Who knew the month of June would be hotbed recruiting season?
I loved Charlie Strong’s strategy back in February: “Take the defensive tackles, all of them.” I don’t think that’s a direct quote but it’s essentially what happened which is why I personally designed this celebratory photo — enjoy. I had no clue there’d be even more beef coming to the 40 Acres on the offensive side of the ball after signing day.
— Chris Hall (@crshall) February 3, 2016
As you know, the Longhorns already have hefty offensive line class for 2016. Coach Strong wanted depth, talent, and players who could immediately contribute on both sides of the line of scrimmage. That’s what he got. Tackle Jean Delance, guard/tackle Denzel Okafor, guard Tope Imade, and center Zach Shackelford should give fans plenty of hope for the Texas offense of the future. Don’t forget bruiser blocking tight end Peyton Aucoin who may end up playing tackle, either. Any latecomers on top of Texas’ already deep class among the hog-mollies is gravy. Naturally, I was excited when I heard the news this weekend about JP Urquidez and then 5-star Patrick Hudson joined the UT hogmollies today. This whole situation is unique for so many reasons and circumstances already. It was crazy to add Shackelford a week before he enrolled for the spring semester. To add JP and Hudson one summer session before fall camp is insane. I decided it was only fitting to do a deep-dive on both of these big men — it’s not often they’ll get spotlight in the future. I pulled up JP and Patrick’s hudl films and selected plays that highlight who and where they are as a player. Both are obviously high caliber offensive linemen with a lot of raw talent to work with. That “foundation” must be labored upon to fulfill the potential they have on the field. Remember, I’m watching for very specific things in offensive linemen. Seeing defenders fall down is not impressive to me — that should happen if you’re significantly bigger than you’re opponent as most D1 offensive line prospects are. I’m watching their feet, their technique, and the passion with which they play the game. Every player has both strengths and weaknesses; Urquidez and Hudson are no exception. That being said, any school in the country would jump at the chance to have them. I’m glad Texas does.
JP Urquidez Play #1: JP (#75) has a tendency to stop his feet at contact when pulling, a common problem — in college he’ll learn to accelerate his feet through the point of attack.
Play #2: JP plays high at times (like most offensive linemen his age and caliber) — in college he’ll need to develop a consistent lower pad level for leverage in running game.
Play #3: JP (left tackle) is a mauler; he loves to finish blocks — this style of play is an asset on any offense at any level.
Play #4: When the opportunity arises JP punishes his opponent — this is not dirty; this is football played well. I love it.
Play #5: JP needs to refine his footwork (shorter, ballistic steps rather than long strides) but effort overcomes a lot of things — love this result.
Play #1: Hudson plays 4A ball (what used to be known as 3A), so at first I questioned the level of competition he regularly faced — defenders often melt in front of him as you see below.
Play #2: Seeing Hudson’s cat-like athletic feet here was I all I needed to know — the big man can move; he’s absolutely the real deal.
Play #3: Hudson consistently plays with great pad level and buries opponents in the run game. It’s impressive.
Play #4: Hudson (LT #75) will need to work at his pass protection (like most offensive linemen coming out of high school) — gets the job done but the run game is much more his forte.
Play #5: Hudson has excellent feet, but, notice he stops them here momentarily at contact — he’ll need to break this habit on the collegiate level (where defenders are dramatically bigger, stronger, and faster).
Welcome to the 40 Acres, fellow o-lineman. Strong continues to build a monster from the inside-out.