Last year, Ball State had one of the best offensive lines in the nation. This is a big part of the reason why the Cardinals have been so dominant through the air. Sure, having a quarterback as talented as Keith Wenning, and having wide receivers as good as Willie Snead IV and Jordan Williams is very important. However, without a good offensive line, this passing game would not have had as much success as they did. A big part of the reason that this offensive line was so great was because of their center, Jacob Richard.
The 6-foot-1, 275-pound center was originally a walk-on. He saw his first bit of action as a redshirt freshman, starting in 4 games. In the 2013 season, he started in 12 games. This offensive line he was apart of was ranked 17th in the nation for the fewest sacks allowed, giving up, on average, 1.17 sacks per game. This line also helped Keith Wenning pass for over 4,000 yards, and helped runningbacks, Jahwan Edwards and Horatio Banks, rush for over 1,700 yards combined.
Being one of the best centers in the MAC, he has already been recognized for his skill. Richard was put on the 2013 All-Mid-American Third Team as a redshirt sophomore. On top of that, he has already been put on the Lombardi Award watch list for this year. The Lombardi Award is given to the best college football lineman or linebacker. Just being recognized for this award is extremely impressive.
Richard still has a couple years left at the collegiate level before he starts setting his sights on the next level. It's tough to really tell yet if Richard has any possibility of getting his name called during the 2016 NFL Draft, but it's a possibility. However, based on what I've seen of Richard so far in his career, it's hard to believe that a team wouldn't give him a chance to make their team, even if they don't take him in the draft.