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Position Group Breakdown: Interior Offensive Line

K-State’s probable highest draft pick in 2024 got his friends to stick around too.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 31 Allstate Sugar Bowl Photo by Ken Murray/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The interior of the offensive line (guards and centers) has the potential to be one of the best units in the nation. Everything starts with Cooper Beebe, the returning first team All-American who’s back to win another Big 12 Championship and make the Ring of Honor. Those are bold expectations for a guard, but Beebe is that good. His ability to bully defenders at the point of attack while still being able to pull and move in space separates him from the pack on the national level.

Beebe is joined by an impressive group of players in their own right. Returning starting center Hayden Gillum is one of the more mobile centers you’ll find in college football. Once he snaps the ball, he’s on the move, pulling around guards or tackles and hunting down linebackers and safeties. He occasionally struggles with giant nose guards, but that’s the trade off for his unique skill set.

The other guard spot technically has two returners, as former starter Taylor Poitier should be good to go early in the season, and Hadley Panzer is back after filling in for Poitier. Panzer should start the season, but don’t sleep on Poitier. He was considered the ‘Cats best offensive line prospect at one point in his career. If he’s close to 100%, it will be hard to keep him off the field.

Overall, both the experience and depth on the interior is crazy. You could put together a solid Big 12 interior line with the second unit. Offensive line coach Connor Riley is criminally underrated on the national scene, but I prefer it that way. He’s one of the best in the business at evaluating and coaching up players, and Kansas State does stuff with their line that other teams wouldn’t dream of attempting.


Left Guard

Cooper Beebe - #50 - Sr. - 6’4”, 335

If you’re reading this, you already know Cooper Beebe. He’ll leave Manhattan as one of the most decorated linemen in K-State history. He’s like having a black bear line up for you at guard. He can maul the opposition with size and strength, but isn’t limited to straight line blocking. It’s a rare sight to see someone his size pulling and leading the running back through the hole. He’s every linebackers worst nightmare, and God forbid a safety step up and get in his path.

Expectations are through the roof for Beebe. Anything short of 1st Team All-American, Outland Trophy winner and 1st round NFL draft pick would be a disappointment. He came back to lead the ‘Cats to a repeat and see his name added to the ring of honor. Both of those goals are achievable.


Hayden Gillum - #55 - Sr. - 6’3”, 300

Named as a captain in 2023, Gillum, a former walk-on, is back and looking to improve upon his All-Big 12 Honorable Mention season. He brings a little something different to the center position, and it’s one of the reasons Connor Riley can have such a diverse blocking scheme. You don’t find many centers capable of snapping the ball, peeling out, and leading a sweep.

The ‘Cats are in good shape in the middle.

Right Guard

Hadley Panzer - #54 - Jr. - 6’4”, 305

There’s nothing good about Taylor Poitier’s season ending injury last season, but it allowed Panzer to step up and establish himself at right guard. With 13 starts under his belt, the former state championship wrestler from Lakin, Kansas, is an master of using leverage. Once he gets his hands on you, it’s a wrap. With Gillum and Beebe gone next season, he’ll be anchor of the 2024 line.

Second String

Left Guard

Andrew Leingang - #56 - So. - 6’6”, 305

I moved Leingang back and forth between tackle and guard, mainly because the coaching staff has done that dance as well. All indications point to the big man from Bismarck, North Dakota settling into the interior of the offensive line. After a non-football related health issue held him back at the start of last season, he’s ready to show everyone what he can do this season. With the stupid depth at guard, look for Coach Riley to utilize both Leingang and Poitier in a killer rotation. Most teams don’t have a player of Leingang’s talent on the bench. Go ahead and sharpie him into the starting lineup in 2024.


Sam Hecht - #75 - So. - 6’4”, 285

This is one of those spots where Hecht is the next man up short term, but not long term. If Gillum needs his helmet adjusted or a cornerback scraped off the bottom of his shoe, Hecht is the guy. If Gillum were to miss any substantial time, I assume you’d get Panzer and center and Poitier at guard. With that said, Hecht is a crucial long term piece and should get some rotational playing time this season. Some of what you see with the reserve linemen this season will be preparation for next season when the staple guys of the Klieman era move on to the next level. Earning the back up center spot this season puts Sam in good position to grab a starting job in 2024. This is where he should be in terms of development.

Right Guard

Taylor Poitier - #69 - Sr. - 6’3”, 291

Man, I hate it for Taylor. The coaching staff have been high on him for a while, but instead of playing football, he’s been playing physical therapy the last two seasons. It’s hard to believe he’s only played 4 games in his K-State career. Luckily for Taylor, there is no better time than now to make your mark. He’s not 100% yet, and will miss a few games early in the season, but once he’s back on the field, I expect him on the field.

A time share with Panzer at guard is ideal to knock the rust off and keep both players fresh. Before all the injuries, Poitier was a freaky athlete on the interior, capable of hunting down linebackers on the second level. If that’s still there, I wouldn’t be surprised if he takes over the right guard spot at some point this season. He still has his Covid year, and is the perfect candidate for a medical 6th year tacked on to the end of his career. The goal this season is to get on the field and stay healthy. If that happens, everything else should work out fine.


Sam Shields - #66 - R.-So - 6’4”, 300

The Manhattan native is where he needs to be in terms of development. He’s a solid depth piece this season. I don’t anticipate him getting a ton of action with the top 4 guards K-State has on the depth chart, but that depth goes away next season.

Camden Beebe - #58 - Fr. - 6’3”, 355

I have no idea what and how the Beebe family feeds these guys, but it seems to work. In fact, maybe a little too well with Camden. He might be able to play at 355, but he’d be the exception. I’d love to see him cut some weight this season, if for no other reason than to take some strain off his back and knees. He’ll redshirt this year and work on his body. If he can cut down to 330 and keep his strength, look out, because this dude is a mauler. To play for Riley though, he also needs to make sure he can pull and move in space. Consider him a work in progrss.