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Counting down Northwestern’s roster: 69-60

There aren’t a ton of players in the 60s, but there’s a lot of size.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Northwestern Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

We’ve gone through Northwestern’s most important players, positional previews, and opponent breakdowns. Now, as the season creeps closer, we’re counting down the roster, 99 to 1. We’ll provide biographical information, stats, and an outlook for each player’s role headed into 2018.

We continue the series with the 60s, where, as you might expect, it’s all linemen.

69 Charlie Schmidt

OL | 6-foot-4, 280 lbs. | Freshman | Libertyville, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team/redshirt

Schmidt, dubbed a guard by a recruiting services, played on both sides of the ball in high school, where he was teammates with current Wildcat Riley Lees. Schmidt didn’t give up a sack in his final two years of high school, but, with a lot of linemen returning he’ll likely redshirt this season, as most true freshmen linemen do.

Career Stats: None

68 Wyatt Blake

OL | 6-foot-4, 299 lbs. | Freshman | Crystal Lake, Ill.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team/redshirt

Blake was announced as an offensive lineman when he signed to play at Northwestern, but he’s listed as a defensive lineman on the roster, which seems like an error. Blake, also listed by recruiting services as an offensive lineman, has great size for a true freshman at 299 pounds. Assuming he’s an offensive lineman, he’ll likely redshirt unless there are a bunch of injuries on the line. In the off-chance he actually is a defensive lineman, where players are rotated more frequently, he could very well earn reps at defensive tackle. With Tyler Lancaster gone, there is an opportunity for a run-stuffing, block-eating tackle, which Blake seems like he could be. Regardless, Blake has Big Ten size right now, so he might be one of the players that uses the new redshirt rule to his benefit — Pat Fitzgerald could try him out at the beginning of the season and better evaluate whether he’s ready to contribute.

Career Stats: None

67 Willy Boatman

OL | 6-foot-2, 267 lbs. | Freshman | Denver, Colo.

Likely Role in 2018: Scout team/redshirt

Boatman, a preferred walk-on, has Big Ten athletics in his genes. His father played football at Indiana, his uncle played football at Purdue and his grandfather played basketball at Michigan. As mentioned earlier, most freshmen offensive linemen redshirt, so Boatman probably will too, especially given that he’s a bit undersized.

Career Stats: None

66 Nik Urban

OL | 6-foot-3, 293 lbs. | Sophomore | Willoughby, Ohio

Likely role in 2018: In the two-deep at guard

Urban redshirted in 2016, and played in two blowouts last season against Bowling Green and Minnesota. Urban was in the two-deep at guard a season ago, but, with Tommy Doles and J.B. Butler both returning, there isn’t an open spot as a starter.

Career Stats: None

65 Jared Thomas

OL | 6-foot-4, 294 lbs. | Junior | Indianapolis, Ind.

Likely role in 2018: Starter at center/utility

Thomas played in 10 games in 2017, including starting the first three at left tackle. Thomas is Mr. Versatile on the line, given his ability to play tackle, guard and center as needed. He’ll compete for the starting center job with redshirt freshman Sam Gerak, and, based on experience, Thomas is probably the favorite to win the starting center job. If not, Thomas can fill in the gaps if players get injured or if NU goes jumbo and brings in an extra O-lineman. If he starts, Thomas’s performance will be greatly important after the loss of previous starter Brad North.

Career Stats: None

61 Jason Goosen

OL | 6-foot-7, 316 lbs. | Sophomore | Virginia Beach, Va.

Likely role in 2018: Competing for a spot in the two-deep at tackle

Goosen, a mechanical engineer, made his debut in last season’s 39-0 romp of Minnesota. The best-case scenario for Goosen to cracking the two-deep at tackle, a battle he’d likely have to win over Jesse Meyler. He’s absolutely massive, so if his techinque catches up to his size, he’ll be an intriguing prospect.

Career Stats: None