Image via city-data.com
During last week’s open posts, K mentioned that the staff had been sniffing around Manor H.S. just outside of the devil’s den in central Texas. Hopefully the coaches will pick up the trail soon, because there’s a player down there I think will be a good one along the offensive line. Henry Mitchell (VIDEO) goes 6’4″ 306 and is a 2015 graduate. K asked me to take a look at his game and see what I thought.
The first thing that really stands out to me is his size. Dwayne Orso, who is coming in this year for us on the defensive side of the ball, had a teammate who committed elsewhere named Jordan Sims. Physically, Jordan and Henry are very, very similar. Henry, like Jordan, is very thick in his lower body and extremely strong. While he needs to work on applying his strength and letting that translate to the playing field, the raw materials for a future steamroller are definitely there. I know I sound like a broken record sometimes, but pad level is everything when it comes to playing offensive line. You can be a battering ram if you’re playing flat backed or, if you’re too high, you can just look average.
Whenever you get a guy who goes 6’4″ or more, pad level is always going to be a struggle. Especially when the weight they’re carrying isn’t distributed like it will be once they’re in a college program for a couple of years. I can still hear Coach Scheible, my offensive line coach, yelling at us that we’re too high. He would always talk about striking off of the line of scrimmage and delivering a blow within that first couple of steps. He said there was a difference between coming off of the ball and striking off of the ball. Before I got to college, I never thought of it that way, but by my second or third year I learned how to really come off the ball and put the hurt on someone in one or two steps. It’s easier to get nastier as you get older as well. You’re whole life as a big guy you’re told to play nice, you don’t know your own strength. And turning off years of conditioning mentally can be tough. Now, as I sit here as a 37 year old, it’s much easier to understand why those old men always tell you that they wish they could go back knowing what they know now.
So without knowing anything at all about Henry, I can see from watching his film that he still hasn’t learned how to cut it loose just yet. He’s close, but he’s not racking up those frequent flier miles on the Nasty Express just yet. It’s more of a learning thing at this point for him than it is an inability to do so. Most offensive linemen like Henry, who have great size and athleticism, are like a work of art that isn’t quite finished yet. It’s like a canvas that just doesn’t have a few of the lines drawn or painted yet. As they work on their game, the different colors and shading will all be filled in. It can be advanced or as simple as they’d like it to be, but in my opinion the difference between Player A and Player B isn’t all that much. It comes down to desire and willingness to work hard on the little things that’s going to make people great.
When I watch film, I only look for a player to flash at one or two things to know that the guy has the ability to play. At the 1:09 mark of his Hudl tape, Henry is perfect in his technique. He knocks a guy back into the end zone on a short yardage play and looks great doing it. He comes off and three point contacts the defender exactly how you want to see it done. His head is in the middle of the defenders chest, he shoots his hands, drives his feet, and executes a textbook block. Henry has it in him, he just has to mine it out. He’s truly one of those guys who can be a diamond in the rough. I like him as a player, and love the raw materials he brings to the table.
I know here lately that I’ve written that about quite a few guys. But once you have enough ability to pay the price of admission, proving that they hired/chose the right guy is a mission you have to go on every day. How bad do you want to fight to prove that you’re the right person for the job? Taking a quote from a well known entertainer:
“I want people to walk around delusional about how great they can be—and then fight so hard for it every day that the lie becomes truth.” – Lady Gaga
When you have natural ability already, and you’re willing to outwork people like Michael Jordan and Adrian Peterson do, the sky is truly the limit. That’s what makes those two greater than everyone else. The willingness to outwork everyone else without question. Being the best at not only what they do, but having the best work habits.