RECENT HISTORY: GUARDS
Texas’ top guards
The Longhorns’ top-performing guards and freshmen guards over the past four years:
2013: The top guard — Mason Walters, an OL stalwart at UT; top freshman — Curtis Riser, though he played in only four games.
2014: The top guard — Kent Perkins, who was moved from his more natural tackle spot and started 10 games at RG; top freshman — None.
2015: The top guard — Sedrick Flowers, who started 11 of 12 games at LG; top freshman — Patrick Vahe, who had 10 starts at RG and earned freshman All-American honors.
2016: The top guard — Kent Perkins, who finished his career at right guard and ended up signing a free agent contract with the Oakland Raiders; top freshman — Denzel Okafor, who played special teams and on 18-Wheeler package plays.
Freshmen on the field
Texas signed three guards for the 2016 class; one didn’t play at all, one hardly played at all, and one played a lot — just not as a guard. Derek Kerstetter was a tackle during his three years of high school, but is projected to play on the interior in college. Numbers in parenthesis reflect that player’s star rating from 247Sports’ composite ratings:
2017: Derek Kerstetter, San Antonio Reagan (3). Texas flipped him from Oklahoma State about a month after Tom Herman arrived. Committed to Texas on the day after Christmas.
2016: Samuel Cosmi, Humble(3). By most accounts he was supposed to be a Houston Cougar, not a Texas Longhorn. He didn’t even receive a Texas offer until the week before signing day, and he backed away from his Cougars’ pledge the day before signing day.
2016: Denzel Okafor, Lewisville (4). Rated as the 13th best guard prospect in the country. He found his way into Tyrone Swoopes’ 18-Wheeler package rotation as a freshman.
2016: Tope Imade, Arlington Bowie (3). Arrived with solid credentials for a line that was needing help. But he ended up redshirting last fall.
2016: Zach Shackelford, Belton (3). How under-the-radar was he? Shackelford didn’t even register a national recruit ranking. But enrolling early and going through spring football paid off; Shackelford ended up moving to center and was the Longhorns’ starter there as a freshman.
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. He played on the left side in 2016, where he worked his way in and out of the coaches’ doghouse.
2015: Garrett Thomas, Many, La. (3). A work in progress. Redshirted in 2015. Got into only one game in 2016, the blowout win over UTEP.
2014: Alex Anderson, New Orleans Walker (3). See Garrett Thomas. Anderson actually was an early enrollee in 2014 and went through spring football, but ended up redshirting anyway. And he simply never played in 2015. Got into six games in 2016, including one start (UTEP).
2013: Darius James, Harker Heights (5). Your senior starter at tackle … for the Auburn Tigers. James was the country’s No. 1 guard recruit when he signed with Texas in 2013, but never found his footing with the Longhorns. He started two games at tackle in 2014, then transferred out of UT and landed at Auburn. James sat out all of 2015, then ended up starting eight games of 2016 at tackle. He’s entering his final season in 2017.
2013: Rami Hammad, Irving (4). The once, future and once again Baylor Bear. Hammad had committed to the Bears in high school but flipped to Texas back in 2013. But he reportedly clashed with UT offensive line coach Joe Wickline, redshirted his freshman year and transferred to Baylor right before the 2014 season, losing that year of eligibility. Was a Bears backup in 2015 before things really went south in 2016. During a toxic period on the Waco campus, Hammad was arrested on charges of criminal trespassing in early August. Baylor suspended him.
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, starting six games for the Bearkats. Finished his SHSU career last fall.
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.
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