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Countdown 2007: Websider Impact Players - #22
Chris Yoder is another offensive lineman who has an opportunity to step up in a big way in 2007. He's part of one of the elite lines in the country and paving the way for arguably, the best stable of running backs in the country. Oh yeah, and protecting hard-nosed quarterback Stephen McGee.
However, if Yoder (6-foot-3, 299 lbs.), doesn't take his game to the next level early on, he will be challenged for playing time by redshirt freshman Michael Shumard (6-foot-5, 305 lbs.), a Prep All-American and two-time first-team all-state selection in high school, who had a solid outing in spring practice.
What he's done so far
As a freshman in 2004, Yoder earned first-team Freshman All-American honors after starting in all 12 games for A&M, but hasn't had much of an impact since. That year, Yoder was part of an offensive line that ran for 167.2 yards per game and averaged 6.3 yards per play—the second most in school history.
But Yoder flew below the radar in 2005 and most of 2006, playing in just four games as a sophomore as a backup center and splitting snaps in 2006 with Grant Dickey at offensive guard.
Why he's important
A&M needs Yoder to be a leader if it wants to go from having a very good offensive line to having a dominant offensive line. As one of four seniors in the trenches for the Aggies this year, that is his role.
If he can provide solid production at guard, he will just help elevate guys like Cody Wallace, Kirk Elder and Corey Clark, who have received the most attention this preseason, to an even higher level and improve his stock as well.
This line will get a lot of attention this year, especially with the rushing attack of Goodson, Lane & Co., which should give everyone even more motivation to produce. But if Yoder doesn't I expect Shumard to come in without skipping a beat.
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