While Texas has stacked up on talent at the skill positions this cycle, many have understandably wondered when they were going to start picking up commitments from big bodies in the trenches. With the talent in the state being down on both the offensive and defensive line, it was important for the staff to cherry pick within the state while casting a wider net nationally.
In the case of Keondre Coburn, you have one of the nation’s best defensive tackles that hails from a talented pipeline in Westfield high school, which has been known to churn out defensive line talent over the years under AJ Blum (now the defensive line coach at Houston). As everyone knows, Texas tight ends coach Corby Meekins was the head coach at Westfield before joining Tom Herman’s staff when he arrived at Houston.
Coburn has been a known commodity for a while now after making his fair share of plays next to Ed Oliver, who is now wrecking offensive game plans in the AAC. Coburn racked up Power 5 offers last year from regional programs last spring, but really hit the big time when Michigan offered last May. Once Texas entered the fray in January of this year I felt like the offer was a game changer. With Meekins now in Austin and the Longhorn on the front of his shirt, I felt pretty confident that Texas’ issues of being able to get their foot in the door at Westfield were over.
While it certainly wasn’t a cake walk for Meekins with national powers like Alabama lurking in the recruitment, he was able to reel in the big defensive tackle and land a blue chipper at a position of need for the Longhorns.
On tape Coburn looks like your prototypical nose tackle who is going to anchor a defensive line on the interior. His bread and butter to his game is easy to identify, as he likes to use his strength and power to his advantage to overpower and stalemate his opponents at the LOS against both the run and the pass. He’s not a guy who is going to really try to finesse you when it comes to getting off blocks, but he shows that he has good hand usage (something a lot of young defensive linemen struggle with) and flashes an arm over move along with a little spin move. While both of those moves are in the early stages of development, it at least shows he has a few things in the toolbox to work with at this stage in his development.
Power is the name to the game for Coburn, and his ability to anchor and hold his ground at the LOS will be beneficial, as he will be asked to command double teams on the interior on odd fronts. Another thing that stands out about Coburn is his hustle and effort. Often you will see big guys shutting it down when they are on the back side of plays or the play goes away from him, but Coburn is constantly staying active and staying in the camera frame in pursuit of the ball carrier. Even if he overruns a play, he shows effort by working his way back in the frame and getting a piece of the action. Stuff like that will get you noticed and on the field in short order at the next level and it is always a plus to see it from a defensive lineman.
For those who were concerned with the shortage of beef, Coburn brings almost 330 pounds of it with him to Austin. While I certainly believe he will be asked to slim down a bit to get to a more ideal playing weight that will allow him to stay on the field longer, there is no doubting Coburn’s ability and him being one of the top interior defensive linemen in the state and in the country.
While he certainly had a bit of a built in advantage, this is big recruiting win for Meekins, as he had to fight off several national powers to land Coburn’s commitment. For Texas, this is yet another Houston domino that hits the ground, as they continue to dominant the talent rich area this cycle and continue to build a monster of a recruiting class. If Herman and his staff can continue to add quality big bodies in the trenches on both sides of the ball this cycle, then it will be hard to find weaknesses in the class they are assembling.
Even with the season rapidly approaching and the dead period being in effect, it could be another busy month of recruiting leading up to the first kickoff.