Before the prized 2013 offensive line class even begins its first football season, the Longhorns are putting together a group in the 2015 class that could be even better.
Euless Trinity guard Patrick Vahe, ranked by both 247Sports and ESPN as a top 80 overall player nationally, pledged to the Longhorns on Sunday. Of Texas’ eight verbal commitments in the 2015 class, four are offensive linemen and all are among the top eight linemen in the state. Vahe (highlights) is No. 2 in Texas, behind only his cousin, fellow Longhorn pledge Maea Teuhema.
Vahe, a 6-foot-3, 280-pound four-star recruit, joins five-star tackle Teuhema, guard Aaron Garza and tackle Connor Lanfear.
“It feels great,” Garza said of being a part of such a talented position group. “It feels really amazing, but at the same time there’s going to be a lot of pressure, and we’ll kind of be under the microscope when we get there.”
The 2013 group of Kent Perkins, Darius James, Jake Raulerson, Rami Hammad and junior college transfer Desmond Harrison – on paper possibly the best lot during the Mack Brown era – will be feeling that pressure this fall. Harrison is expected to crack the starting lineup, but the four incoming freshmen will be battling it out to try to work their way up a depth chart that is now loaded with potential.
“Soft” has been a dirty word around the Forty Acres since 2010’s 5-7 debacle. Without a Heisman finalist under center following the 2009 season, UT’s lack of power on the line became a glaring weakness.
The 2015 class will be the fourth complete recruiting cycle for Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels. Depth on the roster is a huge reason why 2014 will be the only year in which Searels doesn’t sign at least two of the top three linemen in the state.
“He’s really likeable,” Garza said. “Just his energy – he’s just a good old country boy and I think the players can relate to it. He relates to players really well.”
Mack Brown has changed philosophies on how he wants his offense to run a few times since 2010, but a constant since the new assistants were hired in early 2011 has been to build the offensive line back up.
Searels appears to have taken that challenge to heart with the way he’s attacked the recruiting trail since arriving in Austin. The high school players he’s recruited haven’t cracked the starting lineup yet, but there is little doubt around the program that the underclassmen on the roster and the ones coming in will bring the UT line back to a level that will help the Horns contend for championships … soon.
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