Posted On: 02/18/21 12:09 PM

It’s one thing to be able to execute at the line of scrimmage with great mechanics and technique as an offensive linemen.  It’s a whole different story when you can do so with unparalleled nastiness and brutality.  Check out seven of Iowa’s best and most physical blockers who maul their opponents.  

Brandon Vander SluisBrandonVander Sluis6'6" | OLLe Mars | 2022StateIA, Le Mars, hudl, Twitter

OT, 6’3, 280

Vander Sluis is whipping up pancake batter left and right; he takes his opponent to the turf, helps them back up after the play, and then does it again.  His execution of technique is done with velocity and violence between the whistles.  Vander Sluis moves quickly and explosively from his stance by applying force through the floor and generating power from the insteps.  His down blocks and base blocks are punishing; he often locks onto his opponent before they are out of their stance and puts them on skates taking out second and third level defenders in the process.  Vander Sluis takes excellent angles on edge rushers to get their midline.  He doesn’t just square them up, he makes them pay for trying to get to his quarterback.

Brandon Vander SluisBrandonVander Sluis6'6" | OLLe Mars | 2022StateIA, Le Mars, hudl, Twitter OT, 6’3, 280 Vander Sluis is whipping up pancake batter left and right; he takes his opponent to the turf, helps them back up after the play, and then does it again.  His execution of technique is done with velocity and violence between the whistles.  Vander Sluis moves quickly and explosively from his stance by applying force through the floor and generating power from the insteps.  His down blocks and base blocks are punishing; he often locks onto his opponent before they are out of their stance and puts them on skates taking out second and third level defenders in the process.  Vander Sluis takes excellent angles on edge rushers to get their midline.  He doesn’t just square them up, he makes them pay for trying to get to his quarterback. Kale KroghKaleKrogh6'6" | OLBallard | 2022StateIA, Ballard, hudl, Twitter OT, 6’6, 265 Krogh is a vicious blocker on inside runs, but impresses most in space where his elite athleticism takes over to clear an abundance of space for ball carriers.  Krogh’s arc release, zone steps, reach blocks, pulls, and lateral release to block Wide Receiver bubbles and screens are among the best there is at the high school level.  The velocity with which he moves to his assignments on such plays is remarkable.  He is able to overtake defensive linemen and get to second/third level targets with ease.  Krogh displays an astute understanding of hand placement and leverage, which he compliments with his size to wallop defenders.  His pass protection is balanced and patient; he is equally physical here when he gets hands on. Cade BorudCadeBorud6'4" | OLSoutheast Polk | 2022StateIA, Southeast Polk, hudl, Twitter OT, 6’4, 300 What makes Borud such a dominant presence in the trenches is his posture and how he maintains it to and through his blocks.  A lot of offensive linemen struggle with this and it really limits the power they can recruit at any moment.  That is not the case for Borud as he is very powerful at all times.  He takes excellent angles on his run blocks to square up his opponents, jars them with his initial strike, and then maintains posture keeping his core and posterior chain engaged as he brings his hips through to finish them off.  Most plays end with Borud on top of his opponents and he really dishes out some pain.  Borud’s pass sets are excellent; he overtakes speed rushers and absorbs power moves with the same posture. Hank LucasHankLucas6'2" | OLValley | 2022IA, Valley, hudl, Twitter C/G, 6’2, 285 Lucas is a versatile interior offensive linemen who can seemingly move between all three spots with the same level of dominance.  He is quick out of his stance and works mechanical power steps to relentlessly win battles.  Lucas can outduel defensive tackles who are shaded on him with independent hands and a low center of gravity.  He is opportunistic when uncovered and runs through the hip of a defensive linemen shaded elsewhere or climbs to a linebacker with precision.  Lucas is a beast in space on pulls, especially playside, and really opens up the playbook.  He has a terrific short set in pass pro that neutralizes interior rushers, provides great help to teammates when he isn’t occupied, and is mature in his blitz pickup.   Christian StolerChristianStoler6'3" | OLOelwin | 2022IA, Oelwein, hudl, Twitter OT, 6’3, 295 Stoler shows an advanced understanding of the playbook.  He not only washes defenders with well-developed mechanics, but steers them away from where the ball is going to go.  Stoler attacks with hands placed inside, thumbs outwardly rotated and elbows down.  He takes the chest and removes any separation a defender was hoping to get.  He has meathooks for hands and once he places them a defender will not recover.  When his hands are on Stoler moves and manipulates defenders out of a square position, takes away their leverage, and takes them for a ride.  He creates massive amounts of space for his offense to operate and mauls defenders in the process.  Stoler brings an intimidating presence to the line. Blake De Leon, Bettendorf, hudl, Twitter OT, 6’3, 280 It isn’t uncommon to see De Leon finish his primary blocking assignment and then go find someone else to hit.  He is ruthless and relentless in the way he attacks defenders.  De Leon has violent hands that jolt defenders at the point of attack.  He does a great job of stepping into those hands and taking posture away from defenders with superior strength and leverage.  Once De Leon has removed a defender’s center of gravity he snaps his hips through and sends them flying to the turf.  From there he locates his next target and frequently leaves multiple defenders in his wake.  De Leon excels on double teams and combo blocks.  He is very active and balanced in pass pro and is good at preventing inside moves. Zach Smithart, Sigourney, hudl, Twitter G, 5’11, 260 Smithart is an expert at opening up the A and B gaps; he reaches and hooks defensive tackles by taking excellent angles, gets on their hips, and can make a really good player look very undisciplined.  Smithart stays active on his insteps as he uses impressive leverage to open big holes for ball carriers to hit quickly and downhill.  Smithart is equally talented when it comes to pulling; pin/pull, playside pull, and pulling to the second level are all done with speed and exactness.  He knows his assignment and executes matching the athleticism of the linebackers he is often responsible for.  Regardless of what he is doing, Smithart is an asset when running the ball.  Smithart also throws violent, independent strikes on short and jump sets.

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