BYU and LSU are facing off in Houston to open this upcoming season and I previewed their battle over at SB Nation.
Both teams covet the ability to recruit Houston but both teams are looking for very different types of players. LSU has been pilfering some of the top DBs (and top players in general) out of the state of Texas for the last several years, with things really picking up when A&M joined the SEC and Mack Brown’s Longhorns collapsed like a dying star.
For reasons I’ve mentioned before, Houston has the most athletic talent of any metro area in the Big 12 recruiting landscape and probably as much or more than maybe two or so other metro areas in the country. They scored Grant Delpit in the last cycle, a kid who played at Lamar high school which has an unreal amount of skill talent every year (including three of the state’s best players overall for 2018) and they like to supplement their roster with Texans when they can. There’s also a lot of New Orleans transplants in the Houston area and East Texas in general is basically an extension of the South.
For their own part, BYU wants to be a national program and serve as a mascot for the growing Mormon church in the same way that Notre Dame has traditionally served the Catholic community. Recruiting Texas is useful towards that end in securing whatever Texas high schoolers may be connected to the church, particularly guys like Tejan Koroma.
As I mention in the piece, Koroma was a two-star recruit out of Allen HS (DFW) who’s time there overlapped with that of five-star LT Greg Little and fellow munchkin and five-star QB Kyler Murray. As a 6-0, 260 pound dude many college were dubious about whether Koroma’s HS dominance would translate to college but it has…very much so. His play reminds me a lot of Terrale Johnson’s at K-State last year, short but scrappy OL have been killing it on outside zone for a long, long time now.
More Big 12 teams should be snatching up these shorter road-graders and building out run-centric offenses with them, it’s a major marginal advantage but it only goes to teams that want to build out their offense around running the ball and thrown on play-action like the classic Boise State teams have done. If you want to throw 50x a game in the Air Raid you need taller, heftier fellows.