On Wednesday, the Texas Longhorns received a big boost to the 2018 offensive line class when Salt Lake City (Utah) East standout Junior Angilau inked with the ‘Horns:
Head coach Tom Herman helped secure the pledge on December 11 during an in-home visit following an excellent recruiting pitch from offensive line coach Derek Warehime. There was also a family tie, as Angilau is the cousin of junior offensive guard Patrick Vahe.
The 6’6, 297-pound Angilau, who is a 2018 US Army All-American, took his official visit to Austin for the post-Thanksgiving game against Texas Tech and also visited during the spring. Angilau held 19 other offers, including Alabama, Arizona, Arizona State, Oregon, UCLA, USC, Utah, Washington, and Wisconsin.
Prior to the pledge from Angilau, the Utes were considered the other serious contender, with the Ducks and Trojans also in the mix.
A consensus four-star prospect, Angilau is the No. 155 player nationally, the No. 11 offensive tackle, and the No. 3 player in Utah, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
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.
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.