I liked Lampkin as a junior for his lateral mobility and his frame, assumed he'd pick up the finer points of DT play after a redshirt, then become a solid college starter sometime down the road. Time to reconsider that. Lampkin is one of the most promising players in the class.
Lampkin's play went to the next level in his senior season, dominating his Houston 6A district from his 3-4 DE position while earning 1st team All-State honors. The highlights above aren't unusual examples of his play - he has plenty more where that came from. Lampkin racked up 16 sacks, 38 tackles for loss, 8 forced fumbles and countless other hurries and hits on the QB playing against spread offenses. Imagine if he had some fullback dives to chew on. I have no idea what Lampkin's 40 time is, but his first 10 is good, he exhibits natural leverage even when he hand fights and stands up tall, has silverback strength at the point of attack and great hand strength. Evaluators criticize his first step and athletic ability, but I think they may not actually understand his role within that defense. He's not being asked to blindly shoot gaps over center and wreak havoc - he's playing an honest 3 man line where he's tasked with containment, a lot of reading and reacting and drawing double teams. The few times he does get to pin his ears back, you can see the results.
If you'll shake out your preconceptions of rankings and watch some Bama stud A'Shawn Robinson tape from his senior year of HS, you'll be hard pressed to see a significant difference in body structure, mayhem potential and game impact. Lampkin's senior year was that good. Does he need to learn some new tricks when he can no longer physically overwhelm inferior OL? Of course. But he needs the step up in competition to evolve.
My only concerns for Lampkin are related to overall maturity level and his weight (he probably gained 30 pounds between junior and senior seasons, but that was mostly good weight). Charlie Strong recently remarked on LHN that Lampkin was "about 340 right now" and I hope that was wrong given his reported weight of 306. I don't want to watch yet another potentially dominant interior DL prospect eat his way out of the All Big 12 teams and into a food coma.
The Lampkin in that film above is a very good football player riding a steep slope of improvement. Let's hope he's the one that shows up in Austin.
Effective role players can render ratings sort of meaningless. Ask the Patriots and Seahawks. Beyond their core superstars, their rosters have plenty of well deployed role players garnered from the waiver wire and free agency. But they know what their system requires and those players excel in what they're asked to do.
Quincy Vasser is a marginal three star talent who may fill a five star need. The early enrollee JUCO DE is sorely needed to man Charlie Strong's SDE position and he should be expected to contribute in 2015. The requirements for our SDE job aren't sexy, but they're crucial to the functioning of our defense. They must be willing to value containment at the expense of an inside move rush, play a large number of downs "covered" (inside the offensive tackle in a 5 technique or between the TE and OT) and attack the run with ferocity both at the point of attack and in backside pursuit against Big 12 running games that often leave a backside edge player unblocked. Vasser seems to demonstrate a number of these capacities and while he doesn't do much that leaps off of the page, we don't need 12.5 sacks from him. We just need him to play his role.
I started to understand what a Charlie Strong defensive recruit looks like at each position pretty early. Omenihu is a great example of a developmental prospect who is already progressing on schedule from when I first saw his film as a junior, using a strong senior season and elevation in stock to win over disgruntled Texas fans from the 2014 Spring and Summer that had been trained by Mack Brown to value more what a 16 year old is now then what he'll be at 21. Omenihu is a tall glider who can turn the corner, he uses his length well both to create leverage and nuisance the QB, is already showing some ability to dip and bend as he turns and is beginning to fill out his tall, long frame with good weight. His straight line speed is adequate, but he's very agile side-to-side and and can be a handful when he loops inside and covers distance with two big strides to the QB's earhole. As Omenihu gets bigger and stronger, he'll get more physical and aggressive while his base and balance improve.
Strength and size are the easiest thing to add to genetically gifted young men. It's easier to bulk up big-framed skinny athletic guys and have them retain that athleticism than to try to make strong maxed out dudes more fluid and dexterous. In fact, the science is pretty plain on this. Whenever the state lacks an elite DE prospect who checks every box, we're going to sign players like Omenihu. Texas missed out on his brother from another mother Louis Brown, but there may have been an element of self-selection there that will save us potential headaches down the road.
Redshirt Omenihu, let him blossom and check back in Fall, 2017.