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Evaluating The 2012 Texas Longhorns Recruiting Class: Defensive Tackle

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Malcom Brown

One of the best five players in the class. A possible superstar.

Barring injury or bad luck, he's a multi-year starter that eventually plays in the NFL.

Brown must be what Warren Sapp looked like in high school. He plays with low pads in an already squatty 6-1, 290 pound profile, possesses good power, high effort, excellent quickness, and likes to mix it up. He's strong against the run sideline to sideline and as a penetrator, but also has the chance to be a high level interior pass rusher given his ability to "get small" paired with a quick first step. He can give us snaps immediately, but should be special by Year 3 once he builds a greater base of strength and acclimates to taking on 320 pounders.

Brown has a fire in his belly and he wants to be great. Check out this effort play running down a WR. Yeah, give me three of Malcom Brown.

Brandon Moore

The 6-5, 330 pound space eater originally signed to play for Alabama (and DL coach Bo Davis) in 2009. He redshirted, was eventually Sabanized, played a year of JUCO, and Bo Davis encouraged Mack to bring him in. Spring practice and offseason S&C will do him good and he has three years to play two to give us situational interior run stopping and a few hard snaps a game collapsing the pocket. He's not the ideal blueprint DT against West Virginia/Baylor/OSU, but he gives us flexibility to get big inside over the center and he also demonstrates Diaz's willingness to run more odd fronts to throw some 3-4 style looks at opponents. Like his JUCO teammate Hawkins, I'll know a lot more about Moore and his capacity to contribute meaningfully after the Spring.

Paul Boyette

He's a big, strong guy with some athleticism and playmaking ability inside, modest pass rushing abilities, and solid effort. He runs pretty well in a straight line, but he's not particularly quick. When he brings low pads, strikes with his hands, and brings his feet, he's a difference maker and a real load inside (look at the four plays he makes in succession at the 0:37 mark on). When he catches blocks, doesn't get off quickly, and plays a little high, he's relying on physical supremacy he won't have in college. His offer list is better than his film, so clearly college DL coaches see something in Boyette's body and basic skill set that they like.

Boyette is already pushing 300 pounds on a 6-4 frame and like all DT prospects with the requisite physical tools, he'll rise or fall based on his effort, attention to diet and conditioning, and general want-to. I like him as a future 1 tech, but he needs a redshirt. My expectations for Boyette are similar to that of Brandon Moore - he's being brought in for a very specific role and it's not racking up sacks and tackles for loss.

Alex Norman

I'm intrigued by Norman. Raw player facing questionable competition, but his first step is excellent, he's frisky and high energy, and he has a discernible motor.

Alex remade his body Russell Maryland-style, transforming himself from a tubby 6-1, 330 pound freshman into a hyper 6-3, 275 pound senior. He's now around 290 and needs to keeps it there. Norman plays the game with attitude, treating running backs and QBs like carbohydrates. He has great first step quickness and strikes violently on initial contact. Sadly, Norman couldn't practice or play in the Under Armour game and I would have loved to have seen him against high level recruits. He needs a redshirt and if he continues to demonstrate the work ethic he has thus far, he'll be a good contributor for us. Norman is also a very good OL prospect and a substantial upgrade to the typical level of athleticism you find there. So he's intriguing on a number of levels.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a good class. Brown is the potential superstar, Moore and Boyette are anchors for Diaz's disruptors to operate off of, and Norman is a fun upside take.