’7″, 350 pounds) preparing for the NFL Draft.

    8) Logan Osborn, C, Marshall Thundering Herd

    Marshall has had the luxury of running back Rasheen Ali toting the rock for 2,831 yards the last few years, and that’s thanks in large part to ferocious offensive linemen like Logan Osborn. Initially a guard with six starts in 2021, he started every game at center in 2022 and hasn’t looked back, earning a 2023 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention after last season.

    The 6’3″, 305-pound, sixth-year senior won’t have Ali to block for, but he’ll be back to make some room for Marshall’s runners in 2024.

    7) Dorion Strawn, G, Texas State Bobcats

    One of five offensive linemen who followed head coach G.J. Kinne from Incarnate Word in 2022, Dorion Strawn initially played tackle for Kinne before switching to guard at Texas State. Despite missing two games with an injury, he made 10 starts for the Bobcats, allowing just one sack in 758 snaps.

    With injuries to left tackle Nash Jones and others, Strawn was called upon to show off that versatility, manning multiple positions on the line.

    With center Caleb Johnson and guard Brey Walker off to the NFL, the 6’6″, 300-pound junior is the lone returning IOL starter of the top offense in the conference last year, and he may even be called upon to snap the ball at center.

    6) Cole Potts, G, James Madison Dukes

    With 43 starts for the Dukes already under his belt, Cole Potts is returning for a fifth year in Hattiesburg. He’s started all 24 games at the FBS level for JMU the last two seasons, earning 2023 CFN All-Sun Belt First Team honors.

    MORE: 2024 Sun Belt CB Rankings

    At 6’3″ and 310 pounds, Potts was part of a unit that paved the way for the second-highest scoring offense in the conference in 2023.

    5) Elijah Fisher, G, ULM Warhawks

    Elijah Fisher didn’t play much during his first two years with the Warhawks, appearing in six games with one start before taking over at left guard with 21 starts in the last two seasons. He started all 12 games and committed zero penalties last season, earning a 2023 All-Sun Belt Honorable Mention.

    Despite a coaching change followed by several departures from his fellow Warhawks, the 6’3″, 303-pound junior returns as a top-five player in our 2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings.

    4) Mehki Butler, G, Arkansas State Red Wolves

    After starting his career in Junior College at Iowa Western (2019-2020) and a redshirt his first year in Jonesboro (2021), Mehki Butler has been a two-year starter at left guard for the Red Wolves. Butler has been overlooked on Sun Belt accolade lists before, but there’s no doubt he’s one of the best in the conference.

    He started every game last year with just three sacks and 16 pressures allowed in 841 snaps. The 6’3″, 330-pounder from Omaha, Nebraska, is back for a sixth year as one of the leaders of a strong OL unit for Arkansas State.

    3) A.J. Gillie, G, Louisiana Ragin’ Cajuns

    Entering his sixth season — all with the Ragin Cajuns — A.J. Gillie has been a force in the Sun Belt for some time. He has 38 starts to his name and hasn’t missed a game in two seasons, starting all but two games in 2021. He had 38 recorded knockdowns last year, earning a 2023 All-Sun Belt Third Team nod.

    Listed at 6’2″, 328 pounds, Gillie is back to lead one of the stronger OL units in the conference.

    2) Daniel King, G, Troy Trojans

    Kimani Vidal’s primary road grader for the last two seasons, Daniel King hasn’t missed a start at right guard since he arrived at Troy two years ago, making 27 starts in a row. An All-Sun Belt Second Team selection last season, he has graded out as Troy’s top pass blocker the last two years, allowing just four sacks with the Trojans.

    At 6’5″, 305 pounds, the overachieving underclassman is now the conference’s top guard heading into his senior season.

    1) Jacob Bayer, C, Arkansas State Red Wolves

    Regarded as the top center in all of the Group of Five and one of the top in the nation, Jacob Bayer transferred to Arkansas State before last season after starting 22 games at center for Lamar (2021-2022).

    Bayer earned 2023 All-Sun Belt First Team at center his first year in the conference, starting every game last season and allowing just eight pressures and one sack in 757 snaps.

    Arkansas State head coach Butch Jones has the rare luxury of returning the majority of a strong offensive line unit, and that starts in the middle with the 6’3″, 315-pound senior at center, who sits at the top of our 2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings.

    2024 Sun Belt IOL Rankings | 11-22

    11) Caleb Burton, C, Louisiana
    12) Bryce Ramsey, C, Southern Miss
    13) Chandler Strong, C, Georgia Southern
    14) Jax Harrington, G, Louisiana
    15) Pichon Wimbley, G, Georgia Southern
    16) Zac Elam, C, Coastal Carolina
    17) Jalen Slappy, G, Coastal Carolina
    18) Carter Miller, G, ULM
    19) Trevor Timmons, G, Georgia State
    20) Stephen Dubose-Bourne, G, ODU
    21) Marcus Alexander, G, Texas State
    22) Eli Russ, C, Troy

    KEEP READING: 2024 Sun Belt Power Rankings

    Miss any action from the top college QB Rankings during the 2023 football season? Want to track all the movement with the college football transfer portal? College Football Network has you covered with that and more!

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