Just 24 hours after landing the commitment of Vernon Broughton, the Texas staff doubled up in the trenches by earning the commitment of 3-star defensive end Van Fillinger out of Corner Canyon HS in Draper, UT.
With as much attention as Broughton received over the past week, it was safe to say that Fillinger wasn’t on the radar of many Texas fans despite him visiting Austin twice during the spring and having favorable things to say about the Longhorns. Fillinger’s commitment gives the Longhorns their third commitment along the defensive front in the month July and now allows them to focus on guys like Alfred Collins and possibly Princely Umanmielen.
Fillinger is listed as a defensive end by recruiting services, but you often see him lined up inside over guards rather than coming off the edge. At 6’3.5, 250 pounds, Fillinger possesses solid size and profiles as a guy that will continue to fill out and play at around 275 or 280 at the collegiate level. From my initial observations of Fillinger, the things that stood out the most to me was his quickness of snap and ability to shoot the gaps, as well his outstanding effort he gives from snap to snap. Both of these traits will play up very well in Todd Orlando’s defensive scheme, given that we know that Orlando doesn’t deploy your prototypical nose tackle. While Fillinger likely doesn’t project to a pocket collapsing Aaron Donald type of interior defender, he definitely profiles as a guy I can see inflicting his fair share of no gain and negative plays just based off his willingness to get off the rock consistently and keep his motor burning hot at all times. Fillinger isn’t a guy who makes a ton of splash plays that are going to show up in the box score, but he is the type of player that plays a very important role within the scheme and still provide tremendous value. It can at times be tough to find players to fit these roles given that it takes a fair amount of selflessness to get your hands dirty down after down and not necessary get the glory, so the importance of landing a guy like Fillinger can’t be understated.
While many were still riding the high of landing Broughton, Fillinger snuck in the back door and kept the good vibes flowing for Texas fans, as the momentum continues to build on the recruiting trail for the Longhorns. As mentioned above, while Fillinger won’t grab the same headlines as Broughton, his commitment should absolutely be celebrated given his projected role within the defense.
Texas defensive line coach Oscar Giles has been the punch line of many jokes over the past couple of cycles on Longhorn message boards, but after landing Broughton and Fillinger the long time Texas assistant has to be content as he is now able to focus on his remaining targets that reside just up road in Bastrop and Manor. If the Longhorns are able to finish off the defensive line class with Collins and/or Umanmielen then I would call that a resounding success all around.
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