Some offensive linemen start at guard or tackle and are turned into centers.
But Jay Guillermo of Maryville, Tenn., has been in the middle since the day he first stepped foot on the field as a second-grader.
"I've always been the biggest kid on the team," Guillermo said. "When I started, I guess they didn't have a center, so they said, 'We'll stick you there' and it kind of stuck."
Now a junior, Guillermo figures to be among the South's top offensive line recruits in the Class of 2012. The 6-foot-3, 287-pounder, a two-year starter, recently was among 500-plus prospects from around the country to compete in San Antonio at the annual U.S. Army National Combine as part of the week-long festivities leading up to the U.S. Army All American Bowl. Afterward, Rivals.com named him a second-team all-combine performer.
"I think I did pretty well," Guillermo said. "I wanted to go up against bigger guys, and they had me going against defensive ends, but I did good considering I've never faced the little guys. It was a great experience. I love competition. I loved going down there and getting to see how I stack up."
At this time, Guillermo does not yet have any offers, but he's hearing from several schools, including Alabama, Cincinnati, Clemson, Miami and Northwestern. Among that group, the Crimson Tide and Tigers have shown the most interest, according to Guillermo.
"I took two visits to Alabama last fall," Guillermo said. "The one thing Alabama really liked is that I can reach a three-technique. That's really difficult for a center to snap and reach. I think that's what makes me good. And I'm pretty aggressive."
Guillermo will unofficially visit Clemson on Jan. 29. That will be his fourth trip to see the Tigers. Guillermo predicted Clemson might be the first to offer.
"They were the ones who really started recruiting me first," he said.
In addition to visiting Clemson later this month, Guillermo hopes to attend junior days at Alabama and Cincinnati.
"I'm pretty much going to go to all the junior days I can get to," Guillermo said.