Before we start, a note: we are t-minus nine days until the 52nd edition of Dave Campbell’s Texas Football hits newsstands, and the exclusive cover reveal on TexasFootball.com on June 15. Starting tomorrow, we’re going to have a number of special features leading up to the release as a celebration of all things Texas Football. We’ll still be blogging any big news, and we’ll have more details on the countdown celebration to the reveal, but if you aren’t already, this is the perfect week to stay glued to TexasFootball.com!
The recruiting cycle is essentially twelve months long – recruits go by their own particular schedule. Some commit early, some commit on National Signing Day, some commit later than that. It’s especially hard to tell for blue chip recruits.
Which is why the past four days, which saw two of the state’s best recruits at the same position verbally commit to state schools, so extraordinary.
It started on June 2, when Waco La Vega tackle Michael Starts offered his verbal commitment to Texas Tech. Then, three days later on June 5, Pearland Dawson tackle Kennedy Estelle committed to Texas.
That’s two of the state’s top five or six offensive linemen in the 2012 class committing in the course of 96 hours. That’s astonishing.
Let’s start with Starts. At 6-4 and 282 pounds, the most notable thing about Starts is how well he moves. He’s got terrific mobility for a player his size. At the 3A level, Starts can physically dominate most of the defensive ends he faces. He needs some work on his technique, but Starts has all of the physical tools to be a standout on the Red Raiders’ offensive line for years.
That said, there might be a bit of a catch. Starts plays both ways at La Vega, as he also starts on the defensive line. There are reports that Starts is set on playing defense in college, and some schools that were after him – namely Texas, Texas A&M and Auburn – weren’t willing to promise that he’d be able to compete for a defensive spot. Tommy Tuberville’s staff at Texas Tech reportedly did, which may have become one of the deciding factors. Now, do not get me wrong: I am of the opinion that Starts would be a good, potentially very good, defensive lineman. But I am also of the opinion that Starts would be a very good, potentially great, offensive lineman. I would bet that while Tech offered Starts an opportunity to compete for a spot on the defensive line, Tommy Tuberville will at some point in the future have a discussion with Starts about where he can do the most good.
Regardless of all of that, Starts is a terrific get for Tommy Tuberville and Texas Tech. The circumstances aren’t necessarily created equal, but Texas Tech beat out Texas, Texas A&M, Baylor, Alabama, USC and many others for the services of Starts, and that cannot be understated.
Now, on to Kennedy Estelle. In short, before this weekend, if you wanted to argue that Kennedy Estelle was the state’s best uncommitted recruit, I’d probably agree (apologies to players like San Antonio Houston DE Javonte Magee and Crockett ATH Dominique Wheeler). There’s a whole lot to like about Estelle, starting with his size. At 6-7, 300 pounds, that is the size that you look for in an NFL tackle, not just a college tackle. He’s got terrific feet, a great grasp for the game and upside from here to the moon. You could argue that Kennedy Estelle is the offensive line version of Denton Ryan DE Mario Edwards, in that they share a jaw-dropping size-to-athleticism ratio.
And now, all of a sudden, look at Texas’ 2012 class. There’s no arguing that a faulty offensive line led to a lot of the Longhorns’ woes last season. So, what’d they do? They got a legitimate stud in Estelle, a legitimate stud in DeSoto OL Curtis Riser and a legitimate stud in Harker Heights OL Camrhon Hughes. At the very worst, Texas has landed verbal commitments from three of the top four linemen in the state, and that is impressive. As I’ve written (and caught grief for from Longhorns fans) before, Texas has not developed its offensive line prospects well in the past, so this guarantees nothing. But let’s put it this way: if even just two of this Texas Trio of Tremor (trademark Greg Tepper, 2011) pans out, the Longhorns’ offensive line could be one of the nation’s best.
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