Scouting Erik Huhn

Scouting Texas's recent safety commitment from a recent viewing at a 7-on-7.

I've seen Huhn on multiple other occasions, but I tried to go into this 7-on-7 like I was seeing him for the first time and evaluating him solely on what I saw.

The first thing that stands out is Huhn's frame. He looks outstanding on-the-hoof, a legitimate 6-foot-3, rangy player with long arms and plenty of room to add bulk if he wishes to. He's currently at 200 pounds, or slightly over it, maybe up to 205 or so. It's a good weight for Huhn as a safety*, in that he's somewhat filled out, but not overly bulky, and he moves around easily for that size.

* More on this in a minute

The second thing you notice is before the ball is snapped. To use an oft-parroted cliché, he's like a quarterback for the defense, hollering signals and making sure everyone is aligned correctly. Jordan Sterns, Steele's other transcendent safety (headed to Oklahoma State), said that Huhn has been huge in his development. Sterns just started playing safety a year ago, and has made a sizable jump in his abilities as a safety, something that he in-part attributes to Huhn's direction.

It's easy to see that trait in action after the play as well. Seldom a play went by without Huhn approaching a teammate to either offer praise or direction. Steele isn't a great 7-on-7 team, but they approach it as if they're preparing for the season, and Huhn treats each play as a practice repetition.

Once the ball is snapped, you see the physical abilities that enticed a number of teams after Huhn's services. I've compared him to former Oklahoma safety Nic Harris before, and I still think it fits: both players were bigger, rangier safeties, with Harris bulking into a linebacker-type player at Oklahoma. Huhn might be superior to Harris in pass coverage though. He high-points the ball, and his reach makes it difficult for quarterbacks to find windows.

His instincts are simply outstanding, and he nearly always makes the right read on his side of the field, then displays the speed to make plays. His feet aren't necessarily elite, but it doesn't often come to that because he reads things so well that he's seldom having to recover. He rarely gets turned around. His straight-lined speed is excellent. The Steele coaches clocked him at 4.47 seconds in the 40-yard dash, and that time seems pretty accurate, just from watching him when he gets into a sprint. He can really go.

Of course, it's difficult to grade him in pass coverage at 7-on-7 in that one of his favorite techniques is to separate the receiver from the ball with his body, something that is flagged in one-hand touch. And seeing Huhn without pads is a bit like watching a tiger prowl around in search of meat, knowing he can't use his teeth and claws to get it. He stalks.

And it's impossible to look at Huhn without wondering where his body is going to take him. If he's 6-3 205 now, what's he going to look like after a year or two of Bennie Wylie's strength program and the Longhorns' training table? There's a reason that some Big 10 schools were evaluating him as a "monster" linebacker, the hybrid in-the-box player who has become so in-vogue in college football. The player I compared him to, Harris, started his college career at the same size, and finished at Oklahoma at 6-3 230. And another player that I compare him to, former Missouri safety William Moore, who was better than Harris in pass coverage and compared to Huhn athletically, wound up at 6-2 220.

It isn't hard to project Huhn doing the same thing.

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