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The Cardinal Countdown: 61 Days Until Kickoff

Jamie Rhodes-USA TODAY Sports

#61 Tobijah Hughley

Class: RS Senior

Ht/Wt: 6-3/289

Position: Offensive Line

Hometown: Lexington, KY

Twitter: @tobijah68

Thoughts: The offensive line received a fair share of criticism back in 2014 and again in 2015 for what most considered lackluster production. The various views and headlines from fans/media/coaches alike seemed to strike a chord in the young group and after getting charged up we saw some fireworks from what seemed like a brand new line in the last few games of the 2016 season.

For those who don’t remember, Hughley has his own “started from the bottom” type story with the Cards, beginning his college career as a walk-on who is now going to be a three year starter baring an injury during the fall. Yes, the false starts are tough to swallow, but Hughley legitimately beat out everyone in practice two seasons ago for the starting role at center and has refused to let it go. Along with the rest of the line, Hughley showed flashes of what 2016 could look like against back to back SEC opponents in Kentucky and Texas A&M where the Cards rushed for over 600 yards and created a nice pocket for Lamar to get the ball out when he need too. Their improvement goes back further than just the Kentucky game though (all your trophies belong to us) as you can see the stats on the upswing back in early November as well. For example…

Sacks allowed/game: August/Sept (3.25/g) October (5.00/g) November (2.5/g) December (1.00/g)

Tackles for loss allowed/game: August/Sept (6.50/g) October (10.00/g) November (5.75/g) December (8.00/g)

As the boys up front started to take care of business in the trenches our production increased and the offense showed some more life. Yes, most of that was off the legs of Jackson, but the line played a big part in creating holes and getting a push.

The 2016 schedule isn’t going to be child’s play by any stretch of the imagination but I’m excited to see what Coach K can do with the line during the offseason. I’ve said it before when covering Christian, McNeil and Thomas, but if this young line can show vast improvement the possibilities of what the Cards can accomplish this year grow significantly. Back on Day 79 I called for a 40-50 spot improvement from the O-line in the national rankings in regards to sacks and tackles for loss. You can thank me now if you like, because this WILL  happen. I can feel it. If I’m Klenakis I’m preaching toughness, grit, and showing them those poor rankings every single day until they’re sick of looking at them. The motto becomes “Like a Phoenix Murderbird..we rise from the ashes” and in 2016 bodies start to hit the floor. Let’s go!

Sweet Tweet:

This can be true. Who comes to see you when you’re gone? Who comes to see you when you get back home? You can actually learn a lot about your friends by moving away. DJ Khalid had a song called ‘No New Friends’ about staying close to the people he’s known from Day 1. In fact…I think Drake has a verse on that song and sings the hook. You know what else Drake did? He sang 12 songs of which the titles appear in Mr. Hughley’s recap above. That’s right, it’s time once again for the “find the song titles” post I throw out each year. As always, the first to respond in the comments with all 12 song titles will receive 2,500…no, no,….5,000!! Chron Points to spend as you so please. (Mr. Rutherford must be feeling generous this year)