If there is one thing that Dan Enos has done consistently during his tenure as CMU head coach, it's put great offensive lines on the field. And while Jake Olson, #40 on our list of MAC football players wasn't an Enos recruit, he could be the next highly drafted lineman from the program, if he can manage to stay healthy.
Olson came to CMU from Hartford Union HS in Hartford, Wisconsin. He started on the offensive line there for two seasons, was named the conference lineman of the year, and was first team all-state on both offensive, and defensive line.
Olson was redshirted during his first year at CMU, but the following season, made a name for himself and had people around the country talking about his play. In his first season, 2009, Olson started every game at left tackle, protecting Dan LeFevour's blind side, and was named an honorable mention to the freshman All-America Team. It appeared as if CMU had found their anchor on the left side for the next three seasons.
But then the injury bug started to hit Olson, and hard. In 2010 he was the starter again at left tackle, but three games into the season, he had a season ending leg injury, and sat out the remainder of the year.
In 2011, he was shifted to the right tackle slot, and started the year of in dominant fashion through the first seven games. But then, injuries hit him again, forcing him to miss the next three games, before he returned to play left tackle in the final two games.
For 2012, he was set to be the right tackle, and give CMU a dominating duo of Jake Olson and Eric Fisher, both players who could be high selections in the NFL Draft, but in the second game of the season against Michigan State, Olson went down again, and was lost for the season.
Luckily for Olson, and for CMU, he petitioned the NCAA for a sixth season of eligibility, and had it granted to him. Provided he stays healthy, Olson will be the anchor on what is expected to be another great offensive line in Mt. Pleasant.
Olson has everything that scouts look for in an offensive lineman, he's enormous, 6'8", 305 lbs (I think the scale in the CMU locker room only goes up to 305. Seriously, it seems like every lineman on the team is 305 lbs.), and has proven that when he is on the field he is one of the best linemen in the MAC.
I think the #40 ranking for Olson is perfectly fair, due to his health concerns. If he had managed to stay healthy for the majority of his career, he would either be way higher on this list, or in the NFL by now. When healthy, Jake Olson is arguably the best offensive lineman in the MAC.
For 2013, I am keeping my fingers crossed that he makes it through the entire season free on injury, both for his sake, and for CMU. He is a player who could be named a captain for the coming season. If Olson can stay healthy, and play a dominating left tackle like he has in the past, he could be another highly drafted offensive lineman in the Dan Enos era.