The Texas Longhorns have their first commitment of the 2013 class in the books, and Celina's Jake Raulerson is a nice way to kick off the new cycle.
Jake Raulerson played virtually every snap of the two games Hookem.com was on hand for in 2011.
The 6-foot-5, 260-pound lineman from Celina, who was recently named a 247Sports 2013 All-American and ranks No. 23 overall in the Top247, made his long-expected commitment official on Friday.
In addition to watching camp settings and offseason workouts, Hookem.com also saw Raulerson play twice during his junior year – a regular season win over Van Alstyne and a playoff loss to Henderson.
Raulerson played just about every snap of both games and showed why he pulled in nearly 30 verbal offers before ending the process and committing to the Longhorns.
When Raulerson did rest in both games, it was on defense but it was only for a few plays at a time. He was too valuable to Celina's run game to take him out of the game.
Against Van Alstyne, Raulerson helped pave the way for a run game that rolled up 437 yards on the ground on just 24 rushing attempts. Raulerson had four pancake blocks in the win.
On defense in that same game, Raulerson recorded 16 tackles, four sacks, four tackles for loss and a fumble recovery. Maybe the best stat of the night was that Raulerson actually broke his facemask and had to come out of the game for a few plays.
On the hoof:
Raulerson's frame screams offensive tackle or 3-4 defensive end at the next level. His weight has been anywhere between 245-260 over the past year and a half, but he's one of the more well-put together specimens in the class.
For a little more on that, I was told by a co-worker when I went to find Raulerson and meet him for the first time to, “Go look for the high school kid who looks like Grant Wistrom,” referring to Raulerson looking like the former All-Pro defensive end and All-American at Nebraska.
Raulerson could play defensive end or anywhere on the offensive line in college depending on how he matures.
That pretty much describes Raulerson on the hoof in a nutshell.
What he does well:
The thing that leaps off of the page with Raulerson is his motor. Some look at the big hits in his highlight video, and those are impressive, but there's a lot to be said for a prospect who you know what you're going to get on every single snap.
His flexibility, foot quickness, intelligence and willingness to finish blocks on every play makes him impressive to watch when he's working along the offensive front. His lateral quickness and ability to get to the second level is off the charts. When you combine everything, he's got the ability to play all five positions at the next level if his body allows him.
Defensively his motors helps but the thing I noticed is that he's a disciplined player who does a consistently good job of maintaining gap integrity. At the high school level he's strong enough to overpower most guards and quick enough to turn the corner against people on passing downs.
He had a quieter night against Henderson, mostly because they ran away from him and the Bobcats gave up some huge plays in the passing game (injuries on the back end didn't help the Celina defense that night either).
Where he can improve:
That depends on where Raulerson ultimately plays.
If he does indeed begin his Texas career at defensive end, he'll be more of a power end. I think he'd be a great compliment to a potentially elite edge rusher like Torshiro Davis. The big adjustment will be getting used to playing wider as he plays closer to the ball at the high school.
Raulerson's natural position on offense is center, and if he gets big enough to move over to offense he could be a long-term answer there for Texas. He can play multiple positions, but there's a lot to be determined if Raulerson ever makes the jump.
Raulerson is one of those guys that barring something unforeseen (injury, off the field issues, etc.) should be a highly-productive college player. I think his best position long term is either as a 3-4 defensive end, or at center.
No matter where he plays, the thing you love about Raulerson as a prospect is his motor, his passion for the game, and the fact that he's got talent maximizer written all over him. When you take those things into account and add his talent to the equation, you see why Texas is taking him as the first commitment in the class.
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