Tuesday, July 1, 2014
Burnt Orange Breakdown: Rami Hammad
By Max Olson
Before Texas begins its first season under Charlie Strong, we're taking a deep dive into all the talent he inherits in 2014. Our Burnt Orange Breakdown series takes a closer look at each scholarship player returning this fall and what we can expect from him. We're going down the roster from No. 1 Shiro Davis all the way to No. 99 Desmond Jackson.
Recruitment rewind: Texas was the third school Hammad committed to during his recruiting process. The three-star lineman from Irving, Texas, initially chose to play for Joe Wickline at Oklahoma State in June 2012. Five months later, he flipped to Baylor. But Hammad's recruitment blew up again in January after an impressive showing at the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, and he committed to Texas in late January over offers from Oklahoma and TCU.
Career so far: Hammad, a practicing Muslim, joined the program last summer and fasted during Ramadan and team workouts. That wasn't the reason he redshirted in 2013, though. The 6-foot-5, 320-pound guard suffered an shoulder injury during the season and did not end up appearing in a game. At the start of spring ball, he was practicing as the first-team right guard. By the end of spring ball, Taylor Doyle held that job with Hammad working with the No. 2 line.
Best-case scenario for 2014: Hammad wins the right guard job and doesn't look back. There was a time last season, right before the shoulder injury, when Texas coaches considered plugging Hammad into the starting lineup. Wickline, now the Longhorns' offensive coordinator, knows Hammad has serious potential. He just needs to adjust to Wickline's schemes and coaching style after some struggles this spring. He can become a devastating blocker once he gets it all down.
Worst-case scenario for 2014: Kent Perkins is more than capable of winning out at right guard, despite the knee injury that cost him much of spring ball. So is Doyle, who emerged from obscurity to earn major reps with the No. 1 offense this spring. If Hammad doesn't rise to the occasion in fall camp, or if he clashes with Wickline, he'll have to fight to regain his job throughout the season.
Future expectations: The many Big 12 coaches who fought so hard to recruit Hammad in 2012 believed he would develop into a multi-year starter and future NFL lineman. Those are lofty expectations, especially for a supposed three-star prospect, and Hammad didn't get a chance in 2013 to prove whether his play merited such praise. He enters this fall with plenty of motivation and a clear goal of winning a starting job. If he does so, Hammad should become a mainstay in the lineup.