Texas offensive line coach Herb Hand runs through drills during a practice at the Denius Fields on Aug. 3, 2018. RICARDO B. BRAZZIELL / AMERICAN-STATESMAN

Football

Commitment 101: Texas adds potential depth with JUCO offensive tackle Willie Tyler

Posted March 4th, 2019

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Texas added another piece to the offensive line for the 2019 season Monday afternoon when Iowa Western C.C. offensive tackle Willie Tyler pledged to the Longhorns over West Virginia and Louisiana Tech. The 6-7, 330-pound prospect is originally from Wisconsin and picked up an offer Texas last week.

The Longhorns added Georgia Tech grad transfer Parker Braun to the offensive line room yesterday, giving Herb Hand some real, experienced talent to work with at guard. Tyler arrives to add immediate depth and to compete for playing time at right tackle with Samuel Cosmi expected to switch to left tackle.

Tyler is expected to transfer in May and has four years to use three seasons of eligibility, meaning a redshirt in 2019 isn’t out of the question if Hand and Tom Herman feel comfortable with the group of young offensive linemen already on campus.

Skill set: Tyler is a big-bodied prospect who looks the part for a true offensive tackle with his height and long wingspan. He moves well for a big man, but he’s never faced the type of competition he’ll face on Texas’ campus and in games. He may need a year to rework his body with strength and conditioning coach Yancy McKnight before he’s truly ready to compete for a spot on the two-deep. Texas does have a hole to fill at one of the tackle positions with the departure of Calvin Anderson, so snaps are available if Tyler arrives on campus ready to contribute.

Immediate impact: Tyler’s immediate impact depends on offensive line coach Herb Hand’s perception of what he already has on campus. If Hand feels good about his depth heading into 2019, Tyler can take his time and possibly redshirt in 2019. If Hand needs able bodies, Tyler gets a chance to compete for a role on the two-deep at either offensive tackle position.

Fitting into the program: Offensive line is the toughest position to recruit because of the variables included with big men’s development. That means the JUCO and grad transfers ranks are the easiest and most efficient way to fill voids within a roster. Texas did that masterfully in 2018 when Anderson transferred from Rice and manned the left tackle spot all season. The Longhorns hope they pulled a similar trick with Braun and Tyler.

Recruiting at the position: Add Braun and Tyler to the mix and Texas essentially signed five offensive linemen in the 2019 cycle. Braun is an instant impact player with the potential to start at guard for Texas in 2019. Tyler is more of an unknown with his role likely to be determined by his shape when he shows up to campus in the summer. Texas already holds three offensive line commitments in the 2020 cycle.

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