Bryan Hudson is maybe the most lauded player on Louisville’s roster coming into this year and it’s been a while since that has been the case for the Cards. Mekhi Becton was the last offensive lineman that garnered this type of attention from the media and the ACC. With the struggles we’ve seen in the past, the staff has to feel good about inheriting some experience at the top of the depth chart, though the depth is an issue.
Hudson will man the center spot for the third straight season and he has improved with each year in the role. PFF rated Hudson as the 7th best center in the country last season though he did give up 4 sacks and 14 hurries. Hudson’s experience should help a group that needs a leading voice. The fact that he’s a center will only help that factor and should lead to a good year for the group.
The tackle spots will likely be manned by returners, Michael Gonzalez and Renato Brown. Both players played plenty of snaps last season with Gonzalez finishing third on the team in offensive line snaps even though he was a rotational backup. Brown has held onto his starting right tackle spot for three years and I expect him to continue as the starter after only giving up 4 sacks for his career.
In the spring, we saw Joshua Black and John Paul Flores man the starting guard spots. In the open practice that I was able to attend, the lineup stayed the same. Black has one start under his belt from a couple of years ago but hasn’t played many snaps outside of that one game. I’d imagine his spot at right guard will be a competition throughout camp and into the season.
Depth is a legit concern for Louisville but Jeff Brohm and his staff could not have done a better job to address the concern with the transfer portal. In total, UofL has six new members from the portal to go along with their four freshmen that signed in the 2023 class. Eric Miller and Willie Tyler will assuredly push for a starting spot at tackle while Lance Robinson seems to be the best bet to take over a guard spot.
The future for the line is also in good hands as Luke Burgess and Madden Sanker both showed promise in the spring. I would be surprised if they don’t both get snaps this season even if they redshirt. Izaiah Reed and Sam Secrest are two other young guys that got a lot of reps in the spring. Austin Collins looks to be Bryan Hudson’s backup at center and he looked the part from what I was able to see.
Gonzalez played every offensive line spot but center last year and he has been a mainstay as a rotational guy since he stepped foot on campus. This will be the year that he gets noticed by the ACC and I think he can be an all-conference guy. I think he could end up playing guard this year as the tackle depth is better than the depth inside. His worth might just be better there with a guy like Eric Miller who is a veteran in the system being available to play tackle. Either way, Gonzalez has the versatility to be on the field at all times and he has been very good over the last two years.