There are offensive line prospects, and then there are the special guys who make other large players look like they’re in Pop Warner.
Offensive tackle Lucas Ballinger, a junior at Manchester High School in Ohio, is one of those imposing figures who resembles more of a Mack truck - demolishing anything in his (and his running back's) path. Standing at a towering 6’7” and clocking in at 285 pounds, Ballinger has routinely been having his way with opposing defensive linemen in the first three weeks of his season.
GMTM’s Joey Grant and former USC quarterback Max Browne took a deeper dive into the attributes that Ballinger brings to the game, aside from his ideal stature.
Browne was impressed by Ballinger’s ability to set the edge against defensive ends in the run game, but was curious about another aspect of the young tackle’s game.
“These defensive linemen have no shot against you,” Browne proclaimed. “I want to see when you when you’re not in an ideal scenario, when it’s not just a one on one matchup. How do you handle that, how do you react to that?”
Ballinger was also seen moving his feet well on a few plays that involved him pulling from one side of the line of scrimmage to the other, which is an important facet of the college and professional game.
Grant made an intriguing point regarding the sample size of games(three) of the video that they were breaking down. The clip showed countless plays where Ballinger won at the point of attack, driving his man back multiple yards in some cases, and Grant was encouraged that Ballinger had this level of consistency game in and game out.
Ballinger may be considering staying local to play his college ball, as he visited the University of Cincinnati in the fall of 2019. At that point, he was only a sophomore, so he didn’t go through the full recruiting process, but he enjoyed his campus visit.
Most importantly, Ballinger said after his visit that he was only focused on playing well and putting his best foot forward on game tape, which shows an impressive approach to take things one day at a time.
To Browne’s point in the highlight reel, fans can look forward to seeing Ballinger in other situations, such as where he reaches the second level of the defense and takes out a smaller, but quicker linebacker.
This particular video also did not include any passing plays, and it would be ideal to see him featured against speedy pass rushers off the edge. But Ballinger’s quick feet and powerful frame give him the basis for something exciting, and evaluators across the country can use that as a building block to hone the rest of his promising skill set.