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2019 Akron Zips football positional previews: offensive line

The Zips have a big RG battle to watch in the preseason.

NCAA Football: Akron at Iowa State Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The most underrated unit for any football team is the offensive line, and the Akron Zips are in a good spot for 2019 as they bring back four starters from last season.

However, the introduction of Tom Arth as head football coach means a new offensive scheme to learn for the big guys up front, a scheme that includes five-and-six-man protections as well as gap and zone runs. It’ll be similar to what the offensive line has done in the past, so it should be a relative smooth transition that plays to their strengths.


Key Departures

  • Undrea Bullard
  • Kyle Ritz

Key Returnees

  • Trevor Brown
  • Hunter Corne
  • Bryce Petersen
  • Brandon Council

Trevor Brown, Senior (Wise HS/Clinton, Maryland)

The 6’5”, 300-pound senior will be a calming force on the blind side as Brown is only senior starter up front. He has started 27 games in his career at Akron, winning the Harry “Doc” Smith Award for the Zips’ offense all three seasons. He did not allow a sack in the Zips’ upset win over Northwestern in 2018, so this season can be a big year for him in terms of improving his stock for the 2020 NFL Draft.


Hunter Corne, redshirt sophomore (Dunnellon HS/Dunnellon, Florida)

Corne is the youngest Zip on the offensive line as a sophomore, but he started all 12 games last season and looks to be the starter at left guard in 2019. He also gave up no sacks against the Wildcats and was one of nine true freshman in the country to start every game on the offensive line. The challenge for Corne will be to develop physically in order to do all the things that Arth will ask of the offensive line.


Bryce Peterson, junior (McKinleyville HS/Riverside College/McKinleyville, California)

The junior center didn’t allow a sack against Northwestern either and he started all 12 games last season. The center’s job is affected the most by a coaching change because of the different calls he has to make at the line of scrimmage, so Peterson has to be able to pick those things up quickly this offseason. If he can grow in that area as well as make progress in the weight room, he’ll have the tools to be an All-MAC performer in the interior.


Brandon Council (West Bladen HS/Tar Heel, North Carolina)

Council was the starting right tackle for three games before suffering a season-ending injury, but not before contributing to Akron’s big win over Northwestern. Prior to the 2018 season, the junior had nine other starts so he has enough experience to be a quality contributor in Arth’s first year. Also in 2018, Council was named the Most Improved player on offense following spring drills as well, which leads one to believe he will have a chip on his shoulder going into the 2019 campaign.


Other Rostered OLs

  • Shawn Muldowney II, sophomore (Southeast HS/Diamond, Ohio)
  • Landon Forman, junior (Kingfisher HS/Northeastern Oklahoma A&M/Kingfisher, Oklahoma)
  • Jonathan Neeley, junior (Ursuline HS/Youngstown, Ohio)

The RG opening on the offensive will make for an interesting preseason battle as no one except for the four returners have starting experience. Muldowney II played in all 12 games last season and saw some action on special teams as a redshirt freshman, while Forman didn’t play despite showing some promise at a JUCO program that rushed for nearly 255 yards per game when he was a sophomore. Neely is an intriguing option as he has some experience (15 games played) and also competes on Akron’s track and field team.