The SEC is always full of playmakers, but those playmakers can do nothing if the defense spends the game in the offensive backfield. To that end, these returning studs on the offensive line will have big roles to fill for their team if 2018 is going to be a successful year. Sometimes it is hard to single out individuals on a line, but we will do our best here as we try to pick out the top returning starters on the offensive line in 2018:
Jonah Williams (OL) – Alabama
Jonah Williams is sure to be extra motivated in 2018 and that is a bad thing for the defensive lineman that will be facing the Crimson Tide’s dominant offensive lineman.
You are not supposed to start as a freshman for Alabama, but Williams has started every game for the Tide since he stepped on to campus in 2016. The junior is a California transplant and he just doesn’t miss game time, and that is why he will be looking to roar back in 2018 after a high ankle sprain took him out of the Crimson Tide’s national title win over Clemson early in the third quarter.
Since that setback Williams has been working harder in the gym and in the film room, a tough task considering the high standards he was already setting. The 6-foot-5, 301-pounder may well be moving to center in 2018, a move that would only improve the Alabama offense.
Greg Little (OT) – Ole Miss
Little is a player that many expect to be one of the top offensive tackles in the 2019 NFL Draft, especially if he has a big season as part of the Rebels retooled offense in 2018.
A former No. 1 overall prospect out of high school as an offensive tackle, the former five-star recruit has done little to disappoint in Oxford. Locking down the left tackle position as a sophomore last season, little was the offensive line anchor for a team that ranked 18th in the nation as an offensive group. Little has prototypical size for a dominant college tackle as he stands at 6-foot-6 and weighs every bit OG, a solid 325 pounds.
Little is at his best in pass protection as he can use his long arms to keep defensive players away from his body and use his excellent footwork to prevent the speed rush.
Hjalte Froholdt (OG) – Arkansas
He may have one of the most difficult names to pronounce in the conference, but Danish native Hjalte Froholdt (6-5, 315) has developed into an outstanding offensive guard in Fayetteville.
Froholdt is considered by many to be the best interior lineman in the entire country. The senior actually came to Arkansas as a defensive lineman, but a switch to guard in time for the 2016 season really kicked his football career to another level. He is the top graded returning guard/center in the nation according to Pro Football Focus, scoring a grade of 85.4 off of his play in 2017.
Froholdt is praised for his strength and toughness as they are the traits that make him stand out. He is a player that is not afraid to put in the work, clawing and scraping to gain an interior advantage on every play. The Arkansas running game will be a strength in 2018 behind the play of the big Dane.
Other notable offensive linemen: Donell Stanley (OG) – South Carolina, Prince Tega Wanogho (OT) – Auburn, Bruno Reagan (C) -- Vanderbilt, Martez Ivey (OG) – Florida, Ross Pierschbacher (OG) – Alabama, Trey Smith (OT) – Tennessee, Andrew Thomas (OT) – Georgia.