If there’s one group of players from the Northern Illinois Huskies that seems to always produce great quality players, it’s the offensive line. And, in 2018, the line is anchored by a very familiar face.
Max Scharping, a 6-6, 320 pound tackle, has been a consistent force up front for the Huskies - starting in 39 straight games (every game the Huskies have played in the past three seasons) as both a right and a left tackle. His freshman and sophomore campaigns saw him on the right side of the ball, while last season he moved to left tackle and played almost every snap.
In 2017 the Huskies line led the FBS in fewest sacks allowed, and Scharping was one of the biggest reasons why. In 425 snaps last year, Scharping allowed a mere five QB pressures...one of the best marks in the country.
The past two seasons he has been the highest rated lineman in pass-blocking efficiency (98.9 in 2016 and 99.2 last year) so it’s no surprise that Pro Football Focus has him as the highest draft prospect among tackles.
But they’re not the only one’s big on Scharping. USA Today has him listed as the sixth best offensive lineman, Draft Scout has him as the eighth best prospect, and College Football News has him as the 17th best tackle.
The Green Bay, Wisconsin native has also landed himself on both the Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) and Wuerffel Trophy (player who best combines exemplary community service with athletic and academic achievement) watch lists to start the season as well.
NIU’s offense will need the O-line to shine this year, as they have the past few years, if they want to survive their hellish non-conference schedule and get themselves back to the MAC Championship game. And there’s no better player on that line than Scharping.