After the graduation of Wade Hansen this past season, many believed that Yosuah Nijman would naturally gain a starting spot for 2016. Nijman played fairly well in limited reps as a freshman and with his tremendous athletic upside, Nijman seemed like the next Hokies’ starting tackle with a lot of fans wishing he would have started last season.
However, injuries for Nijman have opened the door and another offensive tackle has stepped up to put Nijman in serious trouble of once again starting the season as a backup.
Osterloh started to make his move this spring as he received reps as the first team right tackle with Jonathan McLaughlin at left tackle and Nijman still recovering from his injuring. Despite his strong spring, most expected Nijman to still be the starter with Osterloh likely being the top offensive lineman off the bench whether it be at tackle or guard.
So far, everything points towards Osterloh being in position to actually beat Nijman for a starting offensive tackle job especially after Osterloh slimmed down some this summer and now brings great size to the tackle spot at 6’8” and 326 pounds. Osterloh also seems to be getting a lot of early reps with the first team so far in practice with Nijman fighting to work his way back in the picture.
#Hokies senior OL Augie Conte indicates Parker Osterloh will work as first-team right tackle when fall camp opens.
— Mike Barber (@RTD_MikeBarber) August 2, 2016
This revelation from Augie Conte will be seen as a surprise too many given the huge upside that many see in Nijman with plenty projecting him as someone who could play at the next level.
However, Osterloh has put in the hard work this offseason and seems to have bought in quite well to Vance Vice’s system so far. Osterloh has been around since the spring of 2013 after enrolling early but has started to make a breakthrough over the past year from playing in 12 games this past fall to now earning first team reps in practice.
Osterloh is also proof of how patience in developing offensive linemen can pay off with Osterloh poised to be a starter either this year or next. Osterloh has also developed into a versatile offensive lineman that could slide inside if injuries are a problem or if the best five offensive linemen include two other tackles.
Many people want offensive linemen that can come and immediately play in the two-deep but the truth is there are few like Jonathan McLaughlin or Clemson’s Micah Hyatt who can start at left tackle as a true freshman. Osterloh is a testament to developing an offensive lineman that has the raw athleticism and size to be a productive collegiate player.
Parker Osterloh was not expected to take a starting spot this fall, but he has put himself in position to do exactly that.