At 6’6 and a lean 300 pounds, offensive tackle JP Urquidez looks the part. He’s also a member of the Texas Longhorns after signing a financial aid agreement and enrolling in Austin for the second summer session.
Along with Under Armour All-American Jean Delance, Urquidez is the second pure offensive tackle taken by the Longhorns in the 2016 class, joining an increasingly deep group that also includes a number of second-year players battling for position — redshirt freshmen Buck Major and Garrett Thomas and junior Tristan Nickelson.
It’s been a need position for years and the addition of Urquidez is important to establishing long-term depth. He may even be able to redshirt this season to protect his development.
A Semper Fi All-American and consensus four-star prospect, Urquidez was the No. 245 player nationally, the No. 22 offensive tackle, and the No. 37 recruit in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
The key thing to note is that the services had some considerable disagreement about the Copperas Cove product — Rivals ranked him as the No. 9 offensive tackle, while 247Sports slotted him at No. 49, a huge difference.
A coach interviewed by Inside Texas seems to side with 247Sports:
To be honest, I am not too high on him right now. While he has the ideal size you want in an offensive tackle, he doesn’t really blow you away in the run game or in pass protection. He is a guy an offensive line coach will take and bank that he can turn him into a player, because right now it looks like his best football is years in front of him. As is, I see him as a guy that needs at least 2-3 years of molding before I am giving him reps in the 2-deep.
It’s possible that former Texas offensive line coach Joe Wickline shared a similar opinion, as there was some thought that the ‘Horns backed off of Urquidez prior to his summer 2015 commitment to the Bears.
But when new position coach Matt Mattox arrived at Texas in December, he made the big offensive tackle a priority, so he clearly has confidence that he can shape Urquidez into a starting-caliber player.
The sense, then, is that Urquidez is a prospect with a relatively low floor and high ceiling. He does look the part, after all, and can move.
In terms of weaknesses, former Longhorns offensive lineman Chris Hall points out that Urquidez needs to keep his feet moving when he’s acquiring defenders in some space.
To repeat the common refrain with all high school linemen, Urquidez also has a tendency to play high at times, which limits the power of his punch because he doesn’t aid it with explosion from his lower body.
If that’s evidence of poor flexibility, his upside is rather limited by that, because he won’t be able to sink in pass protection to remain balanced and will struggle to win leverage battles in college.
Perhaps it is simply technique.
And Urquidez does seem to care about football, as evidenced by his hard work in the weight room and ability to avoid carrying bad weight. He shows some toughness and is willing to work hard, though his efforts don’t quite always translate to the overall nastiness of his fellow Central Texas product, center Zach Shackelford of Belton.
Overall, some important tools are there for Urquidez and he reduces the overall margin for error in recruiting and development at offensive tackle. If Mattox can grow Urquidez like Randy Clements has brought along similar players at Baylor, Texas may have an important asset at a time when the program looks primed to peak.