Football

Cosmi’s two-year development good reason for third season excitement

Samuel Cosmi (Will Gallagher/IT)
Samuel Cosmi (Will Gallagher/IT)

There is good reason to have high expectations for sophomore offensive tackle Samuel Cosmi if his development prior to his third season at Texas is similar to the development during his first two.

Cosmi, a member of Texas’ 2017 class, was not a prospect the public nor major recruiting networks viewed highly. He was left out of the composite rankings’ top 1000 and 247Sports’ own top 1500. Texas head coach Tom Herman and assistant coach Derek Warehime, who recruited Cosmi to play for them at Houston, requested the three-star’s services upon their arrival to Texas.

Cosmi de-committed from UH and signed with the Longhorns. Of the two offensive linemen in the Class of 2017, he was the least likely to see the field early. Cosmi arrived in Austin weighing about 260 pounds while Derek Kerstetter showed up just shy of 300 pounds.

Along with several others in his class, Cosmi was part of the redshirting players’ additional lift day on Fridays during game weeks. Those who expected to play participated in Family Friday, but Cosmi, Jordan Pouncey, Montrell Estell, and Reese Leitao among others had additional time with strength coach Yancy McKnight.

As one of the scout team tackles, Cosmi drew rave reviews from behind the scenes. Both linemen from the 2017 class showed promise, but since the coaches decided to burn Kerstetter’s redshirt at Iowa State, they let Cosmi hold onto his for the remainder of Herman’s first season.

The extra lifting, college nutrition, and work from Cosmi jumped his weight up 35 pounds to the 295 he was listed at prior to 2018, his redshirt freshman season.

Calvin Anderson’s summer arrival in 2018 made him the almost-certain replacement for the drafted Connor Williams at left tackle. Right tackle remained up for grabs between Cosmi, Kerstetter, and Denzel Okafor.

Kerstetter received the start at right tackle in the 2018 opener at Maryland, but Cosmi took his spot midway through the game at FedEx Field and held onto it all the way through the Sugar Bowl.

Anderson and Cosmi served as reliable bookends for the entirety of the 2018 season. IT’s Coach Venable issued only one failing grade to both players all season – Anderson’s performance against Texas Tech. Whether it was one of the opponents’ top rushers, a promising young player, or an experienced veteran, Cosmi was able play effectively against whoever was lined up across from him.

With Anderson off to the Patriots as an un-drafted free agent, Texas turned to Cosmi to be Sam Ehlinger’s blindside protection in 2019. The two Sams worked well together with both drawing high praise publicly and privately, giving Herman confidence that two of his returning offensive starters can be relied upon to perform at a high level in 2019.

There is an adjustment to be made going from right tackle to left tackle, but that adjustment is often overblown by fans. The movements are the same, just mirrored. Rather than an adjustment to new movements, Cosmi will have to adjust to teams sending their best pass-rusher on missions to get past him.

Texas has evidence he can do this at a serviceable level, and likely at a higher level than that. Sophomore Joseph Ossai, who made important plays in the final stretch of Texas’ 2018 season, might be the most skilled pass-rusher in the Longhorn program.

During the spring game, Cosmi had success against Ossai and other potential first-team Longhorn defenders.

Texas has placed a considerable amount of trust in Cosmi ahead of his redshirt sophomore season. If his development continues after stops on the scout and Freshman All-American teams, Cosmi could find himself owed major credit for a lot of Texas’ successes.