Add offensive tackle Braden Smith (Olathe, Kan./Olathe South) to the list of 2014 recruits with official offers from Texas.
Olathe South head coach Jeff Gourley told HornsNation on Thursday that his talented prospect, who is already a known commodity throughout the nation, was offered by Longhorns offensive line coach Stacy Searels.
“Talented is a good way to describe him,” Gourley chuckled. “You can’t say enough about him. We heard the stories and then all of a sudden we saw him as a freshman and he was just what we hoped. He’s legit.”
Searels first reached out to Gourley in May and wanted to stop by the school to see Smith in person. But Gourley denied his request.
“I told him no, that they couldn’t come by,” he said. “Braden is equally interested in his academics. Whatever he is involved in is what he is focused on. At the time Searels called, we were in the qualifying meets for the state track meet. Braden also throws. When Stacey called I had told them about the agreement we had [that Gourley acts as the buffer between Smith and all coaches/media]. I didn’t understand it as though they [Texas] were offering anything at that point. In our text message the other day Stacey said, ‘I want to make clear that we are offering him a scholarship.’ ”
The 6-foot-6, 273-pound Smith already has offers from Iowa, Kansas, Kansas State, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Stanford, TCU, Texas A&M and Virginia.
“He is extremely strong,” Gourley said. “He is a 475 bench press. He did 455 twice, which reps out to 475, and did 455 like it was a walk in the park. We’ve capped him at 525 on the squat. There’s no reason for him to go any higher.”
Gourley said that Smith has anywhere from 5 to 7 percent body fat and that his strength is an obvious strong suit of his game. But it’s his flexibility that Gourley believes separates Smith from everyone else.
“He has tremendous low-end power,” he said. “I realized he was just a different caliber than anybody when last year during the second game he flipped off of a block and picked up a linebacker in his face. He just popped him right in his face.
“He had one leg that was out in front of him, absorbed the blow from linebacker on one leg. He went all the way to the ground, came back up and put the guy on his butt. That was all done one-legged. When he came up out of that I froze it on the screen. I showed that to one college coach and he said ‘That is unbelievable.’”
Because of plays like that, college programs from across the country have inquired about Smith.
The odds of him checking out games on the campuses of any of these schools this season are slim to none. The two sides have an agreement that from the start of the season to their final game he is off limits to all recruiting interest.
That could make it difficult to acquire an accurate reading on his interests. But it won’t stop programs from inquiring about him.