Greetings Tech Fans!
We wrap up our offensive section of the recruiting review with analysis of the Interior Offensive Line. These are smaller and more athletic linemen than their (typically) larger Offensive Tackle counterparts.
Proof of Concept
I cannot stress enough how important offensive lineman are to an effective offense. The interior line, made up of guards and centers, are especially important to the run game. The run game is important to setting up the pass which is important to further opening up the run game which is important to controlling the clock...
Do you see where I’m going here? The offensive line is important.
I firmly believe in the DeMarco Murray theory. Allow me to lean on the NFL for sake of argument.
The Dallas Cowboys don’t consistently lead the league in rushing because they had the best RB. They lead the league because they have the best offensive line. That’s why DeMarco Murray never came close to repeating his magical 2014 rushing title yet the Cowboys still lead the league consistently.
Now that I’ve stressed the importance of the line. Let’s get into the new additions and why they make Tech so much better overall.
Ryan Johnson | Graduate Transfer | Tennessee
First overall, we have an immediate starter transferring in to get excited about. In his time at Tennessee, Ryan Johnson was a 3-year starter and adds immediate size and experience that Dave Patenaude desperately needs.
Officially listed as a guard, he’s played right and left guard as well as a full year at center (2018). He’s been a mainstay on the Vol’s line and graduated with a degree in Civil Engineering. Seeking a Masters in Structural Engineering, Johnson has one year of eligibility remaining.
There’s no way he loses the job and will probably slot in at LG for 2020. He seemed to lose favor somehow after switching to LG in 2019 and decided to transfer out.
Its surprisingly hard to find highlight footage of him recently but check out this snippet from Tenn at Auburn 2018 below. At Center, he paves the way for a first and more:
A better compilation from his high school senior season is also available:
In the film I watched, he appears to be athletic and versatile. Johnson moves quickly to pick up blitzes and has a devastating power when he gathers speed.
There are moments where he is overwhelmed by a single defender. I’m not sure how to explain this but it seems footwork might be a weakness. Regardless, he is clearly better than our current starters and should enjoy a big year on The Flats.
Paula Talimoni Vaipulu | Channelview (Channelview, Texas.)
He played a majority of his senior season at left tackle out of necessity. The LT is almost always the best lineman on any team and his size better translates to center at the next level.
Listed at 6-3, 305 lbs, Vaipulu came to The Flats turning down offers from Nebraska, Houston, Missouri, and Boston College.
The exciting thing about Vaipulu is that his film shows he needs to work on technique and footwork to get better at the next level, often using his sheer strength and size to overwhelm defenders. He shows excellent field vision in finding the nearest threat and pancaking them. You can’t teach size.
Cade Kootsouradis | Crestview (Crestview, Fla.)
Cade is officially listed at Offensive Tackle but spent his senior year at center to better prepare him for college. At 6-4, 285 lbs, he is a 3-star that came to us over offers from Southern Miss, Cincinnaiti, Vanderbilt, and Louisville. ( Rivals 5.5 | 247Composite 0.8473 )
Cade has amazing tape and really hypes me up about his addition. He has great technique and down-field blocking. Several plays show him effectively getting to the second level and making lanes for his runningback. Additionally, I was impressed by his pass blocking and ability there. Its honestly an art and he already has a good grasp on how to give up ground yet keep his quarterback clean.
Ryan Spiers | Biloxi (Biloxi, Miss.)
Last but not least, another big fella joins the crew with Ryan Spiers out of Mississippi. At 6-4, 275, Spiers turned down offers from South Alabama and UAB. He is a lower 3-star guard. ( Rivals 5.4 | 247 Composite NR )
Still an exciting prospect as his size indicates potential to grow under Brent Key and his NFL-caliber leadership.
Unfortunately, Spiers does not have one nice and neat senior reel but does show some promise as a bruising run blocker. His technique is solid and with some added mass, he should fit nicely into our new pro-style scheme.
I hate to use the term, but we are really taking a flier on this one. Crazier things have happened as we are talking about high schoolers. I for one believe in Brent Key’s vision.
That’ll do it for this one. Get excited about bigger guys in the trenches and remember:
Don’t tweet at recruits!
Until next time,