Rashawn Slater’s announcement that he would be opting out of a football season this academic year was a tough pill to swallow for Northwestern fans. Expected, perhaps, but still tough nonetheless. After an impressive three-year career, capped by a stellar junior campaign, the left tackle had little left to prove and plenty to risk playing a season just weeks before the NFL combine and draft.

Despite NU’s top lineman sitting out the potential season, the unit has more competitive depth than it has had in years. Slater’s versatility led him to shift from right tackle to left tackle last season, and the void he leaves could be followed by some rearranging of the remaining offensive linemen. Fortunately, players like Ethan Widerkehr, Sam Gerak and Nik Urban have all played several spots on the line, giving second-year position coach Kurt Anderson plenty of flexibility.

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