It's been a while since I did a post providing you with absolutely too much information on one of the University of Georgia's incoming football recruits. But now seems like a good time to get back on the wagon. Remember the rules, though.
Last week when we looked at recruiting, I noted that the 'Dawgs really needed to sign one or two offensive tackles for the class of 2009, and that they might have to go out of state to do it. On Monday, they did just that, getting a commitment from Memphis (Briarcrest Christian) tackle Austin Long.
At 6'6 and 275 pounds, Long has a good frame to play tackle. His father, Tim Long, was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in 1985 and played sparingly for the San Fransisco 49ers at a reported 6'6 and 295 pounds. The elder Long is also his son's offensive line coach. And we all love a coach's kid.
In this highlight video from UGASports.com, Long manages a few pretty impressive pancakes. However, I don't really feel comfortable labeling him an "OMG! Can't Miss!" type prospect based on this video solely, for three reasons. One is the level of competition. Several of the kids he's beating the snot out of appear to be about 5'10 and 190 pounds. There's a big difference between handling these kids and flattening SEC defensive ends. Second, his pad level just isn't optimal. Part of it is the midgets he's beating up on, but he does get up high and out over his hips sometimes, rather than sinking his hips and driving guys out of the way. Finally, he lets his feet die occasionally when it becomes clear that he can simply overpower his adversary with upper body strength and sheer size.
That said, I am ecstatic that we got this guy. Why? Well, despite my negative comments above, he also clearly has a lot of talent. He's clearly got upper body strength. And when he's pulling down the line he gets there in a hurry. This indicates to me that, though his footwork isn't always optimal (and no one's ever is, for what that's worth), he has the physical ability to pick them up and put them down in a hurry when he needs to.
There's also the fact that Austin Long stacks up in what I consider to be the single most important statistic in evaluating recruits: the offer list. Long picked the 'Dawgs over offers from Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Tennessee. It may be possible for Mark Richt and crew to be wrong about a guy's potential. But I doubt seriously that he, Nick Saban, Tommy Tuberville, Urban Meyer and Phil Fulmer are all wrong about the kid. When you see that many SEC powers scrambling for a player, you can bet he's pretty darn special. And, as I like to point out when doing these little evaluations, I haven't seen him at the various camps and combines that high school players go to now. The aforementioned SEC coaches have. If they all offered him, that tells me that they've personally seen him do some impressive things.
I also like the fact that Long is already working on fellow Memphian Marlon Brown, who recently got a visit from the coaches. I also really like Brown, a five star wide receiver out of Harding High, but that's another post for another day.