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June 12, 2013

Texas' top interior offensive linemen

1. Demetrius Knox, Fort Worth All Saints Episcopal

2. Connor Mayes, Van Alstyne

3. Terrell Cuney, Jasper (committed to Texas)

4. Jacob Bragg, Nacogdoches

5. Cory Klingler, New Caney (committed to Rice)

6. Tejan Koroma, Allen

7. Evan Brown, Southlake Carroll (committed to SMU)

8. Braylon Hyder, Houston Lamar (committed to SMU)

We've brought up before that it's not a great year for talent on the offensive side of the ball within the state of Texas. That goes not just for the skill positions but for the offensive line as well. There's not a single four star ranked prospect at offensive tackle and there's a similar dearth of elite talent on the interior. That's not to say that you can't find people that can play; it's just that the vast majority of them will require some time to develop both physically and technically.

Rivals.com has Demetrius Knox as the number one ranked offensive guard in the state and it's easy to concur with that analysis. He is a big, powerful prospect who is more physically mature than most people who will see at the position going into their final year of high school. For that reason alone, he began obtaining offers last spring far in advance of any other lineman in the state. However, many people have offered him at tackle but Knox does not move as well laterally as most people you would assume to be tackles would. Right now, he gets by on being able to use his hands to grab and push people around and he needs to be able to use them more inside to provide better leverage and not make it easy to be spotted for holding penalties.

Mayes is a versatile prospect in that he can play center or guard. He's a massive SEC-sized lineman who (for someone his size) doesn't do a bad job of getting out to the second level and maneuvering himself to wall off linebackers. He's also big enough to take on someone head up and stalemate them. It's simply not fair when people try to take him up high where he can use his hands and brute strength to stalemate them. His biggest issue is improving his lateral mobility so that he can match a defensive tackle's first step and cut off penetration.

In contrast, Cuney is more of a Big 12 type prospect because he's somewhat undersized (6 foot 3, 260 pounds). However, Cuney makes up for it with outstanding quickness off the ball. In addition, he has sufficient flexibility in his hips and knees so that he comes off of it low and gets leverage on defenders. These items enable him to be able to play bigger than his size. He's also got a strong upper body (he's a powerlifter) and quick feet that serve him well in lateral movement for pass pro and enable him to drive people in the run game. He also likes to stay with people and maul them and can deep snap as well.

Bragg is very much like Mayes physically and can also play center. However, he doesn't stalemate people as much when they go straight at him because he lacks Mayes' bulk. He also needs to improve his lateral quickness and work on keeping his hands inside the defender's.

Although listed as a center by Rivals.com, Klingler plays right tackle in high school. He's big enough to take on a defensive lineman's initial surge and stay upright to maintain and win the block. Due to his height, he appears to be best served by playing in an offense that uses zone blocking where he can get his hands on people and move laterally with them. He does have pretty good feet and on film and can get outside position on a defender lined up on a his outside shoulder. His main attribute is that he just keeps after people.

Koroma is like Cuney, an undersized center. He comes off the ball, keeps his feet moving, and can just bury people by staying low and using leverage. He is also good at getting to the second level. He does need to learn to stay lower in his stance.

A&M related

The Aggies initially offered Knox but cooled on him later. They offered Mayes just recently. Otherwise, they have no other offers out on the interior line, even out of state. The Aggies could move one of their offers at tackle inside due to a dearth of suitable interior prospects in this class. In fact, the Aggies have commitments from Kealvin Davis (could eventually play inside) and Koda Martin and just recently offered LaGrange's Zach Ledwik. There's a number of high quality out of state tackle prospects that the Aggies have offered so far including Braden Smith, Casey Tucker, and Andy Bauer (committed to Ole Miss). However, most of their offers are better suited to playing tackle and A&M may eventually go the juco route depending on what happens the rest of the way. Smith has visited A&M unofficially and Tucker should take an official visit to A&M at some point.

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