On June 13th, the Longhorns kicked off the RB class of 2016 with an offer to Devwah Whaley, one of the state's most highly regarded prospects. Since then, another target has appeared on the radar in the form of Sewo Olonilua, the starting running back for Kingwood HS in Houston, Texas.
Standing at 6' 2" and weighing 215 lbs, Olonilua is in the very early stages of his recruitment. He has yet to receive any official offers, and has only made visits to Nebraska and Texas since his participation in the U.S. Army National Combine back in January. But in an interview with Blake Munroe of Horns247 ($), he said that the 'Horns were firmly the top of his list. And guess who's right behind...
"I have Texas and then Texas A&M at the top right now," said Olonilua. "In that order."
Clearly, Olonilua liked what he saw at the 40 Acres last week. And it's not too much of a stretch to assume that Strong liked what he saw as well - Olonilua is one of the most athletic recruits of the 2016 class, and has significantly improved his speed and skills since last year. While at the Longhorns' minicamp, Olonilua showed off his quickness during the receiving drills.
During his sophomore year of high school, Olonilua ran for 820 yards and 10 TDs on 130 carries, leading Kingwood to a 7-4 district record. He also impressed at the Houston Nike Football Training Camp, showing off his athleticism with a 4.34 shuttle time and 32.8-inch vertical leap - good for a SPARQ rating of 103.98, a full 30 points higher than his score from last year. For reference, a rating above 100 is generally in the 99th percentile of all participating athletes.
Highlights (Sophomore Year)
To say that Olonilua is tough to bring down would be an understatement - he is a punishing runner when moving between the offensive tackles, using his size and speed to barrel through defenders and slip through arm tackles. Olonilua does many of his runs with a fullback as his lead blocker and a tight end/H-back in motion, exactly the sort of running scheme that will suit Coach Strong and offensive coordinator Shawn Watson. His height is a minor concern - at 6' 2", it is difficult for him to lower his pads and run with power in goal-line situations. His large frame and quick acceleration allow him to shoot through gaps in an instant and carry safeties downfield for significant yards after contact. In addition, his vision at the line is exemplary (especially for a running back of his size). He displays a natural instinct for knowing when to bounce the run outside, and his elite lateral speed allows him to turn the corner very quickly. For Olonilua, the only potential issue is whether he will be able to run in the zone blocking scheme line coach Joe Wickline has in store for the Longhorns. His height means that he could put on more weight by the time he reaches college, which might allow him to be a powerful 3rd-down back (although too much weight may send him to the defensive line, à la Chris Whaley and Henry Melton).
It's important to keep in mind that Olonilua's recruitment has only opened up very recently - it'll be interesting to see where his recruitment takes him over the next few months, and whether he will maintain his interest in Texas. Given his pure athleticism and potential as a 3rd-down back, he could be a natural fit for Shawn Watson's offensive schemes. One thing's for sure, though; Olonilua's recruitment will not stay quiet for long. If Strong does eventually extend an offer, Texas will have to be prepared for the ensuing battle with other marquee programs.
On my way to the 40 acres #hookem— Sewo Knows #⃣3⃣3⃣ (@SOlonilua4) May 31, 2014