UC Davis, the sixth-ranked public university in the nation, is home to the nation's top Veterinary Medicine and Agricultural programs. The Economist also named UC Davis the top-ranked UC school in alumni earnings above expectation.
Position coach Tim Keane likes to refer to his offensive line as a work in progress, but with San Diego State around the corner, here is where his o-line stands.
Coach referred to fifth-year senior Kyle Sulka as "duct tape" after proving his ability to play anywhere on the line throughout his career. Sulka, a fixture at right tackle for the Ags in the past, served as the team’s starting center last season. With that unique experience, Keane is expecting him to step up as a leader and help this unit reach its potential.
Expected to take numerous reps alongside Sulka is Ramsey Hufford. After competing in all 11 games as a freshman, the junior was named a starter in half of the Aggies’ games last season. His work ethic and attitude also earned him the George Belenis Award in 2015 for being an outstanding redshirt.
Will Martin, a two-time All-Southern League honoree at Orange Coast College, is looking to impact games this season on a level similar to his veteran teammates. At OCC, he was selected to his league’s second team as a tackle his freshman, then earned a spot first team as a sophomore center before transferring to UC Davis.
Another familiar face on the line is Julian Bertero. An All-Big Sky honorable mention selection last season, Bertero was a fixture on the first team, earning the starting nod every weekend.
"He is a loud leader who increases the tempo of the group, gets the guys going and injects more energy into the whole offense," said Keane regarding Bertero.
Rounding out the group is Riley Gallant, one of three Aggie student-athletes who hail from Oregon. The sophomore, and Portland native, saw action in nine games last season and earned the start in the final six games.
Other linemen football fans should keep an eye on this season include transfer Colton Lamson, a local from Sac City College who played on its defensive line last year; redshirt freshman Kooper Richardson, son of Folsom High School’s Kris Richardson; and Connor Pettek, a true freshman who has proven himself in camp by going toe-to-toe with any lineman on roster.
More than anything this fall, Keane is pushing the group to "do the little things better than anyone else in the country."
He explained, "We want to be great out of our stance, do a really good job recognizing fronts and blitzes, and make sure we’re communicating. When it comes to those tiny details, we want to be better than anyone else in the country."