- Craig Haubert, ESPN Staff Writer
The 2007 class of offensive tackles does not have that one definitive player clearly ahead of the pack, as was the case last year with Alabama signee Andre Smith (Birmingham, Ala., Huffman). Despite that, this year's class is far from disappointing.
While the 2006 class of tackles was a good one because of players like Smith and Sam Young (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., St. Thomas Aquinas), it may be the case that this year's class of tackles is deeper. The 2007 class of tackles has seen 14 players make the ESPN 150 as opposed to 11 a year ago. Recruiters have a talented crop of prospects to choose from in this class and its fair share of talented but still developing prospects that could be cornerstones for their teams down the road.
At the top of the list in this year's class is Texas commitment Tray Allen (Grand Prairie, Texas, South Grand Prairie). Allen is a versatile prospect who I listed as a tackle but has the ability to be able to play anywhere along the line in college. He lacks the ideal height you look for in a tackle, but has good size and carries it well. In addition, he moves well for a 300-plus-pound player and looks comfortable playing in space. He is able to get out into the open, locate his target and keep his balance to make multiple blocks. Along the line of scrimmage he is able to quickly get into defenders, lock on and drive them off the ball. He is a good pass protector that plays with knee bend, mirrors rushers and is capable of delivering powerful punches. He has the athleticism to play on an island and handle edge rushers. He can be aggressive in his pass sets and likes to attack rushers near the line of scrimmage. One really impressive aspect of Allen's game is how well he sets up screens. He is almost textbook in how he draws rushers upfield and then is able to club them to the ground. Allen is a wonderful pick up for the Longhorns and it is the second year in a row they have nabbed an athletic in-state tackle. Allen and 2006 signee J'Marcus Webb (Mesquite, Texas, North Mesquite) could make nice bookends for the Texas offense.