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Friday, November 9, 2012
Roundtable: Benenoch or Billings?

By William Wilkerson and Max Olson

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

This week's question: If Texas can take just one more offensive lineman for the Class of 2013, should it take Caleb Benenoch (Katy, Texas/Seven Lakes) or Andrew Billings (Waco, Texas/Waco)?

William Wilkerson: I don't think Texas can go wrong with either Andrew Billings or Caleb Benenoch. Both are dynamic players who would be great additions to the Longhorns' 2013 class.

Andrew Billings
The Longhorns see four-star prospect Andrew Billings as a center.
I believe, however, that Billings would be the preferred choice here for a few reasons. Namely, his diversity.

Texas wants Billings, the No. 255 player in the country, as an offensive lineman, which is where our scouts see him as well. He's rated as the No. 12 offensive guard in the nation. But he's much more than just an offensive guard.

He can play on the defensive line as well, which, for the longest time, is where the defending state powerlifting champion wanted to play in college. That's where every other school recruiting him aside from Texas wants him to play.

He has warmed up to the idea of playing on the offensive side, which bodes well for the Longhorns.

Not only could he play offensive guard or defensive tackle/nose guard, Billings has also started snapping the ball with the idea that he could play center at Texas too.

So he would give Texas flexibility along the offensive front to mix and match players, which includes the Longhorns' three ESPN 150 offensive line recruits in this class. That's huge for an offensive line coach in Stacy Searels who has shown he isn't afraid to move people around to find the best unit as a whole.

Not only would be bode well for the offensive line but he could also be a scapegoat for the Longhorns if they do end up losing A'Shawn Robinson to USC or Alabama.

At 6-foot-2 and 308 pounds, Billings is built low to the ground and would give opposing offensive linemen fits with his pad level.

He'd be a great addition to Texas' class regardless of what side of the ball he plays on.


Max Olson: You can make a strong case that Andrew Billings could be more impactful addition for Texas’ 2013 team, but right now it seems far more likely the Longhorns end up with Caleb Benenoch than Billings. And he’d be a big get.

Caleb Benenoch
Four-star Caleb Benenoch admits to being a Texas fan.
Billings is a vicious 6-foot-2, 308-pound bulldog with a sparkling power lifting resume. Some would say you can’t beat that, and they might be right.

But Benenoch has the one thing Billings can’t provide, a trait that instantly catches any offensive line coach’s eye. He’s huge. As in, 6-foot-6 and 321 pounds huge.

The kind of huge that prompts Texas and Oklahoma to both offer you in the same week after working out at their camps. The kind of huge that enables you to win a few battles with Jake Raulerson in one-on-one drills at UT camp.

With all due respect to Billings, Benenoch is the state’s most coveted uncommitted offensive lineman. He’s being recruited as a guard by most but as a tackle by some, and UCLA and Oklahoma have tried to sell him on a chance to earn immediate playing time.

But Benenoch grew up a Texas fan and still says UT is his No. 1 school, at least for now. If he does sign with the Longhorns, Texas would be getting a behemoth of a lineman who provides versatility and significant raw potential.

He’s only scratched the surface of what he’s capable of at Seven Lakes, where he gets by on pushing guys around thanks to his size. Just imagine where he’ll be with one year of college coaching.

He might be a little bit more of a project than Billings in the short term. But a meaner, more fundamentally sound Caleb Benenoch sure sounds like a can’t-miss guy to me.