For Texas Longhorns offensive line coach Derek Warehime, the addition of Salt Lake City (Utah) East standout Junior Angilau was a significant coup on Monday, though the precise timing of Angilau’s arrival is still unknown.
According to a report from 247Sports, Angilau may leave for his two-year LDS mission in 2018, which would make him a member of the 2020 recruiting class and force the ‘Horns to recruit him once again when he returns.
As with California quarterback Tanner McKee, who currently remains uncommitted, Angilau’s status didn’t stop Warehime and head coach Tom Herman from pursuing him. And it’s possible that Angilau decides to enroll at Texas as a member of the 2018 recruiting class anyway.
Regardless of which class Angilau ends up in, expect Texas to continue searching for instant-impact offensive tackles in the 2018 class — though Angilau is ranked as an offensive tackle, he plays guard in high school and will likely remain at the position in college.
So the most unfortunate news here is that the Utah product doesn’t fill the biggest remaining need in the 2018 class even if he does enroll this summer.
At 6’6 and around 300 pounds, Angilau has the physical attributes of a tackle, including excellent quickness. He’s at his best when on the move, pulling across the formation or working to the second level. However, it’s not clear from his highlights whether he pass protects much — he may need some time to develop in that area even if he ends up at guard.
On one play early on his film, a defender tries to take out Angilau’s legs, only to have the big guard sink and finish that attempt, then plant his right foot and launch himself into another defender. When he acquires opponents, he can show the ability to explode through them.
Also a defensive tackle, Angilau knows how to use his hands to create separation and can play half a man to exploit gaps — it’s on this side of the ball that his shows his upside as a technician.
If he does end up going on his two-year mission, the biggest questions are whether he can continue to add strength and keep his weight down. And, of course, whether he’s still interested in becoming a Longhorn.
Herman and Warehime are clearly taking a long-term approach with Angilau, betting that he won’t change his mind if he doesn’t sign in 2018 and looking towards having a an extremely mature player in 2022 and 2023.
As the pursuit of junior college offensive tackles continues, there’s little risk here and plenty of upside because Angilau has ideal size and athleticism to eventually play at tackle or serve as a devastating pulling guard on power and counter.