For the second straight year, the Texas Longhorns added one of the top graduate transfer offensive linemen around college football, as former Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets offensive guard Parker Braun committed to head coach Tom Herman and offensive line coach Herb Hand on Sunday after a weekend official visit, according to Jason Suchomel of Orangebloods:
Per a family member of his, graduate transfer OL Parker Braun has committed to Texas. Braun was a two-time all ACC selection at Georgia Tech.— Jason Suchomel (@OB_JasonS) March 3, 2019
As Suchomel mentioned, Braun was a two-time All-ACC selection during his three years at Georgia Tech and immediately became a coveted prospect nationally when he announced his intentions to leave Atlanta in late January.
On track to graduate in May, Braun is a literature, media, and communication major who is a two-time member of the ACC academic honor roll. He has one year of eligibility remaining.
Braun grew up in the state of Florida, where his father is currently the athletic director and assistant head coach at Suwanee High School in Live Oak. His younger brother, Joshua, is a consensus four-star offensive tackle in the 2020 class who plays for his father at Suwanee. However, the elder Braun also spent a year as the offensive line coach at Hallsville, where Parker played his senior season.
So the family has some ties to both states, but the ties to Florida are much stronger, which helps explain why Braun took a visit to Gainesville and why the Gators were considered a top contender. Braun had also intended to visit Auburn and was trying to set up a visit to Ohio State.
With two open guard spots, however, Texas was able to offer a path to playing time, as well as the high-level coaching of Hand. The program’s success last season and overall positive trajectory could combine with the success of Calvin Anderson as a fellow graduate transfer offensive lineman to provide an appealing situation for Braun.
As arguably the best graduate transfer offensive guard on the market — and perhaps the best offensive lineman overall — Braun could immediately elevate guard play for the Horns over what Hand was able to get last season from Patrick Vahe, Elijah Rodriguez, and, in a much smaller capacity, Derek Kerstetter.
In fact, the AJC called him one of the team’s best players and one of the best linemen in the Paul Johnson era.
Known for his motor, agility, and power, Braun doesn’t have a lot of experience in pass protection after playing in Johnson’s Flexbone offense, so that’s a potential concern. However, at 6’3 and 280 pounds, Braun has the feet and athleticism to adjust to pass protecting more often, as well as the technique that one would expect from a player coached by his father and from a family of offensive linemen, including his older brother, Trey, who also played at Georgia Tech.
In addition to technique, Braun’s motor and quickness jump out on film — he’s always hustling trying to make an extra block and gets there in a hurry since he’s so lean. As a pulling guard, he can get to the second level quickly, which could make him an asset in the running back and wide receiver screen game.
Braun has discussed the need to add strength and weight to his frame to compete in a different offense and is considering a redshirt season, but the guess here is that Braun will be able to earn a starting job with the Longhorns this season after arriving on campus during the summer.