Gabe Ikard, Center
What can I say? He will be SORELY missed, by fans and by the program. He is that type of player. If the quarterback is General McArthur, he is easily General George S. Patton. The leader of the offensive line, he often would change the protections based on what he was seeing.
He literally was like having a second quarterback on the offense (which certainly comes in handy rotating three inexperienced quarterbacks this past season). He is one of the most intelligent players not only on the field, but off of it. As a finalist for the Campbell Trophy, college football’s academic Heisman, Ikard earned many accolades in 2013.
He attended the NFL Combine, his results:
- 40 yard dash – 5.13
- 225 Bench – 22
- Vertical jump – 26
- Broad jump – 8’7″
- 20 Yard shuttle – 4.37*
- 3 Cone drill – 7.30*
*The best totals for all offensive lineman at the combine via NFL.com.
His strengths: During his time at Oklahoma, and this season being no exception, he was a little undersized for a center. Yes I know, 6’3″ is not exactly undersized. I just happen to be 5’10. During the year, he was just below 300 pounds. He was a mountain. There were defensive ends who were significantly larger that he faced, but that didn’t seem to matter all the time.
Ikard also has excellent hands for an offensive lineman. He can move defensive ends who are the same size, or larger around like they weighed 100 pounds less than himself. He also has experience being a defensive end in high school. Knowing the enemy really works here. Though, at the combine, NFL scouts have him listed at 304 pounds. Adding another 10-15 pounds to his frame, could be beneficial.
The drawbacks: He wasn’t always able to contain the larger defensive linemen. In the loss to Notre Dame in 2012, Louis Nix pushed Ikard around. The following year, the Oklahoma line had to utilize scheme blocking to neutralize Nix. Ikard could not contain him one on one for extended periods of time. He also has trouble blocking against smaller defenders who utilize speed to get into the OU backfield. He will see both of these types of defenders in the pros.
Ikard is projected to be a solid 4th round pick, but could possibly drop to the 5th round. CBSSports.com has him rated as the #4 center in this year’s draft. Being as intelligent as he is, he could very well become a featured center in the NFL. Could you imagine something like a Payton Manning and Gabe Ikard combo? I don’t know if that will ever happen, but that just sounds scary. Any intelligent quarterback paired with Ikard, will be a dangerous combination.