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Versatile, aggressive OL Derek Kerstetter signs with the Texas Longhorns

The 2017 US Army All-American flipped from the Cowboys in December.

derek kerstetter
Derek Kerstetter

The prospect of playing in the state of Texas was too much for San Antonio Reagan offensive lineman Derek Kerstetter, who signed with the Texas Longhorns on Wednesday, a little more than a month after flipping from the Oklahoma State Cowboys.

Originally recruited by new Longhorns head coach Tom Herman and position coach Derek Warehime at Houston, the 6’4.5, 299-pounder received his offer from the ‘Horns on December 16. Ten days later, he officially announced his clip from the Pokes.

Like several other prospects in the 2017 Texas recruiting class, Kerstetter did so without the benefit of an official visit, which he took in January. However, a previous visit to Austin, his relationship with the staff, and the proximity of the campus just up the road from San Antonio resulted in his quick decision.

The 2017 US Army All-American originally committed to head coach Mike Gundy’s program back in June, just a little more than a month after picking up his offer from the Cougars.

Ranked as a consensus three-star prospect, Kerstetter is the No. 608 player nationally, the No. 27 offensive tackle, and the No. 82 player in Texas, according to the 247Sports Composite rankings.

Viewed as an offensive tackle prior to the week of practice leading up to the Army Bowl, Kerstetter ended up quickly securing a position at right guard that he held down through the game itself.

Since he also spent some time at center, the Reagan product now looks like a swing player who could possibly play outside, but most likely profile as a Jake McMillon-type who could play all three interior positions.

When Alex Dunlap of Orangebloods was in San Antonio, he said that Kerstetter didn’t look like he had the arm length to remain outside at tackle in addition to struggling some in moving his feet in pass protection.

Where Kerstetter is really good right now is in moving his feet laterally when blocking in outside zone or coming downhill and blowing opponents off the ball at the first or second level.

Like Freshman All-American center Zach Shackelford, Kerstetter has a nasty streak and finishing ability that should project well to the interior in college.

Here are some further thoughts from CoachLamons:

Hand placement and general blocking technique are good, and when Kerstetter gets inside the pads, he is an extremely effective blocker, both on the first and second levels. Lastly, Kerstetter played for newly hired Baylor assistant, and well-respected head coach David Wetzel at Regan High School in San Antonio, so his football knowledge should be better than average.

The negatives with Kerstetter, as he points out, are issues in technique that are typical for high school offensive linemen:

Kerstetter needs to continue to develop his blocking form. He sometimes narrows his feet out of his stance, resulting in a high release from the line or excessive waste bend. This can also cause the hips to be out of alignment, reducing the hip recoil. Reduced hip recoil results in reduced punch on contact.

This issue, which is likely due to weight distribution in the stance, sometimes leads to incorrect hand and head placement. Kerstetter seems to have improved in this area from his junior to senior seasons, and also progressed adequately as his senior season progressed. With more reps, and the input of position coach Derek Warehime, Kerstetter should be able to resolve these issues and become a dominant blocker at the collegiate level.