There is a familiar look to a lot of top high school offensive linemen highlight films. So many of them can pretty much dominate with size and strength alone and it’s them down blocking smaller players into oblivion on repeat far too often.
It’s the truly athletic offensive linemen that get me excited about their potential at the next level though. That’s why I’m really excited about Washington offensive tackle commit Luke Wattenberg and what his future entails with the Huskies. He has the athletic tools to develop into an elite left tackle in the Pac-12.
It’s not hard to believe Wattenberg also plays basketball. He is incredibly agile for a big man and has great feet. He’s a great athlete for the position. He has the kind of length programs are looking for in a tackle and has the frame to easily get to over 300 pounds, but still has quite a bit of developing to do physically in both his upper and lower body.
His ability to move so well is what makes Wattenberg so good. He pulls, reaches, and gets to the second level with ease because his feet are so good. He is quick at the snap and is able to get himself in a good position just about every rep because his feet lead him there. That’s a big reason why he is so good in JSerra Catholic’s zone running scheme. He wins with his feet first.
He has some nasty to his game and wants to finish, but doesn’t get there as much as he probably should. A lot of it has to do with him fitting his block poorly. It’s not a pad level thing (he bends to get low) or a hand placement thing. It’s more about him overextending and almost reaching. His aggression needs to be more in control and that will allow him to not only sustain blocks longer, but also finish. Too often he is pulling the one-hitter and his defender is able to jump back into the play because he doesn’t sustain long enough.
I love what I see from Wattenberg in pass protection. He’s a knee bender that has good balance and is light on his feet. He uses his length well, but has to get stronger to improve his punch. He’s a bit vulnerable when it comes to the bull rush because he’s a little light in the pants at this point in his development, but once he adds weight and gets stronger I don’t imagine it will be too much of an issue. He has all the tools to be outstanding in this area.
Wattenberg’s future is at left tackle for the Huskies, but he could fit in at guard if needed as well. He’s the kind of athlete that can play anywhere on the line and is a perfect lineman for a zone running scheme.
Wattenberg has quite a bit of physical development to do and is going to need some time to get strong enough to reach his full potential at the next level, but once he does, he has the rest of the tools to be an outstanding offensive tackle for the UW. Chris Petersen landed two good tackles in Henry Roberts and Trey Adams last cycle and he’s keeping it rolling with another great addition to the Huskies offensive line.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).