Jake Stickler became Georgia Tech's twelfth commitment on my 22nd birthday, July 26, 2013. He was the first of two commitments that weekend, the other being Caleb Kinlaw, the South Carolina RB who flipped to Wisconsin at his first opportunity. He hails from Manatee High School in Bradenton, FL, about half an hour south of St. Petersburg. He stands at 6'5", 285lbs, making him the second-heaviest of this class behind Gary Brown. He breaks a streak of guys who played both ways (Klock, Austins, Searcy, and Preddy were all both-way players, and all came in a row in this series), playing offensive tackle (mostly right tackle). He had FIVE teammates sign with BCS-level schools, including Mizzou, South Florida, Temple, and Rutgers, with a four-star DT Demarcus Christmas who signed with Florida State. Stickler himself signed with Georgia Tech over offers from Mizzou, South Florida, and Baylor.
Stickler's film is limited, but being an OL we can learn a lot (relatively) about his game from limited film. There were three main things I noticed about Stickler's game from his film. First, you notice that he, like Preddy, has a really good "motor" as much as an OL can have one. Stickler...sticks...with the play long after the first hit or two (as does Preddy), and routinely blocks three or four players in any given run play. Second, he does an awful lot of pulling on those run plays. He's another big guy, but he's as athletic as anyone when he pulls and has to hit a hole before the RB gets there. That doesn't necessarily apply to Tech's offense (it's very rare we pull guards in our offensive scheme), but it does translate if he is to play guard and need to go attack linebackers. (Remember, once upon a time CPJ valued "smaller" OL because their mobility was inevitably better. In Stickler's case though, it may not be a case of "pick one".) The last thing I notice in his film is how well he does at rotating defenders when blocking them. He has this really fluid, natural way of turning guys to either seal an edge or open a hole, and he generally does a great job of getting defenders to a place where they're unable to make a play. Put together those three major skills, and we could have another stud OL on our hands.
Stickler's height probably makes him a tackle, where he could use a larger frame and longer wingspan in stopping pass rushers coming around the edge. (Since, you know, that's a major consideration with this offense and such.) That said, he could also play guard with his mobility, though that would probably require him to put on another 30 or so pounds, which could hinder that athleticism. Either way, I'd imagine he ends up between 300-310lbs, and my guess is that he'll play tackle. As for playing as a freshman, Stickler is lucky to be coming in at a time when the Jackets are replacing their two senior starters, and there's not an abundance of established OTs on the roster. I expect the starters at OT to be Trey Braun and Chris Griffin, and Bryan Chamberlain is likely to be the first guy off the bench (though his track record is far from solid), but there's plenty of room there for Stickler to work himself into a rotation that might be four or five guys deep.
Stickler was listed as a 3-star prospect by Rivals (5.5) and the 247Sports Composite (.8489).
Does Stickler impress you as much as he does me? Do you have a favorite part of his game? Is he the type of guy you want to see playing early on in his career, or would you rather he have time to develop?