When Fort Worth All Saints defensive end Max Cummins started playing football in the first grade, it was for the Longhorns. In college, the same will be true, as the consensus three-star prospect signed with the Texas Longhorns, fulfilling a lifelong dream to play Division I college football.
The 6’6, 255-pounder didn’t need much time before deciding that he wanted to continue his football career at Texas — when defensive line coach Oscar Giles visited Cummins at his home in Fort Worth on January 17, the rising prospect figured that he was going to receive an offer.
Once he did, he quickly shut down his recruiting process, committing to the ‘Horns and then taking his official visit to Austin the following weekend.
“(Coach Giles) basically told me Texas was going to offer me, and I was under the impression they were," Cummins told Horns Digest. "I had already talked to my family and coaches and decided if that offer were to come, I would probably commit."
Like many other prospects in the 2017 recruiting class for head coach Tom Herman, Cummins believes in the program’s future.
"To have the chance to come into a program, get legit playing time against legit competition and be able to build something from the ground up, I really am looking forward to that."
Cummins chose Texas over recent offers from Houston and Baylor. Before committing to the ‘Horns, he was also receiving interest from the Horned Frogs. December saw a short-lived pledge to UConn, but the big defensive end decided to open his recruitment once again after the coaching change in Storrs.
Ranked as a consensus three-star prospect, Cummins is the No. 1,612 prospect nationally, the No. 76 strong-side defensive end, and the No. 218 player in the state of Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.
However, like many of the players in the class, Cummins is more valuable to Texas than his rankings might indicate — he’s strong fit in the multiple 3-4 defense employed by coordinator Todd Orlando because he can play multiple spots along the defensive line and could even grow into a three-technique defensive tackle.
One thing that makes Cummins an attractive prospect is his strength despite not being a long way from maxing out his frame — he can squat 570 pounds and bench press 340 pounds while reporting a 4.16 shuttle and 4.8 40-yard dash.
A move from St. Andrew’s in Austin, where Cummins played defensive end and tight end, to All Saints allowed him to play against a higher level of competition and show significant improvement as a defensive end.
Notably, All Saints played against Houston Episcopal last fall, which afforded Cummins the opportunity to go against consensus five-star offensive tackle Walker Little, who is widely regarded as a can’t-miss prospect.
On at least one play, Cummins demonstrated some incredible punch to dislocate Little, knocking him well into the opposing backfield.
Texas' newest commit, Max Cummins, vs. 247's No. 2 player in the country. Holy ****. pic.twitter.com/hQabeU3NHB— Ryan Bridges (@RyanBridgesCFB) January 18, 2017
As an evaluator, there are certain plays that demonstrate a prospect’s upside when placed into context and there’s no question that Cummins being able to do that to Little is evidence of that upside.
During the 2016 season, Cummins played inside and outside for All Saints, at times lining up with his hand on the group or in a two-point stance. His quickness looked impressive off the edge — slightly improved from his junior season, for sure. At the point of attack, Cummins also displayed some physicality in navigating through traffic.
Here’s some further evaluation from HornSports:
Cummins has great size at 6’6 250 lbs., with room to add weight and play above 270. He has great length with long arms and wide shoulders. Cummins moves well for his size, and he shows a good ability to bend and move laterally. He shows strong hands, but he doesn’t always use them consistently on film. When he does use them well he’s able to stun offensive lineman and put them on their heels. Cummins anchors well against the run, and drives his feet to get to the ball carrier. He shows a decent first step off the line, and pursues with a motor that doesn’t quit. He plays with great intensity and intelligence, and shows the ability to drop in coverage from time to time
He’ll likely need a redshirt season to adjust to the college game and get stronger under strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight, but Cummins has the profile of defensive ends like Breckyn Hager and Malcolm Roach who weren’t highly rated, but were able to make an impact for the Longhorns.