Texas was very selective and targeted four of the state's elite blockers and secured commitments from all four of them by the end of March.
The first of those players to pledge to the Longhorns was Lake Travis offensive tackle Paden Kelley, an athletic 6-foot-6-inch, 270-pounder who as a junior received all-area honors and helped Lake Travis win the Class 4A, Division II state championship.
In addition to helping bring a state title to Lake Travis, Kelley has also received a four-star rating from Scout.com and has been selected to play in the Under Armour All-American Game in January.
Kelley was in action last Thursday as the Cavaliers defeated Austin Westlake 38-17 in a game that appeared on FOX Sports Net and put his immense talents on display.
STRENGTHS: Since he was having standout camp performances prior to his sophomore season scouts across the country have raved about Kelley's athleticism and his feet. In the Westlake game both of these notions were prevalent as I have seen very few linemen that are as agile and as flexible as Kelley.
After playing in Jeff Dicus' offense where he was required to protect the blindside of fellow Texas commit Garrett Gilbert, Kelley at times looks dominant as a pass blocker and does a great job of extending his arms in pass blocking situations.
One of his biggest strengths in his ability to pull and get around the corner on sweeps and counter plays. He has outstanding quickness when getting down the line.
His feet also come into play when in run blocking situations because when he latches onto a defender and starts moving his feet, more often the play ends with his man looking up at the sky.
In Kelley's younger, smaller days he played fullback, linebacker, and defensive end which speaks volumes of his athleticism. He has also stated in previous interviews that playing defensive end has really helped him as a tackle because he knows what to expect, something which also speaks to his intelligence on the field as he is able to pick up on pass rushing techniques and how to properly defend against them.
His frame is also a huge plus. He looks to be a little bit bigger than 270 right now, but his body looks like it could fill out a lot more once he really hit the weights.
WEAKNESSES: If there is one thing that Kelley really needs to work on it is consistency.
At times he can get lackadaisical which seemed to affect him in different areas of play. It was not so much in the way he came off of the ball, but he often lost his base in pass protection which allowed his man to beat him around the edge. There was one play in particular in which his feet got crossed up and his defender bull rushed him and knocked him down.
There were also times in which he did not finish blocks only because he did not latch onto his defender and move his feet. He also seemed at times to be floating around in space and not blocking anyone, but that could simply have to do with scheme.
OVERALL ASSESMENT: Kelley reminds me a lot of J.B. Shugarts only from the standpoint that I like him a lot more as a prospect right now than I do a as a player.
That being said I really think he could develop into an all-conference type of player because he has all of the attributes you look for in a left tackle, which is a position in which you need a top notch player to fill.
The good news is that Texas has done a very good job of stockpiling linemen in their last few classes, which bodes well for Kelley as he will likely redshirt his first year and be given time to develop.