In the article on the effect of Paden Kelley's retirement from football, I mentioned that the Longhorns would likely add another offensive lineman to this class. Not surprisingly, that offer came out rather quickly. And also not too surprisingly, that offer went out to an interior lineman, as opposed to the tackle position that Kelley played.
Why wasn't that last part surprising? Because if you look at the past few classes, and make two assumptions on this year's class, tackle is the place to go. The first assumption is that Jake Raulerson is an offensive tackle. The talented jumbo athlete could project as anything from a blocking tight end to a defensive tackle. But at this point, Raulerson appears destined for the offensive line, and further, I think he'll get his first shot at tackle. The second assumption is that A'Shawn Robinson stays on defense. Texas really likes the Arlington Heights lineman on both sides of the ball, and while I feel that his ceiling is the highest at offensive guard, the Texas staff thinks it's just as high at defensive tackle. That's also where he'll start off his career.
Those two assumptions mean that Texas has signed eight high school linemen in the past two classes, and earned commitments from three more in the 2013 class, with six of those players — Josh Cochran, Garrett Greenlea, Kennedy Estelle, Camrhon Hughes, Kent Perkins and Jake Raulerson — playing tackle. That means just five — Sedrick Flowers, Taylor Doyle, Marcus Hutchins, Curtis Riser and Darius James — are interior players, and of the three who were in spring practice, only one (Flowers) was on the two-deep.
Considering that there are two tackle spots in an ordinary lineup, and three interior spots, the Longhorns would seem to be short of depth of young, talented interior linemen. And that's where new offer Andrew Billings comes in.
A talented two-way lineman at Waco High, Billings is built more like a defensive tackle at only 6-foot-1. But he also has a longer wingspan that allows him to play like a 6-3 player, and he shows absolutely tremendous strength in short-area situations. Billings is also an every-down effort kind of guy, the types of players you love to have in your program to push everyone else around him. And the Texas coaches had an up-close look at Billings at the June 3 camp. Shortly thereafter, he had an offer. That's a pretty ringing endorsement.
Billings is a player who could provide cover at both guard and center, and he's good enough at defensive tackle that, should the staff decide to flop Robinson to the other side of the ball, they could do a clean swap if needed.
So he's certainly a nice find, and would add tremendous value in areas the Longhorns are looking for.