Monday, August 12, 2013
Haubert: Bama bolsters O-Line
By Craig Haubert
The nation's No. 1 offensive guard, Ross Pierschbacher, spurned his hometown team to join the Alabama Crimson Tide. Pierschbacher has the size and versatility to make an impact at every position along the offensive line.
What he brings: Pierschbacher is one of the most well-rounded O-Line prospects in this class. Listed as the No. 1 OG, we believe the more ideal fit for the ESPN 300 prospect is inside, but he has the ability to potentially play any spot along the offensive line and bring valuable versatility to an OL unit. He’s not only a tough and physical blocker, but also a fairly savvy and technical player as well. He can quickly get into defenders and possesses good balance and lateral agility and utilizes good angles. Whether being asked to reach, pull, climb to second level or simply drive a defender off the ball, he demonstrates the ability to get the job done. He might need a little more work and experience, but he also demonstrates the ability to be a strong pass-protector as well. There is certainly room for improvement, but Pierschbacher brings a nice combination of ability, smarts and toughness that can allow him to be an excellent player at the college level.
How he fits: A well-rounded player with good ability over time, and there shouldn’t be much that Alabama would ask from him that he couldn’t effectively get done. His greatest contribution might come in his versatility. Listed as an OG, he could potentially develop at center and fit well there, and as a high school tackle he could, if needed, get the job done at that position as well at the next level. It’s a tough comparison to make because he left Tuscaloosa such a highly decorated player, but it’s not unreasonable to think that Pierschbacher could play a role similar to one that Barrett Jones did. Pierschbacher demonstrates the ability to be that player that they could move around the line to fill the biggest need and allow them to field their best five offensive linemen. Whether he develops at one spot or moves around he can be a very nice fit for Alabama in the offensive trenches.
Reminds us of: As mentioned, you could see him potentially filling a role similar to the one Jones did while at Alabama, but another player he reminds us of is 2012 ESPN 150 prospect Isaac Seumalo. The top rated OG in his class, Seumalo was also a well-rounded, tough and versatile prospect. A coach's son, Seumalo was arguably a little further along technically, but Pierschbacher is a little bigger at this stage and might be slightly more athletic. While projected to OG, Seumalo signed with Oregon State and showed his versatility and quickly filled a need for the Beavers starting at OC as freshman. The same type of immediate need likely won’t be there for Pierschbacher when he arrives in Tuscaloosa, and he could certainly benefit from a redshirt if the opportunity is there. But if a need is presented, we could see him stepping up much in the way Seumalo did this past season, and if not, he could at least work his way into the two-deep and quickly offer good depth.
How the class is shaping up: Alabama has already posted back-to-back top-ranked classes and are making a strong case for a third. Pierschbacher now gives Alabama a dozen ESPN 300 prospects among the 18 verbal commitments in their 2014 class. The top-ranked OG also joins a class that consists of commitments from the No. 6 and No. 25 rated guards as well as the No. 2 rated center, giving Alabama a strong group of interior OL prospects in this class.