If you know anything about ESPN 150 lineman Jake Raulerson (Celina, Texas/Celina) it’s that his competitive spirit never wavers.
That passion is why the Longhorns wanted him as the first member of their 2013 recruiting class.
Now he’ll take that competitive to the Nike World Headquarters in Oregon to compete in The Opening from July 5-8.
It’s a chance to rub elbows with some of the nation’s best, sure, but he’s also looking forward to putting some of them on their backsides.
“I may not be the best at one thing. I might not be the best offensive lineman or the best defensive lineman but I will be the hardest-working,” Raulerson said. “That’s what I am trying to prove. I can take second, third or fourth place at my position but they will not outwork me at anything ever. I’m not going to stop. You only get to play this game for so long and if you don’t take advantage of it then you are wasting time.”
Raulerson was originally recruited as a defensive end to Texas but could play on either side of the ball once he arrives in Austin. He’ll start out as an offensive tackle this week with hopes of getting a few reps as a defensive end. He will also try to prove he is better than his ranking as the No. 5 offensive tackle and No. 81 player in the country.
He’ll certainly get his chances.
At least five of the top 10 defensive ends in the country are expected to be at The Opening, including the No. 2 DE Carl Lawson (Alpharetta, Ga./Milton; Auburn commitment), the No. 3 DE Demarcus Walker (Jacksonville, Fla./Sandalwood), the No. 6 DE Elijah Daniel (Avon, Ind./Avon; Clemson commitment), the No. 9 DE Ebenezer Ogundeko (Brooklyn, N.Y./Thomas Jefferson) and the No. 10 DE Taco Charlton (Pickerington, Ohio/Pickerington Central; Michigan commitment).
Laremy Tunsil (Lake City, Fla./Columbia) and .Austin Golson (Prattville, Ala./Prattville; Florida State commitment), the No. 1 and No. 3 offensive tackles, figure to be his stiffest competition at tackle.
“I’m excited,” Raulerson said. “I can’t wait to get up there to see what the competition is like. If pads make a difference then we will see what happens when you put the pads on.”
Raulerson has long been considered to be on the smaller side for an offensive lineman, but since he had surgery in February for a deviated septum and tonsils “the size of golf balls” that cost him the ability to have a good night’s rest, he’s seen his weight increase by 15 pounds.
The competition will get a player who is now physically at his best and is always ready to compete.