The Longhorns landed their 11th commit of the 2015 recruiting class in Many, Louisiana OL Garrett Thomas. The 6-6, 305 Thomas is a massive young player who can still add weight while firming up a naturally large frame. That 6-6 measurement looks legit - he's positively gigantic out there. Though Thomas is rated a three star recruit by most services, he had concrete offers from Texas, Tennessee, Michigan, California, Ole Miss, OU and South Carolina among others. His final three: OU, Texas, Ole Miss. Not a bad mix of scholarship offers.
Thomas is the 4th Wickline OL commitment in the class.
Thomas absolutely dominates Louisiana 2A Football showing aggressiveness and finishing ability in the running game and effectiveness as a pass blocker. He also has a snazzy taste in highlight film techno music. He's not likely to win any track meets, but his first two steps are more than adequate. Thomas plays ridiculously high, but whether that stems from innate inflexibility or because he's never had to bother playing low to mash his outmatched opponents remains to be seen. Presumably Wickline doesn't think he's a stiff after seeing him up close. Feet are quite solid given his size and maturity level.
Clearly, Wickline believed Thomas had the mental and physical make-up he wants in a future right tackle or guard prospect and Texas pursued him very aggressively. Wickline has very much kept his own counsel on who he targets in the offensive line and I'm not sure I want to go on record questioning much of anything he's doing there - particularly after I was pleasantly surprised by the film I saw on our previous takes at the position. Under old management, I would be worried about Thomas. Under new management, not so much.
There are a few bigger takeaways for me here:
1. Strong's staff is going wherever they need to find the players they want. 4 out of 12 current commitments (including our one from 2016) are from out of state.
2. Wickline isn't satisfied with the current OL pipeline in Austin and we'll be taking numbers to address it.
3. This is definitely going to be a large class. 25? 28?
4. Until Strong can make inroads with the state's bluest of blue chips, we're going to snatch up good players that project well in our system, redshirt them and coach 'em up. Oklahoma State has done that on the way to a 26-9 conference record over the last four years while Texas has landed better recruiting classes every year going 18-17 over the same span. I'm not arguing "stars don't matter!" nonsense, but when the five stars aren't coming, it's nice to have a staff that might have a plan for the threes.
5. This class will find its star power relatively late, if at all.