If you were to describe the perfect offensive lineman, it would sound something like this:
Around 6’6′ – 6’8″
Over 300 Pounds
Athletically built-not sloppy
Big enough to hold hid ground against the pass rush
Fast enough to get to the second level on run plays
Strong enough to pancake a defensive end
All these things can be said about the newest member of the 2013 Longhorn football team, Desmond Harrison. Harrison’s arrival can not come soon enough for a Texas team that desperately needs a dose of nastiness in the offensive line.
The time and effort that offensive line coach Stacy Searels and Offensive Coordinator Major Applewhite expended to land Harrison shows just how much of a priority solidifying the tackle position is for 2013. Having Desmond Harrison on campus makes EVERYONE better and here’s why:
Championship teams are built from the inside out-specifically the offensive line.
A strong offensive line extends drives: punts become field goals; field goal become touchdowns. More touchdowns leads to more victories. Victories are a good thing. They keep people employed. They keep fan bases happy. They keep stadiums full. They keep bank accounts full.
Jonathan Gray and Malcolm Brown have larger holes to run through. Bigger holes mean more rushing yards. High rushing totals allows for play action passing. Ash is a much better quarterback when there is a running game that can put up big numbers.
David Ash has more time to progress through his reads and has larger throwing lanes. A comfortable David Ash with wide throwing lanes makes Jaxon Shipley and Mike Davis better receivers.
Extended drives leads to a rested defense. If their offense isn’t on the field, that severely restricts the other team’s ability to score points.
Adding Harrison will lead to some changes in the offensive line depth chart. If Harrison is everything he’s expected be, he’s penciled in as the starting left tackle from day one. This will prompt last year’s Juco signee, Donald Hawkins to shift inside to either guard or center. Another possibility at the center position would be Mason Walters. Either would be an upgrade over incumbent Dom Espinosa, who was often over powered by the bull rush and lacked the speed to get to the second level. Not to mention the debacle that was the West Virginia game, but there’s no reason to beat a dead horse here.
Is Harrison a sure fire starting left tackle in the NFL? If I could answer that with any degree of certainty my bank account would look much more attractive than it does now. However, I can saw with a high level of confidence that he has enough God-given athletic ability to have a chance to hold up a jersey at the draft and flash a Hook ‘Em for the cameras.
The question surrounding Desmond Harrison is the same one that has surrounded every other elite prospect that has walked into DKR: Will that talent be developed to its full potential? Will he get stronger? Will he get faster? Will his tendency to play too tall and rely on his freakish athletic ability be corralled and coached into flawless technique paired with unreal athleticism?
I have faith in Stacy Searels, Major Applewhite, and Bennie Wylie. I am supremely confident that Harrison is the real deal and will be an impact player from the first snap of the 2013 season.
Take a look at his film (#68) and see what you think. Please feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments. Let me know what you think his impact will be and who he reminds you of: