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Friday, December 21, 2012
Roundtable: Jake Raulerson's position

By Max Olson and William Wilkerson

Every Friday, HornsNation recruiting writers William Wilkerson and Max Olson will answer a question about the Longhorns.

This week's question: Where should Texas commit Jake Raulerson start his Longhorns career?

Jake Raulerson
Jake Raulerson has the frame and the motor to excel at both offensive tackle and defensive end.
William Wilkerson: Jake Raulerson graduated from Celina High School on Thursday and will arrive in Austin within the first two weeks of January. When he gets to Texas, as he told me last week, don’t expect him to make many friends.

That’s not to say he’s not a likeable dude. He’s incredibly infectious and has been adorned by Longhorns faithful ever since he committed.

What he meant by that statement is he’s going to push his teammates to their brink from the moment he steps on campus. Picture Rudy in those practices at Notre Dame, except Raulerson is much bigger and far more talented.

Raulerson is going to start his ascent up the depth chart at defensive end, as the coaches told him during his official visit Dec. 7. And I think that’s the right move.

Truthfully, I don’t think there is a wrong move in where you could start him. He’s a jack-of-all-trades who could probably work out at any position across the offensive line.

But putting him at defensive end would keep from overloading a stable of offensive linemen that should be able to get the job done all while putting one of the hardest workers on the team at a position that is all about continuous hustle.

Raulerson knows he has work to do to become the type of defensive end he wants to become. He didn’t even play DE in high school, but is hoping to start playing there at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl.

He’ll soak in as much knowledge as he can from guys such as Jackson Jeffcoat, Reggie Wilson and Cedric Reed once he gets on campus and will make the entire position better simply by trying his hardest.

It’s a win-win for everyone involved to put Raulerson at DE.

Max Olson: Back in May, as Jay Raulerson sat back and watched the state track meet, he said something that stuck with me.

Jake Raulerson, his son, had paid a visit to Mack Brown that morning to say hello and check in. They’d talked about what Raulerson might play when he ends up in Austin. There was no need to reach a decision that day, of course, but the father walked away from the conservations as confident as ever.

Jake Raulerson, his father insisted, is a can’t-miss prospect. He said that not to hype his son, but to make a point about his utility.

Raulerson can start his career at defensive end. If that’s not the right fit, he can move inside or go play tackle or center. No matter what’s the best outcome, he’ll trust the coaches’ judgment and be one of the program’s hardest workers whether he’s starting or not.

I’d play Raulerson at tackle. He might not be as big as today’s prototypical franchise tackles, but Texas is in need of aggressive and reliable linemen. Raulerson can be a difference-maker.

I watched him play tackle up close at the Dallas Nike camp, and even without pads on Raulerson showed impressive form and punch against some of the state’s best defensive ends.

Once he puts on more weight and muscle, which should be easy since he’s enrolling early at Texas, Raulerson could be exactly the kind of athletic offensive lineman capable of cross-training at both tackle spots and center.

Or he could be, well, lots of other things. It’s hard to argue against playing Raulerson at defensive end. It’s even harder to imagine a scenario in which, barring injury, Raulerson doesn’t find his niche at Texas and make the most of it.