Fred Zerblis, All American.
That according to Pro Football Focus, the men and women who study every single snap of football, grading out players at every position.
Interestingly, as PFF says, most of the top guards in the nation came from greater-5 conferences rather than Power-5 ones, with their first-teamers being Will Hernandez of UTEP and Cody O’Connell of Washington State. Then, Zerblis made the cut as a second-team guard along with Nico Siragusa of San Diego State.
And if you’re a Colorado State Rams fan, you’ve come to know Fred Zerblis as a nasty, bruising guard; the heart of arguably the best offensive line in the Mountain West.
That Rams offensive line was 13th-best in the nation, allowing a mere 1.08 sacks per game this season. And that number could actually be lower, but head coach Mike Bobo was forced to play all three quarterbacks, including freshman Collin Hill, who held onto the ball too long at times.
The line actually allowed only one sack in the last 21 quarters of football with Nick Stevens back under center.
Zerblis was part of a blocking force which opened holes that allowed for a trio of running backs — Dalyn Dawkins, Izzy Matthews and Marvin Kinsey Jr. — to each run for 100 yards against New Mexico. It was the first time three backs went over the century mark in a single game in Rams football history, which dates back to 1893. Colorado State also became the first team to run for 100 yards against Boise earlier this year, and they were the first team to lead the then-No. 15 Broncos all season long.
CSU’s offense ranked sixth in the nation with a 94.0 scoring percentage in the redzone and put up 47.1 points per game over the final five games of the year. The redshirt senior guard was named first-team All-Mountain West last week and now gains recognition from Pro Football Focus as well.
All the success up front has earned the school the nickname “Offensive Line U” by fans, and with good reason. Weston Richburg, a former Rams center (2009-13) is considered one of the best snappers in the NFL today. Ty Sambrailo also currently plays for the Denver Broncos, though he should be moved inside to guard from tackle, and others include Shelley Smith and Clint Oldenburg to go from CSU to the NFL on the line.
Could Zerblis be next? We’ll have to wait and see.