2011 narrative: Things went about as well as possible for Texas in offensive line recruiting -- in a year that required a major haul, Mac McWhorter secured exactly that. Not only did the Longhorns land six extremely talented players, they landed each of their major targets, with the lone exception being New Mexico's Matt Hegarty, for whom there was no room after the commitment of Christian Westerman, one of the top recruits along the line Texas has signed in the last few years. Texas also added two other players who could contribute early in road-grading guard Sedrick Flowers and mammoth Garrett Greenlea. Josh Cochran and Marcus Hutchins provide athleticism and upside, while Taylor Doyle brings a winning pedigree to the program after having played for three-time state champion Lake Travis.
Curtis Riser, DeSoto -- The only offensive lineman in the class to have distinguished himself enough early to merit inclusion on this list is the talented mauler from DeSoto, quickly becoming a pipeline school under former Autin-area head coach Claude Mathis.
Riser has received plenty of attention early, with some observers calling him a better prospect than either Hutchins or Evan Washington, a 2010 LSU commit. With a nasty disposition and elite athleticism for his position, there's no question that Riser is the real deal and will almost certainly be the top target along the offensive line for Texas in the class and, at this point, the only must-have.
There's a work effort there with Riser manifesting itself as a desire to win every competition. Practice, combines, personal repetitions are all opportunities to develop a winning ethic for
A coach singing the accolades of a player is far from uncommon, but Mathis strikes such a strident tone in his praise for Riser and his upside as a player that it's worth considering, at least:
He’s young, he’s quick, he’s fast, he’s strong, he’s smart, plus he loves the game of football.
Missing anything, there coach?
Just mean, but he mentioned that earlier. And coachable, mentioned later.
That about covers it and that sentiment extends beyond those associated with the DeSoto program.
Gimme factor: Five Gimme's out of five
Garrett Adcock, Dallas Christian -- A frame that goes only 6-2, 270 pounds as he enters his junior season consigns Adcock to an interior lineman in college and though his measurables don't jump out, his solid technique and athleticism make him a prospect. The question is if his upside is enough to intrigue major programs.
Gimme Factor: Two Gimme's out of five
Hiva Lutui, Euless Trinity -- The cousin of former USC star Duece Lutui, the big Euless Trinity guard is a prospect whose ceiling is somewhat limited because he plays inside in high school and his height at 6-3 means he will be a guard at the next level. The other major negative is that he doesn't get a lot of pass reps in the heavily run-based system at Euless Trinity, but his athleticism makes him an appealing prospect and he does have the desired arm length and frame, as well as some nastiness developed by run blocking for a living in high school.
Gimme Factor: Three Gimme's out of five
Ralphael Green, SA Sam Houston -- A teammate of 2011 Texas commit Quincy Russell, the major knock against Green right now is that he carries a significant amount of bad weight at close to 350 pounds. The Texas coaches typically prefer to take leaner linemen in an effort to mold them to their own specifications, rather than deal with weight issues and trying to get a player to lose weight. Green does report verbal offers ($) from Baylor and Texas A&M.
Gimme Factor: One Gimme out of five
Halapoulivata Vaitai, Haltom -- "Big V," as they call him at Haltom, has an excellent frame that, unsurprisingly for his age, needs to add weight to compete at the collegiate level, but at a lean 6-6 and 280 pounds, Vaitai is projectable and his experience going against Reggie Wilson gives him an advantage in practice competition versus most other linemen his age. Strong flexibility and a massive wingspan provide the physical tools for success. The big tackle has expressed a desire to play collegiate football with his two younger brothers, twins Kevin and Will, both guards who started as freshman for the Buffaloes.
Gimme Factor: Three Gimme's out of five
Kyle Marrs, SA Brandeis -- One of the largest offensive linemen in the class, Marrs checks in at nearly 6-7 and over 300 pounds -- all the physical attributes are there for him to play outside in college, especially in terms. He has long arms to keep defenders out of his frame and has the balance to stay in his cylinder and keep from getting out over his toes. Like most kids his age, Marrs has some work to do on his technique and playing to the whistle and having a nasty streak in his blocking.
Gimme Factor: Three and a half Gimme's out of five
Germain Ifedi, Houston Westside -- A massive offensive lineman at 6-5 and over 300 pounds entering his junior season, Ifedi attracted plenty of attention at the State 7-on-7 Championships when walking around the grounds after spending time at the Texas A&M Lineman camp. Athletic for his size. Ifedi already has offers from Memphis, Texas A&M, and Texas Tech and ranks as one of the top targets on the Aggie board, but has not listed Texas among his favorites -- his brother plays at Memphis and Ifedi lists his childhood favorite as Ohio State.
Gimme Factor: Two and a half out of five
So far, as the 2012 narrative begins and gains steam, there isn't anything particularly compelling about it in the early going -- the hysterics resulting from the poor line play last year and questionable prospects for the future died down considerably with all the incoming talent and the questions about scheme and coaching remain unanswerable until the long-awaited season finally begins . Basically, it's no different than any other year -- land the top players targeted and go from there. One lineman with the ability to contribute if necessary would be ideal, but not pressing as seen from this distance. Riser is one of the top talents in the state regardless of position, but other than that, it will take some time for the other players to sort themselves out.