Image via 247 Sports
Erick Fowler | Defensive End/Outside Linebacker | Class of 2016 | Manor, TX | VIDEO
Fowler is only a 2016 graduate, but could be growing into one of the most sought after prospects in the state of Texas. He’s listed at 6’3″ 215 pounds which is pretty good size for a kid who is still learning how to drive. How big he actually gets by the time he graduates will determine where he’ll play at the next level, But as of today he looks like a perfect candidate to become an All-Conference Jack LB. Though he is still in need of refinement in parts of his game, there is a lot to like about Fowler.
Currently, Fowler’s stance is too upright and he also needs to work on his hand placement. A West Virginia coach once told me, “always have the hands up at the snap, they’re your guns and knifes out there.” Right now it doesn’t matter because Erick is such a good athlete he’s able to get sack after sack just off his overall speed and his ability to turn the corner. And while that edge speed is incredibly impressive there are times when he’ll get too far upfield, which causes a vertical gap that can be just as scary as your horizontal gaps. But his closing speed and lateral quickness allows him to compensate for such mistakes at this level.
The play that sticks out to me when watching Fowler’s film is one against Hutto (you can see it here at the 0:37 mark). He is lined up against the RT with the RB also on his side. He uses a side step and swipe move which allows his hips to get a little parallel, what we would call ‘getting skinny’, and the tackle doesn’t even get a hand on him. At which point, the RB tries to cut him but his hips and good hand placement allow Fowler to easily get past the attempted cut-block and record the sack. That single play is so impressive that it may have been enough to say that this kid is most likely worth of an offer. He has another play where he counters with one step upfield, then drives inside the B-gap, easily getting the sack. These types of plays, at this age, tell me he will probably have scholarship offers from coast-to-coast.
Right now as a pass rusher, like most high school sophomores, he remains pretty raw. But he is so strong and explosive, that he can still utilize a classic “bull rush” on some of the lighter offensive tackles. In fact, he seems to really like that move as a counter to when he uses his speed rush off the edge. A perfect example of that comes in a play against Cedar Creek where he used his bull rush against their LT who was simply no match for Fowler’s incredible overall strength and leverage. Fowler also has longer arms, which allows him to set his leverage easily and create a lot of space. Everyone wants to get caught up with height and weight, but having long arms is equally important for pass rushing ability.
Overall, in my opinion, Fowler is a can’t miss type of prospect. I think right now for OU’s defense, he would be considered more of a “Jack” prospect because of how versatile he is on the field. If he keeps growing, I would have zero problem offering him as a 4-tech and really believe he would be a guy similar to Charles Tapper. Either way, Fowler is an incredible specimen to watch and I believe he will be all-conference type performer.