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Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Horns Snapshot: OL Darius James

By William Wilkerson

To gear up for 2013 national signing day, HornsNation’s William Wilkerson is breaking down every commitment in the Longhorns' 2013 recruiting class.

Vitals: Offensive lineman Darius James, Harker Heights, Texas/Harker Heights | 6-foot-5, 340 pounds

Committed: March 5, 2012

ESPN.com grade: 88; four-star recruit

ESPN.com rankings: No. 1 center, No. 1 player in Midlands region, No. 1 player in state, No. 17 player in ESPN 150

Picked Texas over: Baylor, Florida, LSU, Mississippi State, Oklahoma, Texas A&M and Tulsa

State of the position: Simply put, Texas is stacked across the offensive line. It returns all five starters from 2013 in Donald Hawkins, Trey Hopkins, Dominic Espinosa, Mason Walters and Josh Cochran. Then you start to add in reserves such as Kennedy Estelle, Sedrick Flowers, Garrett Greenlea, Taylor Doyle, Garrett Porter, Curtis Riser and Camrhon Hughes. There area a lot of former high school All-Americans in that list. That doesn’t even mention ESPN 150 players Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson, or Rami Hammad, who had some 50 offers.

Pros: “James is an athletic and versatile big man with good potential on both sides of the ball. A case could be made for him as a defensive tackle, but his best fit in college looks to be on the O-line. He might be best utilized as a center, but displays the versatility to line up anywhere along the offensive line and be very good. He possesses very good size at this stage, especially for a center, and looks to carry his weight well on his long frame with very good upper and lower body strength. While he looks to predominately snap in the shotgun formation -- he gets the ball back quickly and accurately -- he does also have experience working with the quarterback under center. He displays very good flexibility. He looks comfortable working with a defender lined up over him. He is capable of snapping the ball and firing out low, gaining leverage and driving defenders off the ball. In base block situations, he can lean into his blocks at times and needs to continue to improve his footwork and more consistently snap his hips and maximize his power so he can consistently create the push he has shown he is capable of.” – ESPN scouting report

Cons: “May need more development in pass pro, but displays the tools to be very productive in this role with further refinement.” – ESPN scouting report

Similar to/potential role: Trey Hopkins and Mason Walters. It’s really hard to compare James to any one of Texas’ current linemen, but we’ll go with these two because of their versatility. Hopkins and Walters can play numerous positions across the line, which James is more than capable of doing himself.

Expected impact: 2013. James, the top recruit for Texas, will play in 2013. Question is: where? He prefers to play tackle but knows he’ll probably end up in the interior of the line. Center is a definite possibility, but the Longhorns also have Jake Raulerson there. He’ll work his way onto the field in 2013, though, without a doubt.