Texas Longhorns offensive coordinator/offensive line coach Joe Wickline is busy making moves with the 2015 offensive line class, apparently dropping Sherman offensive guard Aaron Garza on Monday and then extending three offers on Tuesday.
Flower Mound Marcus offensive tackle Keaton Sutherland, Houston Westfield offensive tackle Toby Weathersby, and Tampa (Fla.) Plant offensive tackle Jake Fruhmorgen all received offers from the Longhorns as Wickline seeks to add more pure tackles to the class to address a growing need after the Horns took only one high school tackle in 2013, zero in 2014, and only one so far in 2015.
In the latter class, Hays Consolidated offensive tackle Connor Lanfear is now considering Texas A&M after receiving an offer at the Aggie Junior Day on Sunday -- it not appears that the coaching staff has some work to do with him to keep him in the fold, though he is clearly open to maintaining his pledge to the Horns.
Even if Lanfear does remain a member of the class indefinitely, Wickline still needs to add at least one more pure tackle to the class and possibly two, a number that could be impacted by Wickline's ability to somehow flip a 2014 prospect in the final days before that class signs.
Sutherland is a 6'5, 260-pounder who clearly has a significant amount of physical development left to do before he is ready to contribute in college. Ranked as a consensus four-star prospect, the Marcus product is the No. 26 offensive tackle nationally, the No. 36 prospect in Texas, and the No. 256 player overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Arkansas, Baylor, Clemson, Oklahoma, Ole MIss, Rutgers, TCU, and Texas Tech have all extended offers so far, with the Razorbacks thought to be the early leader with three predictions for the Hogs in Sutherland's Crystal Ball.
Right now, only Sutherland's sophomore highlights at defensive end are available, so it's impossible to get a read on his ability to play along the offensive line. However, he does have strong quickness for a strong-side defensive end and has some understanding of how to use his hands. Much like 2014 A&M pledge Koda Martin, who played tight end and defensive end for Manvel, Sutherland clearly has the athleticism to play tackle in college, it just takes some serious projection at this time based on the lack of available highlights and the need to add around 40 pounds.
Weathersby is a 6'5, 300-pounder ranked as a consensus three-star prospect. Considered the No. 74 offensive tackle nationally and the No. 95 player in the state of Texas, the Westfield product holds offers from Florida, Oklahoma, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, and Wake Forest, with the Sooners considered the early favorite. Oklahoma will also receive a visit from Weathersby this weekend for their Junior Day.
A right and left tackle for Westfield, Weathersby carries his 300 pounds extremely well -- on film, he looks about 30 pounds lighter because there's not a lot of obvious bad weight. Already near a college-ready weight, he doesn't appear to have a lot of experience as a pass blocker in a primarily run-based Westfield scheme, but he is athletic and capable of user his upper body strength to plant opponents once he gets them turned.
Fruhmorgen is a 6'5, 280-pounder who looks like the true blue chip among the three. Considered a consensus four-star prospect, the Plant star and former teammate of 2014 Texas early enrollee linebacker Andrew Beck, Fruhmorgen is the No. 6 offensive tackle nationally, the No. 15 player in the state of Florida, and the No. 74 player nationally.
With close to 30 offers already, Fruhmorgen is truly a national prospect, having received invitations to play at Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and many others. In other words, Fruhmorgen's recruitment is already well advanced in terms of interest, which could make it difficult to contend with early favorite Alabama.
Another lean prospect, Fruhmorgen has incredibly light feet that are on display in pass protection and he also has the flexibility to drive out opponents, rolling through his hips and flat back. Many offensive linemen can get a good pop with the punch simply from their hands, but Fruhmorgen can do it starting with his lower body.
Unfortunately for Texas, the Fruhmorgen recruitment will probably be the most difficult of the three, though the connection to Plant through Andrew Beck may help things. Still, it's the type of recruitment that the Horns should attempt to enter because the upside is so significant and the downside essentially non-existent.
With Texas offeree Trevor Elbert a new Texas A&M commit in the 2015 class and Lanfear willing to look around a bit, making the move on Sutherland and Weathersby was an important and necessary decision for Wickline, who will now have to put his recruiting prowess on display to help build championship-level depth at a position that is extremely difficult to evaluate and recruit.