Per his proud papa and confirmed elsewhere, Manor Linebacker Erick Fowler has gotten the green light from the NCAA Clearinghouse and is ready to join the 2016 Longhorns:
MY BOY ERICK FOWLER IS CLEARING HOUSE CLEARED !!!!!!!!!!!!— Jfowl (@Jfowl88) August 15, 2016
PROUD OF YOU SON !!!!!
UT HERE HE COMES !!!!!!! pic.twitter.com/9IkdLQ0roP
Widely viewed as anywhere from the second- to fifth-highest ceiling prospect in a stacked 2016 recruiting class, Fowler also boasts an ability to bring heat off the edge that can fill a major need for this year's defense if it translates. In this year's Thinking Texas Football, we opined thusly:
Fowler is a walking fast twitch muscle with an explosive first step and the ability to accelerate suddenly from a stop and generate urgent power on contact. Those attributes and his physical maturity make him nearly unblockable at the high school level shooting gaps and chasing the quarterback as an edge rusher, but we've seen similar dynamism not always translate to big-time football if it's unaccompanied by lateral agility, position fit and a knack for diagnosing what the offense is doing. It's not unreasonable to think that Fowler's first step and penchant for violent contact could also be put to good use inside. Fowler is a high beta athlete with rare God-given abilities, but there's no college career result that would surprise us.
While Fowler has to demo some of the above, his general knack for applied violence should stand him in good stead. Is he somewhat behind the curve when it comes to figuring out the broader defense? Sure. But "kill the QB on third and eight" figured to be his initial role anyway, and it shouldn't require a ton of splainin'. Reports have also swirled that he hit the books at the expense of the weight pile this summer, but color us skeptical on the rumors that he's wasted away to 205 pounds.
We'll get a better sense for where Fowler's at from an S&C standpoint once he takes the practice field (or maybe not given the Maskirovka Protocol that seems to be emerging in advance of Notre Dame) but it wouldn't surprise to see him get some mop-up work against UTEP and possibly be ready for 8-10 down-and-distance-dependent snaps against Cal.
To turn in a few seasons' worth of knocking QB's heads off Fowler will need to keep his own head on straight, and we'd be remiss not to mention that his classroom focus has been...lacking to date. But that's probably better news than if he had struggled due to a pure horsepower issue, and he's landing in an ideal spot for guidance on straightening up and flying right. While Fowler will need to hit the books, the Longhorns couldn't have had a more needed skill set hit campus unless Marvin Wilson had graduated a season early.