Offensive linemen on the 2011 roster -- David Snow (2011), Luke Poehlman (2012), Mark Buchanan (2012), Thomas Aschraft (2013), Paden Kelley (2013), Garrett Porter (2013), Mason Walters (2012/13), Dominic Espinosa (2013/14), Trey Hopkins (2013/14)
Needs -- Four or five
|Name (School)||JD invite?||Offer?||Commitment odds||Favorites||Quick take|
|Taylor Doyle (Lake Travis)||Feb. 13||Possible||85%||
||Extensive game reps in pass protection and has good hand placement and arm extension in the running game. Could be an underrated prospect -- has the potential to become a solid contributor in college.|
|Spencer Drango (Cedar Park)||Unknown (currently unconfirmed for either date)||Possible||
||Excels in Cedar Park zone-blocking scheme and added some nastiness as a junior. Doesn't get a lot of game reps in pass protection, but has the arm length and athleticism to play tackle in college, though perhaps not left tackle.|
|Sedrick Flowers (Galena Park North Shore)||Feb. 13||No-brainer||70%||
||Absolute mauler on the offensive line and one of the top 2011 prospects in the state regardless of position. Big, strong, and nasty with a college-ready frame. Can't-miss prospect.|
|Josh Cochran (Hallsville)
||A basketball player and quick-rising prospect, college coaches love his big, projectable frame. Would likely jump on a Texas offer.
|Matthew Hegarty (Aztec, NM)||Invited, unable to attend (basketball)||No-brainer||20%||
||Big kid with excellent frame and little or no bad weight. Needs to gain strength to block well in the running game, but is advanced in pass protection. Performed extremely well at the Army Junior combine. Is not able to attend either Texas Junior Day as a result of his basketball commitments. Will need to take a summer visit to receive an offer. Plans to commit during the summer.|
|Marcus Hutchins (DeSoto)||Feb. 13||Possible/likely||75%||
||Gave up basketball this spring to work on adding good weight, a struggle for the last several years -- was down to 235 pounds last spring and it has caused his stock to fall. Has all the athleticism, but can he reach a good playing weight to hold up in the running game? However, he is an excellent, possibly elite, athlete at his position.|
|Christian Westerman (Chandler, AZ)
||Could be best offensive line prospect in the nation. Parents fell in love with Texas at the Fiesta Bowl and highly enjoyed a summer camp visit last year. The question is whether Christian likes the Longhorns as much as his father. USC could be dropping on his list with the departure of Pete Carroll. Can't-miss prospect.|
Other names to know -- Garrett Greenlea (Klein Collins). Even though Greenlea is one of the top linemen in the state, the Longhorns do not appear likely to offer him, as he is considered an Aggie lock.
Overview -- It almost goes without saying at this point that running back and offensive line, specifically the tackle position, are needs 1a and 1b in this class. As a result, the Texas coaching staff absolutely cannot miss with their evaluations of this class -- doing so could lead to an absolute disaster down the road at the right and left tackle positions. The evaluations will also be critical in terms of projecting the offense for the Connor Wood and post-Connor Wood eras (assuming he beats out Case McCoy) in terms of how much the coaches value athleticism.
From the names currently available on the list, it looks like athleticism is important, as each player does well in space, suggesting the coaches plan on sticking with a spread, zone-blocking offense in the future. Another important aspect of the evaluations will be the mentality of the players offered -- will they be "nice guys" likeor will they have the nasty disposition of someone like Kasey Studdard? Perhaps the coaches should even devise a test of their toughness when they come in for the Junior Days -- maybe insulting their mother or tellilng them they aren't good enough to play for Texas and seeing if they argue.
The bottom line is that the line needs an attittude makeover and the 2011 class will eventually either continue the trend of playing like a bunch of weak-minded b****** who walk meekly to the sideline instead of helping their quarterback up on the opponents' sideline or be the type of players who get in someone's face when they take a cheap shot at the quarterback. It's simple -- are you a man or not? The 2010 line clearly stated that they fell in the latter category.
Wish list --
Westerman and Hegarty will be national recruits, as will Flowers, and all three may take some time to make a decision -- the Longhorns should secure commitments from one or two of the group of Drango, Doyle, and Cochran, with a possible limit on how many of them they will take in order to leave room for the national recruits. It's a tricky situation, though, as if they decline to offer one of the second tier prospects, they may decide to head elsewhere. And though it may be a tricky situation, it's one the coaching staff can't afford to get wrong.