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Top 70 MAC Football Players: #60 Jimmy Kristof (LG – Western Michigan Broncos)

The Bronco rushing attack dramatically improved last season and this senior guard will make it even better in 2015.

GS Photo/WMU Media File

The best offenses in college football rely on experienced lineman to anchor the squad. And experience is exactly what you get in our 60th best player in the MAC - Jimmy Kristof. The six-foot-three, 320 pound senior will be the starting left guard for the third straight year this season and will form one half of the dominant left side with tackle and fellow senior Willie Beavers.

Jimmy played in all 12 games of his freshman 2012 season and started in two of those games. He then started every game of the 2013 and 2014 seasons for the Broncos, no doubt experiencing some the lowest lows and the highest highs in those two very different campaigns. That's 27 total starts for the Lake Barrington, Illinois native to build off of this coming season.

And keep in mind this is the third season for Kristoff with the P.J. Fleck offense. That's two solid years on the books getting comfortable with the typical Fleck strategies that will give sophomore running back Jarvion Franklin ample opportunity to accrue yards and touchdowns. The transition in the running game over Kristof's time has been immense. In 2013 the team averaged 116.2 yards per game on the ground. Last season, the combination of a more experienced line and Franklin rushing resulted in 170.8 yards per game.

That improvement has been recognized in preseason accolades. Kristof has been named preseason first-team in the MAC by both Phil Steele and the Sporting News. We'll still be looking for improvement from Kristof and the WMU line though.

According to analysis from Bill Connelly, the Broncos ranked 79th last year in adjusted line yards (a stat that determines if the line or running back is more responsible for yardage on a given play) so there is room for the line to produce even more space for the rushing attack. On the other side of the coin, Connelly determined that the line did avoid allowing WMU RBs to be stuffed at or behind the line of scrimmage - they were the 30th best team in the nation in that category. Kristof probably welcomes the challenge to improvement however. WMU offensive tackle and tight ends coach Bill Kenney has said the line is "never satisfied" with their performance.

Kristof has the athleticism that allows him to make blocks not only on the line but also disrupt the defense at the next level downfield. Fleck has said of Kristof that "when he's on the field he's a complete jerk and you want that." Indeed, nobody is looking for a nice-guy lineman out there. You need people who are going to blow up that d-line and make holes for your rushers while also protecting your QB. Jimmy Kristof's ability to do that makes him invaluable for Western's offense this year and makes him undoubtedly one of the best linemen in the MAC.