North Mesquite offensive tackle Jean Delance, one of Charlie Strong's prized 2016 commits, officially joins the Texas Longhorns after signing his National Letter of Intent on Wednesday:
The consensus four-star offensive tackle will come to Austin as the nation's No. 12 offensive tackle, the No. 19 player in Texas, and the No. 116 overall player in the country, per 247Sports composite rankings. After compiling an impressive collection of 26 offers, which included Alabama, LSU, Oklahoma, Michigan, and Baylor, Delance committed to Texas over LSU and Michigan at the 2016 Under Armor All-American game January 2. The Tigers, Wolverines, and Longhorns were the only three programs to receive official visits from Delance.
Even as a true freshman, Delance will have an opportunity to battle for a starting role opposite of left tackle, and Freshman All-American Connor Williams. New offensive line coach, Matt Mattox, will be tasked with replacing two starters from last season with left guard, Sedrick Flowers, and center, Taylor Doyle, having graduated. It's anyone's guess at to what the starting line unit ultimately will look like when Notre Dame comes to town, but there are now two holes to fill around Williams, Freshman All-American right guard, Patrick Vahe, and senior right tackle, Kent Perkins. Both Vahe, and Perkins are subject to moving, which would open up the opportunity for Delance to compete for the right tackle job.
Based on Delance's skill set, that's a positional battle that may very well end in his favor. At 6-5, 291 pounds with great overall length, Delance has an ideal frame to add a bit of bulk over the next few seasons, but is stout enough to effectively contribute immediately. Delance is a high-level athlete with tremendous footwork in pass protection, and his quickness makes it difficult to beat him around the edge. In the running game, Delance has proven to be a powerful force with a bit of a nasty edge, finishing plays through the whistle and making sure defenders stay down. Often times, you'll see him still driving his assignment 8-10 yards down, and stays engaged past first blocks as a lead blocker downfield.
As noted, Texas has two gaps to fill on the offensive line, and as the most polished lineman commit entering Austin in 2016, it shouldn't take long for Delance to see starting reps alongside Williams, Vahe, and Perkins.