FSU Commit Christo Kourtzidis May Visit Texas

[Update]: Reports Wednesday evening from HornsNation ($) and Orangebloods ($) that Kourtzidis will make the weekend trip to Austin for an official visit. As noted below, Florida State will be making their in-home visit on Thursday. --GoBR--

2012 Mesquite Horn tight end Vincent Hobbs may not be the only visitor at his position this weekend as the Longhorns host the last group of official visitors before Signing Day. News broke Tuesday evening, first from a report at Hookem.com, that Texas had secured an in-home visit ($) with Orange Lutheran (CA) tight end prospect Christo Kourtzidis, currently a commit to Florida State, in an effort to convince him to visit this weekend.

As of Wednesday morning, there were no indications about whether or not Kourtzidis will be in Austin this weekend, as it appears he will wait until after an in-home visit with Florida State Wednesday evening to make that decision (edit: that in-home will take place Thursday), though it's certainly possible that news could break throughout the day. The 6-4, 240-pounder is also considering taking his final visit to UCLA and it seems that Cal is also on his radar.

Much as Oregon tried, and somewhat failed, to do with former Texas commit Thomas Johnson in keeping his visit from becoming public until the last possible moment, so it seems that the Longhorn staff was able to keep interest in Kourtzidis from breaking, even though there have been rumors of a mystery recruit at Hookem.com for some time.

Now that the interest has broken, an introduction to Kourtzidis as a player seems in order. Besides his previously-mentioned size, which is close to the range that the coaching staff indicated they preferred in terms of projecting a player's ability to excel both as an in-line blocker and receiving threat at the position, Kourtzidis isn't the fastest tight end prospect with a 40 time clocked by ESPN at just under 5.0. Keep in mind, however, that he is 240 pounds.

Physically, Kourtzidis is close to college ready with an already developed frame that can likely hold 10-15 more pounds of muscle pretty easily without impacting his speed.

Interestingly enough, Kourtzidis shows off that speed much better on defense, particularly in his change of direction ability and short-area burst, even though he projects as a pure tight end prospect. The California native also shows some flexibility in being able to dip his shoulder at times and run the arc as a pass-rusher, the type of flexibility that will help him as an in-line blocker in college be able to explode out of his hips.

Since he doesn't have elite straight-line speed for the position, whether or not he can stretch the seam vertically in college is a question mark at this time, especially since he seems to play faster on defense. The hope for whatever team lands him is that he could learn to run his routes at the same tempo he pursues opposing ballcarriers.

As a pass catcher, the most impressive thing about Kourtzidis is that he consistently shows the ability to make tough catches in traffic by attacking the football and being willing to take hits after he does so. Again, the concern is that he's not creating more separation in those situations, but sometimes that simply isn't possible when he's attacking small holes in coverage.

After the catch, the big tight end doesn't show any of the elusiveness suggested by his tackling radius, but can break some arm tackles and create yards after contact with his size/strength combination. He won't be drawing any comparisons to any of the current stars in the NFL now dominating the league at that position, but those players are also extremely rare, as the Longhorns have found out in recent years.

When blocking, Kourtzidis is at his best when combo blocking to the second level, where he can use his mobility to lock up linebackers. On the line of scrimmage, his punch doesn't exactly make him look like an offensive linemen and he won't often displace opponents, but there is plenty of effectiveness walling them off from the play.

Overall, if Texas manages to get Kourtzidis on campus and can convince him in that short period of time to flip from Florida State, he won't exactly revolutionize the position at Texas or remind people of Jermichael Finley, but he does have the size to be an effective blocker and should at least become an effective option in the short or intermediate passing game.

The bottom line is that the Longhorns have suffered an incredible number of injuries at the position in recent years, so the strategy should become to find as many players like Kourtzidis, bring in at least one or two every year that don't need to add 30 pounds to have some blocking upside, and hope that a couple stick. Maybe even cheat on the evaluations and just go offer every tight end Stanford offers.

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