New offensive line coach Sam Pittman got a commitment today from one of those bigger offensive linemen he's pursuing, when Jacksonville standout Solomon "Moving Train" Kindley announced via Twitter that he intends to play his college ball at Georgia.
The kid doesn't get his nickname because he's a fan of Thomas the Tank Engine. At 6'5, 345 pounds Kindley is a big, big dude. Take a look at his highlights here:
This is a good point for me to explain my process when breaking down offensive line film. It may seem odd but I think it explains my take on this commit particularly. When I watch an offensive lineman's highlights the first time through, I pay zero attention to anything above his knees. Seriously. I first want to see what kind of footwork the guy has. How quick are his feet? Is the footwork "tight", which is to say does he plant his feet where they are supposed to be, in the correct order? Is the footwork tentative, like he doesn't quite know where to go, or more decisive?
Only after I see the guy's feet do I work my way up to consider his hip position, then pad level, then hand position, etc. If you don't enjoy watching large young men push (often smaller) young men around it's tedious stuff. But it's the only way to really separate the good from the bad at the hardest position on the field to scout.
With that said, here's my evaluation of Kindley. He's a guard all the way. While his feet are quick for a guy his size, he's not the type of overgrown ballerina required to play left tackle in the SEC. When he locks onto defenders he does a good job of staying engaged. When you're as big as Kindley and playing against 5'11, 190 pound defensive ends, that means simply engulfing them. There's a lot of that in this highlight tape. Sometimes defenders just bounce off him like they've run into a brick wall, which doesn't seem that far from the truth. So there's some good stuff to work with here.
There are also some pretty bad habits. Kindley's body lean gives away his blocking direction a fair amount of the time. With offensive linemen that sort of "body cheat" is often a symptom of conditioning issues. As is another of Kindley's weaknesses on this tape, really bad pad level. He'll often come out with a flat back then be standing straight up by the time he's taken three steps. Kindley's hand position is better, but still inconsistent. Sometimes he fires the hands quickly and keeps them inside, allowing him to control defenders. Often he's just grabbing the shoulders of smaller defenders, holding if the wrong official is looking. He also has a bad habit of getting an initial punch then just sort of "belly bumping" defenders down the field.
Kindley's best asset is his size. But size alone isn't enough to succeed as a college football player. Take a look at Kindley's commitment announcement, which features a photo of his visit this weekend to Athens:
How shall I put this? The biggest variable in Kindley's success at Georgia may be whether or not Coach Sinclair and the strength and conditioning staff can keep him away from Five Guys' burgers and closer to 325 pounds than 375. His offer list prior to this commitment included Auburn, North Carolina, Louisville, West Virginia, Purdue, and Iowa State. That's not a bad list, but it indicates schools who see potential in 247Sports' #142 ranked player in the state of Florida. Kindley's not a sure thing. He's more of a project with a high upside, the classic three star player.
If Kindley's genetics and work ethic allow, he could be a huge, huge steal this close to Signing Day. But he could also be another Chris Little, a big guy who just keeps getting bigger. There's a reason Coach Pittman will be making more this season than many collegiate coordinators. He's got a reputation for being among the best in the business at molding big, doughy balls of clay into big bricks you can bludgeon defenses with. Kindley could be among his greatest masterpieces, or could languish on the depth chart. It's too early to say. But given Georgia's need for depth on the offensive line, he strikes me as a risk worth taking. Until later . . .