Evaluating OL Recruits

Discussion in 'Recruiting' started by Chop, Feb 25, 2019.

  1. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    I seems to me that OL are notoriously tough to evaluate and project. Below is a laundry list of evaluation points I can think of. I'm interested in hearing opinions on: what's the most important, what doesn't matter so much, what else do you look for, do the camps matter as much as the film (or more), how do you distinguish between similarly-ranked OL recruits. Some factors I would think come in:

    A. From the film
    - Quickness off the line
    - Bend of knees/body, staying low/not standing up off the ball
    - Initial punch
    - Footwork
    - Handwork
    - Getting to the 2nd level to block LBs or DBs
    - Power drive-blocking / pancaking
    - Picking up the blitz
    - Blocking the right person
    - Pulling
    - Lateral slide
    - Double teaming
    - Meanness
    - Level of competition

    B. Camp performance

    C. Physical stats
    - Height
    - Weight
    - Armspan
    - Bench
    - Squat
    - 40 yd dash
    - 20 yd dash
    - Shuttle
    - Body fat
    - Flexibility
    - Endurance/conditioning
    - Speed for his size
    - Forearm measurements :yes:

    D. Projected physical stats
    - Not "maxed out" yet body and frame
    - Young for his grade
    - Hasn't benefited yet from good weight training
    - Hasn't played football for many years

    Your thoughts? :bevo:
  2. rick mueller

    rick mueller Burnt Orange Bleeder

    In addition to all that, o-linemen have to be very intelligent and capable of making very quick and accurate decisions. They are second only to QB's in this regard. Very tough to get all of the above plus intelligence in one package.
  3. Austin_Bill

    Austin_Bill 2,500+ Posts

    When I look at an offensive linemen here is what I look at.

    Run blocking.
    What is his first movement? Does he fire off like a sprinter, low and with good drive, or does he stand up. The problem with big guys is they are playing the high school game against guys who are so much smaller than them, they can crush these guys without trying, so they don't use good technique.

    However this isn't how they are taught, if you are a normal offensive linemen you get results by using good technique and being tenacious. I'm impressed when I see a big man use good technique and can be aggressive until the whistle blows.

    Pass blocking

    Two things make the biggest difference. lateral movement. and a good punch. The technique part is about the leg bend, but the true talent is the guys lateral quickness. The punch part is easily developed, make him do a lot of push ups he will learn how to punch. You can't really teach quickness, he has it or he doesn't.

    Keep this in mind, I think the two most valuable things about a linemen is, Is he coachable and is he aggressive. Give me a coach that knows how to teach someone to play the position and give me a kid who will run through a wall for his coach and is aggressive, and that coach will turn him into a effective linemen.

    What I look for in a linemen. How tall is he at his shoulder level. That is more important than overall height. lots of guys are tall because of the length of their neck and size of their head. eliminate those two and you have his football height.

    Next thing I look at is his shoulder width, it tells me how much weight his body will carry. Anyone can be fat, but how much good weight can he carry. Along with this is the width of his wrists. It's test for bone density. Thick bones means a stronger frame that can carry more muscle.

    If I was recruiting a linemen I want to know how much he can deadlift and squat. I could care less about bench press, it's the most useless lift there is. I am more impressed with how many pushups a guy can do much more than his bench press. If I pointed out a 3rd lift, it would be shoulder press. Shoulder strength is much more important that chest strength.

    That is the things I look at, keep in mind, you don't learn much by watching a linemen in highlights, it gives you a glimpse of what he can do, but it doesn't tell the whole picture. I want to see the whole picture and you only get that by watching game film.
  4. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    Nice feedback. Never would have thought of shoulder height and width, shoulder press, or wrist width.

    I think a lot of squads now also consider standing broad jump (explosiveness) and vertical jump for linemen as well as 'skill' players.
  5. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    No doubt. It doesn't matter how talented an OL is if he doesn't identify the right guy to block (often in a split second) and the guy he was supposed to block sacks the QB.
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  6. ViperHorn

    ViperHorn 5,000+ Posts

    It is a very simple process - ENGAGE, ENGAGE, ENGAGE - that like a lot of simple things is very complex.
  7. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    You've got to also like the OL who, if there's nobody where he's at (after pulling, pass protection, etc.), he actively goes and finds someone to knock flat on his butt. I guess that fits in with the meanness factor.
  8. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    Here's a quote from another thread re: OL commit Garth:

    "Here is Charles Power (natl 247 guy) on the Garth ranking bump:

    'The spring and senior season are big for evaluating offensive linemen, given the position's more gradual developmental nature. Much of this update is based off of the junior season. In Garth's case, he really impressed with his fluidity in his pass set and moving at the second level. He already has a smooth kickslide and gets nice depth in pass protection. He also has some nice strength and finishing ability for a prospect who is young for the class.' "

    Sounds like a lot of what you're saying, just using some different terminology here and there. Garth's publicly-available film looked good to me with massive upside discernable. Though I'm not from the Golden Triangle, I have much respect for the level of competition in that corner of the State that Garth faces.
  9. Chop

    Chop 2,500+ Posts

    I’m considering two divergent outlooks for picking OL recruits:

    (1) get the guy with the best frame and physical ‘ceiling’ that can be developed in college; and

    (2) get the guy with the best technique, assuming he meets the minimum size and frame for development into a major college OL with S&C.

    Of course, it’s great to get an OL recruit who has it all, but guys like Justin Blalock are rare and exotic birds indeed.

    In the past, I’ve been more in camp (1). My thinking was that you get the guy with the best ‘metal’ and you refine that metal into the good college lineman. You can teach the techniques in college, provided his quickness is at least decent.

    Considering our current OL though, assuming we count Braun (he may only play several games and redshirt?), then I’m confident to say that our two best OL are clearly Cosmi and Braun. They are both superior technique guys with physical stats that are not overwhelming or impressive—although Cosmi is tall. It’s altered my outlook a bit on this.
  10. Austin_Bill

    Austin_Bill 2,500+ Posts

    Braun has had 3 years to perfect his run blocking technique, but virtually none to work on his pass blocking. Of course GTU did some passing but it wasn't very much.

    This means that Parker is going to have to work extra hard to develop as a pass blocker. Don't be surprised if some of his pass blocking looks a lot like Vahe. What I'm saying is Parker as a pass blocker is going to be a work in progress. This is why I think he should be on the right side not the left. The right side is generally the run blocking side while the left is generally made up of the better pass blockers. Three of our 5 offensive linemen as pretty much set in stone. I might say 4 but Kerrstetter is an unknown where he will end up. The real biggest question is who is going to be the Right tackle. This would be a great time for one of our bigs to take a big leap. Maybe Angilau or Reese Moore. I like Okafor as a guard or a backup tackle but not as a starting tackle.

    I would like to see us have 8 offenssive linemen that we can consider starters. The main candidates are.

    Cosmi, Braun, Shackleford, Kerrstetter, Angilau, Okafor, Moore, and maybe Urquidez, or Imade.

    This is the most depth I've seen on the Texas offensive line since back around 2k5.
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