In July, the Texas Longhorns made the decision to move redshirt freshman Tope Imade from the offensive line to the defensive line in order to shore up depth following the spring departures of Jordan Elliott and Marcel Southall.
However, there were hardly any guarantees that the move would pay dividends — position changes often result in players getting buried on the depth and eventually washing out of the program.
Sometimes position changes work, though, as in the case of offensive lineman Jake McMillon, who arrived at Texas as a defensive end, moved to defensive tackle, then switched sides of the ball. The Abilene product is now an indispensable part of the offensive line.
Head coach Tom Herman is hoping that Imade can become a success story like McMillon.
And through the early part of practice, the returns have been positive, as Herman indicated on Wednesday.
“He got a lot of reps on Saturday,” Herman said. “He's a big, good looking dude that's got some intelligence about him, that's got some twitch to him.”
For a former offensive lineman who arrived at Texas around 330 pounds and is now listed at 315 pounds, the biggest question about his transition was whether he’s athletic enough off the ball to have an impact.
Based on Herman’s comment, it sounds like the answer is to the affirmative.
As a result, the head coach made a note while watching Imade in practice — “We’ve got to find a way to make Tope a player.”
“So we're going to talk about that in our staff meeting, and whether that happens this year, I mean he's a redshirt freshman that played offensive line for an entire year and some change, but happy with that move at this point and he's got to do the things that we're asking him to do to develop as a defensive lineman, but I think that the talent is there,” he said.