For some time now I’ve mentioned how the Texas offensive line meeting room was oversaturated with guard bodies and lacked players that could be projected to offensive tackle. In 2017, after Connor Williams went down against USC, Texas was forced to run out Derek Kerstetter and Denzel Okafor at tackle and both of them have higher ceilings along the interior.
With the staff looking to take close to 30 in this recruiting cycle, I’m not surprised that in some cases they are taking fliers on some guys who have a lot raw tools and upside that they can slap a redshirt on for two to three years before they are asked to be relied upon. Programs with healthy rosters and quality depth are able to do this year in and out and we know that Texas hasn’t had that luxury over the past several years.
In my book, Christian Jones fits the bill of a raw, high upside player that is by no means ready to contribute immediately, but he has traits and upside that you can’t ignore and tools that an offensive line coach looks for in offensive tackle prospects.
Texas arrived a little late to the party on Jones, but once they got there they made a lot of noise and didn’t waste any time loving up the big man from Cypress, Texas. Jones made the call to Tom Herman and Herb Hand and let them know he wanted to be a Longhorn.
Name: Christian Jones
Position: Offensive Tackle
High School: Cypress Woods
City & State: Cypress, TX
Height: 6’6 (247Sports, Unverified)
Weight: 285 (247Sports, Unverified)
40-yard time: N/A
No Stats available
- Listed at 6’6, 285 pounds, Jones possesses ideal tackle measurables to stick at the position long term.
- Moves and bends well for his size and has good feet. Left tackle starter kit is there for sure.
- Preferred to play defense, but his upside is at offensive tackle. His aggressive disposition and athleticism will translate well.
- Gives good effort and will hustle down the field to try to throw an extra block.
- Possesses good balance and coordination. Don’t see him falling over himself or looking clumsy often.
- Does a good job sustaining blocks and not getting thrown off by defenders.
- Dripping with upside due to the fact that he hasn’t played the game very long.
- Very raw at the position and to the game of football in general. He is going to need some time to develop and learn the technical side of the position.
- Coming out of a heavy offense, he is a pretty big question mark as a pass blocker.
- As a pass blocker he has a habit of catching defenders rather than delivering a punch.
- Appears to lack any experience with straight drop back pass sets due to the offense he was in.
- Could be a potential boom/bust guy if his development doesn’t go according to plan.
When I’m watching the tape of an offensive linemen and I’m trying to determine if they have the chops to project to tackle, the first things I look for is ideal measurables (particularly length) and athleticism (particularly foot speed and the ability to bend). Jones possesses both of those traits already at this stage in his development and even though he is raw as all get out right now his athletic traits make him a very intriguing prospect to me.
Jones moves incredibly well for a kid his size (listed at 6’6, 285) and he shows it off in particular as he is hustling down the field and maneuvering to the second and third levels. One thing that stands out in particular is his balance and coordination. Even when the wheels are spinning at a high rate of speed and he is engaged on a block and he doesn’t lose his balance or trip over himself in the process. If he is falling on the ground he is either trying to execute a cut block or is finishing off a defender and that’s very positive characteristic of his play for me. I also love that he consistently brings his feet with him upon contact with defenders and by that I mean his feet don’t stop when he gets engaged with someone.
Jones operates out of a heavy run offense and it’s obvious by how much they have offensive line heavy on their toes in their stances. I take that into account when I see how raw he is as a pass blocker at this stage and you can tell he hasn’t been asked to do it a bunch at Cy-Woods. Pass blocking looks like a foreign concept to him right now, as he doesn’t move his feet well and he more or less gets by on pure athleticism right now. Even when they do throw the ball it is mostly sprint out type throws or the pocket is being moved as opposed to straight drop backs like he will be asked to do at Texas.
Some may think this is filler type offer, but personally I think Jones could be a diamond in the rough find if given enough time to properly develop and he comes with the right mental makeup. I firmly believe that the athletic traits he possesses will translate well to the college level and will give him the opportunity to be a nice player down the line.
He may look like a project right now, but with some time, patience, and some tutoring from new Texas offensive line coach Herb Hand, I think he could end up being a ball player. Slap a redshirt on this kid, give him 2-3 years with Hand and Yancy McKnight and then lets see what he is made of out there when the time calls for. Personally I am very intrigued by him as a prospect and excited to see where he goes from here in his development.