For two years, Tyler Davis was the promising young man of The Citadel's offensive line.
He played in 10 games as a freshman in 2015, making the Southern Conference's all-freshman team. Last season, he started all 12 games, rotating between guard and center, as The Citadel won a second straight SoCon championship.
Now, as Davis prepares for his junior season, the 6-1, 290-pounder suddenly finds himself the old man of the line. He's one of only two players with starting experience on a line that could start two true freshmen and two sophomores.
"Those guys prepared me for it my first two years," Davis said of departed veterans such as Isaiah Pinson, Nick Jeffreys, Kyle Weaver and Ryan Bednar. "So I feel like I'm ready for it."
Davis played for his father, former Clemson lineman Tyronne Davis, at Waccamaw High School and showed veteran poise even as a freshman. Now, it's his job to pass that on to younger teammates.
"I've got to make sure everyone knows what to expect at practice," Davis said. "We go at full speed, we're not out here going at half-speed. And I've got to make sure everyone understands the plays.
"But the big thing is just to create a bond between us. I really feel like a reason for our success the last two years has been the bond between the offensive linemen."
With Davis anchoring the line at center, freshmen Jonathan Cole (6-1, 286) and Jon Barrett Lewis (6-1, 290) have been flanking him at guard. Sophomore Drew McEntyre (6-3, 276), who started four games last, has moved out to right tackle, with sophomore Attorney Gallman (6-1, 259) at the other tackle.
"No doubt, we'll have to play some younger guys there," coach Brent Thompson said. "We've been juggling the lineup some. But they are doing a good job, and I think they have the talent and the skills."
The offensive line is key for a triple-option team that depends on the run game, and Davis is confident the Bulldogs will get it together.
"Of course, we are going to lack experience," Davis said. "But this is the biggest our offensive line has been size-wise since I've been here. I'm confident, I can see it coming together already. By the end of camp, we should all be on board."
• The Bulldogs will scrimmage at about 9:30 a.m. Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium.
• The scrimmage will be followed by "Meet the Bulldogs" from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at the stadium, with fans able to meet The Citadel's football, volleyball and soccer teams. Entry is free.