It is a very good year for the offensive tackle position overall, with exceptional talent at the top. Eleven tackle prospects made the initial ESPNU 150, and three are among the top 10 players in the nation, which is very impressive.
We have seen some fine tackle prospects over the years, but never a collection like this in one class. The position boasts three five-star prospects, and the talent level does not dramatically drop off as another four tackle prospects are ranked in the top 40.
Christian Westerman (Chandler, Ariz./Hamilton)
Ht.: 6-5 | Wt.: 290 pounds | Stars: 5 | OT rank: 1 | ESPNU 150 rank: 4
He is a well put together and aggressive player. Westerman can be a dominating run blocker with a physical, road-grader style. His aggressive style of play can get him in trouble at times as a pass blocker, but he can get set quickly, deliver a jarring punch and clamp down on rushers. Westerman displays all the tools to be a fixture for Texas for several seasons.
Cyrus Kouandjio (Hyattsville, Md./DeMatha)
Ht.: 6-7 | Wt.: 320 pounds | Stars: 5 | OT rank: 2 | ESPNU 150 rank: 6
He is a physically impressive prospect. In addition to passing the eye test, he has excellent athleticism for an offensive lineman. Kouandjio has good flexibility and is capable of manhandling defenders. In addition to his outstanding ability, he shows a tenacious attitude. He still has room to improve as a pass blocker, but few possess the size and ability of a prospect like Kouandjio.
La'El Collins (Baton Rouge, La./Redemptorist)
Ht.: 6-5 | Wt.: 281 pounds | Stars: 5 | OT rank: 3 | ESPNU 150 rank: 9
The last of the three talented tackle prospects in the top 10 is the most raw, but he may possess the most upside. Collins brings good size and athleticism. While he needs to keep improving, he has the tools to be an anchor at left tackle and the type of player you want protecting your quarterback's blind side.
OTs to watch
• Giorgio Newberry (Fort Pierce, Fla./Central) could play and do well on either side of the ball in college. We like him as a defensive lineman but feel his highest ceiling is at offensive tackle. He is a bit raw but has good ability as well as size and a frame to develop. He also shows a good feel for the game.
• Zach DeBell (Tarpon Springs, Fla./Tarpon Springs) could potentially make a nice move up the rankings as summer and senior season evaluations continue. DeBell needs to keep developing his skills as well as his frame, but he is an athletic, aggressive tackle prospect. He needs to channel some of his aggressiveness but could be a good pass-blocker who uses his hands and reach well. DeBell gets set quickly, has nimble feet and can shadow rushers.
• Jordan Prestwood (Plant City, Fla./Plant City) has experience on the offensive line, but he spent his junior year as a jumbo tight end. He flashed some good athleticism there, but his home is on the offensive line. Prestwood is the most raw of the tackle prospects in the ESPNU 150. He will need to work on his technique, but he shows a high ceiling at the position.
Bobby Hart (Fort Lauderdale, Fla./St. Thomas Aquinas) is a promising prospect who is young for his grade. He needs to keep developing his frame but has ability and is a competitor. ... Andre Yruretagoyena (Scottsdale, Ariz./Chaparral) needs to keep adding bulk to his frame and polishing his technique, but he is one of the most violent and tenaciousness blockers in this class. ... Watts Dantzler (Dalton, Ga./Dalton) is a big boy who can maul defenders and should develop into a good right tackle in college. ... Eric MacLain (Fayetteville, N.C./Jack Britt) is a big high school tight end who could end up playing that position in college, but we think he will develop into an offensive tackle, which will be a better fit in the long term. ... The state of New Mexico is not a hotbed for recruiting, but it did produce its second ESPNU 150 prospect (Landry Jones was the first). Matthew Hegarty (Aztec, N.M./Aztec) is the highest ranked prospect from the state in the ESPNU 150 era.
Craig Haubert is a recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. and has more than a decade of coaching experience.