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Big Men, Back For More: Previewing the TCU Offensive Line

Lucas Niang and Anthony McKinney lead a group of returning starters on the line for the Frogs.

NCAA Football: Iowa State at Texas Christian
If the TCU running game is to succeed, it’ll be due to Lucas Niang (77) and the big guys up front.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time in what seems like forever, TCU should have relative stability on its front line.

The Horned Frogs will return an experienced group with plenty of size and no small amount of talent, either. With questions at the quarterback position, the line will be trusted to give whoever starts under center plenty of time to throw. The running game might be TCU’s bread and butter this season with Darius Anderson and (hopefully) Sewo Olonilua returning, and the line will play a key role in that as well.

Here’s what the depth chart for the offensive line looked like as of June 1:

2019 TCU Offensive Line Depth Chart

Anthony McKinney Cordel Iwuagwu Coy McMillon Austin Myers Lucas Niang
Quazzel White John Lanz Kellton Harris Wes Harris David Bolisomi
Esteban Avila

There aren’t many surprises there, with the exception of the starting center spot. We’ll get to that in a minute, but let’s work left to right across the line.

Senior Anthony McKinney (6-8, 314 pounds) started nine games, including the last seven, at left tackle for the Frogs last season. He’s a massive man that was a 4-star recruit out of Iowa Western Community College in 2018 before TCU snatched him up. McKinney has had a year in the system to get accustomed to FBS football, and should be ready for a solid senior season.

Quazzel White (6-3, 317 pounds) played in six games in his redshirt freshman season last year. He’s an unknown quantity at this point, but he was ranked as the No. 16 player in all of Washington in 2017, so there’s potential there. Hopefully McKinney can stay healthy and start every game this year, and White can work in to continue building experience if he’s to take over the starting job in 2020.

At left guard, redshirt senior Cordel Iwuagwu (6-3, 311 pounds) returns after missing eight games with an injury in 2019. He was the day one starter before going down with an injury, and started the Cheez-It Bowl as well. He also started all 14 games in 2017, so it’s clear that the coaching staff likes what they see from the Houston product. Health is always a concern for a guy that missed significant time in the previous year, but past that, Iwuagwu is a proven starter.

John Lanz (6-3, 295 pounds) redshirted his freshman season in 2018 due to injury. He was the No. 3 center in Texas coming out of Denton Guyer High School before switching to guard in college.

The center position might be the biggest battle on the line. Junior Kelton Hollins (6-2, 292 pounds) started all 11 games he played in 2018 and was named a captain in each, but it’s redshirt sophomore Coy McMillon (6-4, 280 pounds) that’s listed as the starter on the depth chart. McMillon did play in all 13 games last season, but the staff must’ve seen significant improvement from the Abilene native in spring camp. In high school, McMillon was a pass-catching tight end. Now he’s projected to start at center for TCU. That’s a heck of a transition!

Redshirt freshman Esteban Avila (6-4, 308 pounds) was the No. 9 guard in Texas coming out of high school in 2018. He’ll take up the third spot on the depth chart at center for the Frogs.

Austin Myers (6-5, 303 pounds), a redshirt junior, has been a jack-of-all-trades for TCU. Last year he started games at left tackle, right guard and left tackle. He’s slotted into the right guard position in the most recent depth chart from the Frogs. He played tackle in high school, so guard isn’t his natural position, but he was also the No. 31 overall player in Texas in his class, so he should have skills that will translate to anywhere on the line. (Strangely enough, he’s still listed at offensive tackle on the roster.)

Wes Harris (6-4, 295 pounds) was a center at football powerhouse Aledo High, but has since transitioned to guard, and started five games at right guard last year for TCU. He’s a very capable backup that has the pedigree to compete for a starting job in fall camp.

Lucas Niang (6-7, 328 pounds) is the blue-ribbon man on the line. The senior a pre-season All-Big 12 selection and was the only Horned Frog to start all 13 games on the line last season. Niang will be the anchor of the big men up front.

David Bolisomi (6-6, 322 pounds) will back up Niang at right tackle. He played in every game last season, so here’s hoping he’ll have enough experience to fill Niang’s shoes next season.

Those are the men that will protect [INSERT STARTING NAME HERE] and the TCU running game this season. It should be a better unit than last year’s, and Niang in particular should be an absolute menace.

Put your faith in the big men. They’re all we’ve got.