Updated Wed, Dec 14, 2011 12:48 am
In his five years in Athens, Joe Flading has been a rock, and now the Bobcat offensive lineman is getting national praise for his outstanding play.
Sports Illustrated named the 6-foot-4, 290-pound offensive tackle an honorable mention All-American on Tuesday.
Flading was unaware of receiving the honor when WOUB approached him as the Bobcats were bowling in Boise, Id. on Tuesday evening.
"Oh really? That's great," the Cincinnati, Oh. native said, laughing. "That's a great honor to be recognized. That's pretty exciting."
With all five offensive linemen returning for 2011, Ohio's front unit had a spectacular season, allowing just 22 sacks (tying a season-low for any season in which Flading played) and heading a rushing attack that averaged 4.7 yards per carry.
"At the beginning of the season we were all excited because we were all coming back," Flading added. "We were returning starters…a lot of people with good experience. I think we had a great season…we continued to get better, we're not the same O-line we started the season as."
Flading was named to the 2011 preseason Lombardi Trophy watch list for the nation's most outstanding lineman. The redshirt senior is a two-time (2010, 2011) first-team All-MAC selection, too.
"It's a constant battle with technique and trying to become a stronger player," Flading said. "I've tried to take the weight room seriously over the course of the season, and I look at what I'm struggling with….just some kind of improvement to make myself a better player."
Behind the offensive front, Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton shined in his first year as the starter. Tettleton passed for 26 touchdowns and ran for nine more. The 35 total touchdowns and 26 passing scores are single-season Ohio records.
"Joe's been great," Tettleton said. "I've had a chance to play here for three years with him…it's been a lot of fun seeing him progress and be the player he is today."
Head coach Frank Solich voiced his praises of the fifth-year lineman, too. Flading was named a captain by his teammates in 2011.
“He has been outstanding in our program in every phase," Solich said, per the Ohio athletic department. "Off the field, they don’t get any better than Joe.
"The pro scouts that have come in have seen the type of ability he has to where he could move inside and possibly play center. He's that type of an athlete who isn't just geared into one spot. He never says a word - his actions speak for what he is all about and I think our players appreciate that."
Tettleton agreed about the senior's leadership impact.
"It's just amazing to see a lineman have that much of an influence on the team," Ohio's redshirt sophomore quarterback said. "Not just him but all the lineman, they give me a great job to give me time to get the ball out. You've gotta give them all the credit. It's a lot of fun to see what they can do."