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Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Hammad adds to UT offensive line depth

By William Wilkerson

In the words of 2013 Longhorns commitment Darius James, “Texas o line finna be crazy.”

James, the No. 1 center in the country, tweeted that Monday shortly after junior college left tackle Desmond Harrison (Contra Costa College) committed to Texas over Arizona State, Oklahoma and USC.

The Longhorns got even beefier Wednesday, when Rami Hammad (Irving, Texas/Irving) chose Texas over Oklahoma, TCU and Baylor.

The former Bears commitment is the fourth offensive line pledge for Mack Brown and Co. in 2013, making it, by far, the biggest point of emphasis for this class.

The Longhorns are so deep across the offensive front in this recruiting cycle that they’ve been able to move Jake Raulerson, who ESPN pegs as the No. 9 OT, over to defensive end to start his career.

What kind of player is Texas getting in Hammad? Someone whom Baylor coach Art Briles thinks will be a future first-round NFL draft pick. At least that’s what Hammad said Briles told him when he called him after the prospect's visit to Austin over the weekend to tell Briles he was decommitting from the Bears.

For those thinking it was just fluff from Briles, would you think to shower a recruit with praise when he called to tell you he was decommitting from your program while, with a little reading between the lines, you could probably tell he was going to choose a conference rival? Not likely. That’s high-class stuff from Briles, who didn’t have to say anything of the sort.

Texas offensive line coach Stacy Searels also allegedly told Hammad that he was one of the best guys he’d recruited and that he wishes he had recruited him earlier. That’s high praise from a guy who has garnered commitments from two of the top offensive linemen in the country in James and Kent Perkins.

Searels has really accumulated quite the smorgasbord of talent in his time on the 40 Acres. Just look at what he has to work with next season.

Texas has all five of its starters coming back: senior Donald Hawkins, senior Trey Hopkins, junior Dominic Espinosa, senior Mason Walters and junior Josh Cochran.

On top of that he’s got Harrison coming in, and the junior should be able to cement himself as the left tackle, which could cause a domino effect in how the rest of the line plays out.

Searels also has highly touted reserves such as Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Garrett Greenlea, Taylor Doyle, Garrett Porter, Curtis Riser and Camrhon Hughes to work into the mix if he chooses.

Don’t forget about James and Perkins, who would no doubt see early playing time if they walked into a situation that didn’t have this much depth. They’re good enough to play right away, but where?

Last, but certainly not least, is Hammad, the lowest-rated of the 2013 lineman, but a prospect who claims more than 50 offers from virtually every corner of the country.

There might not be room for him right now, but he’ll undoubtedly carve out his role down the road.