WHAT’S IMADE STEPPING INTO?
Texas has a new position coach (goodbye, Joe Wickline; hello, Matt Mattox), but holes to fill beyond incumbent starter Patrick Vahe, who had a strong freshman year at right guard. There was initial talk that maybe Vahe would be moved to center — his high school position — with Taylor Doyle’s departure, but it now sounds like he’ll stay at guard. There’s a reason why the Horns signed three guards this year: They need ‘em.
RECENT HISTORY: GUARDS
Texas’ top Gs
The Longhorns’ top-performing guards and freshmen guards over the past three years:
2015: Sedrick Flowers, who started 11 of 12 games at LG; freshman — Patrick Vahe, who had 10 starts at RG and earned freshman All-American honors
2014: Kent Perkins, who was moved from his more natural tackle spot and started 10 games at RG; freshman — None
2013: Mason Walters, an OL stalwart at UT; freshman — Curtis Riser, though he played in only four games
Freshmen on the field
The Longhorns played 16 freshmen in 2015, which led the nation. That included Vahe, who found himself in the starting lineup Day 1 in South Bend and secured his spot at right guard.
RECENT SIGNINGS: GUARDS
The last 10 guards Texas has signed. The Horns inked three in this year’s class. Why so many? Depth issues, which will happen when you sign two of the nation’s top 14 guard prospects in 2013, but neither is on campus anymore. Texas is hoping it can repeat its 2015 magic, when Vahe came in to shore up a starting spot as a freshman. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite ratings:
2016: Denzel Okafor, Lewisville (4). Rated as the 13th best guard prospect in the country. He should play as a freshman.
2016: Tope Imade, Arlington Bowie (3). Comes in with solid credentials for a line needing help. He’ll get a chance to play.
2016: Zach Shackelford, Belton (3). How under-the-radar was he? Shackelford didn’t even register a national recruit ranking. But he is already on campus, so that’s a plus …
2015: Patrick Vahe, Euless Trinity (4). Was considered a center on signing day because that’s what he played in high school, but started every game his freshman year at right guard. Looks like he’ll stay there.
2015: Garrett Thomas, Many, La. (3). Redshirted last year.
2014: Alex Anderson, New Orleans Walker (3). Redshirted in 2014, never played in 2015.
2013: Darius James, Harker Heights (5). Another highly-rated prospect (James was the country’s No. 1 guard prospect in 2013) who’s no longer a Longhorn; he got two starts at tackle, not guard, in 2014 and ended up transferring to Auburn, where he sat out last season.
2013: Rami Hammad, Irving (4). Hammad, who was originally a Baylor commitment before signing with Texas, reportedly butted heads with former OL coach Joe Wickline at Texas. He transferred to Baylor right before the 2014 season, losing that year of eligibility after redshirting at UT in 2013, and is now a backup for the Bears.
2012: Curtis Riser, DeSoto (4). Never lived up to his No. 4 national position ranking on signing day. He redshirted, then played in only four games in 2013, then got lost in the line shuffle with the new coaching staff in 2014. He transferred to Sam Houston State in January 2015.
2011: Sedrick Flowers, Galena Park North Shore (4). The nation’s No. 2-rated guard coming out of high school, Flowers ended up starting all but one game his final two seasons, all at left guard. That LG spot is a hole the Horns now have to fill.
For a full profile on Imade as part of our Longhorns Class of 2016 series, click here.
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