SAN ANTONIO — Football success begins with a quality offensive line. Texas’ recent glory years were built around quality quarterbacks like Vince Young and Colt McCoy, sure, but those teams also possessed a physical and talented group of big guys in the trenches.
Tom Herman has inherited quite a bit of talent along his offensive line. Yet one of this top priorities is to add future depth to the existing core.
Derek Kerstetter, a San Antonio Reagan lineman who had been committed to Oklahoma State since last June, received contact from Texas days after Herman was named head coach in late November. He was recruited by Herman’s staff at Houston and had already built a strong relationship with UT assistant Derek Warehime, who’s now the Longhorns’ offensive line coach.
“He already knew me, and we had built up a relationship,” said Kerstetter, who will play in Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl. “It was big (to already have had that relationship). I obviously didn’t have to take that first step and introduce myself.”
The 6-5, 300-pound Kerstetter, a three-star lineman, spent most of his high school career playing left tackle but worked out at right guard during the all-star game’s practices earlier this week. That versatility makes him an intriguing prospect, and he said he’s not afraid to switch positions either for his all-star team or Texas. The Longhorns have mentioned both tackle and guard spots with him.
His length may be best suited for guard, though he showed the ability to handle pass-rushers from the tackle spot in high school.
“(I’ll play) anywhere I can get in and get playing time — guard, tackle, center, it doesn’t matter to me,” Kerstetter said.
Kerstetter isn’t just the only future Longhorn taking part in Saturday’s all-star game. He’s also the host city’s lone representative, something he said he’s not taking lightly.
“There are a lot of good players (in San Antonio) that might not get recruited around here because they may not have the size, but there are a lot of good players,” he said. “It’s an honor to come out represent the city and represent the troops. It’s going to be a fun time.”
Kerstetter, who’ll wear No. 68 on Saturday, will be a West squad teammate of two other Longhorns targets — Dallas Lancaster wide receiver Omar Manning, who’s been pledged to TCU since October, and Los Angeles slot receiver Jamire Calvin. Calvin will announce his college decision during the game; he’s not expected to choose Texas, but has left open the possibility to visit UT before national signing day.