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January 27, 2014

Elbert brings size, mean streak to '15 class

Offensive tackle and now Texas A&M commit Trevor Elbert of Rockwall Heath has one of the most impressive offer lists in the 2015 class: Alabama, Baylor, Ole Miss, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Texas, and of course the Aggies. He's a national recruit and the most highly sought after lineman in a position group that features several members of the Rivals 250.

That's because in a state where it's hard to find high school offensive linemen in the 290 pound plus range, Elbert is 6 foot 6 and 292 pounds and he's not overweight either. He played mostly in a two point stance as a sophomore but spent more time in a three point stance as a junior and displayed knees and hips that enabled him to come off the ball lower than he did the previous year. He did a better job of getting his hands up and keeping them inside as well.

In particular, his upper body is already massive and in that regard he looks like that he is ready to play college football right now. Many linemen control the game with their feet and their ability to get position. Elbert uses his upper body to do the same thing. He is so strong that once he gets his hands on an opponent, it is all over. To paraphrase an expression, he doesn't just take defenders where they want to go…he takes them where HE wants them to go. He'll actually turn people 360 degrees so that they wind up with their backs facing away from the line of scrimmage. There's not many high school blockers who can turn people solely with their upper bodies but he's certainly able to do it. In addition, in pass pro, it's very hard to get around him because once he gets his hands on you he just keeps riding you out of the play.

He actually has thinner legs than most linemen his size and because of that he's not so bottom heavy that he can't move. He's very adept at pulling and trapping because he can turn so quickly, get going down the line of scrimmage, and demolish an opponent. In fact, despite his size, Heath will pull him moreso than any other lineman. He also has such good coordination that even after making contact with the first opponent he can keep going and continue downfield to take on people at the second level.

Most of all, what really stands out about him is his mean streak. Many big high school linemen aren't necessarily finesse players but they are still trying to grow into their bodies and find their coordination. Others have always been the biggest kid on the block and play like they're afraid that they are going to hurt someone. You don't have to worry about that with Elbert; he tries to get people off their feet, pile drive them into the turf, and he does it far more often than most linemen. He'll also stay after them and find other people to block at the second level even after his initial block. He has the footwork to play aggressively and without the fear that the opponent will take advantage of that type of mindset.

Elbert reminds me of former A&M great Luke Joeckel in that he plays tall sometimes due to his height and doesn't have great footspeed. When evaluating Joeckel, those things threw people off because he lacked the lateral mobility of someone such as Cedric Ogbeuhi. However, like Joeckel, Elbert has a strong upper body, relatively long arms, uses his hands well, and is extremely well coordinated. He plays within his body frame and doesn't get overextended and out of position. I'm not saying that he's an eventual number two pick in the NFL Draft but those components not only enabled Joeckel to play left tackle but come in and play early in college because he was so physically ready. Elbert has played right tackle, left tackle, and guard in high school and I'm not so sure that his best position isn't right tackle.

Overall, Elbert's commitment continues a trend that A&M began with the 2014 class in that the play and draft stock of Luke Joeckel and Jake Matthews enabled the Aggies to land multiple four star prospects at tackle. The 2015 class is shaping up to be even better as there are even more 6 foot 5 plus tackle prospects in the state that can perhaps move down and play guard and Elbert is a great start to that class.


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