Everett Withers mentioned he was still recruiting for his 2018 class, even now. Now comes word that Hutchinson JC tackle Kameron Jemison is coming aboard. Hutchinson or Hutch as its known for those who appreciate brevity is a factory of FBC and FCS talent. The Blue Dragons play in the Jayhawk Conference, home to Independence Community College, the new focus of the Netflix documentary series "Last Chance U."
Jemison started roughly half the year by our estimation for the Blue Dragons, playing primarily at right tackle. Hutch's YouTube channel has eight games from their 2017 season, so we get more of feel for Jemison than the typical Hudl domination upload.
If we break down offensive linemen we're looking at several essential elements, obviously we'd like to see a baseline size, you'd want arm length above everything else. Most programs now won't recruit a tackle prospect unless he's 6-5 or taller unless he's got significant arm length. You can live with interior players who aren't as long in the arms, but the goal is to have players who can create space and distance with their punch before a defensive lineman gets into their body.
Beyond that it's important to watch how they move, even how they stand, are they athletic in their movement or stiff. You might hear terms like knee bender vs. waist bender. Knee benders can keep their back erect, maintain balance, and bend at the knees in an athletic position. Waist bends are stiff-legged, like you and I. When I drop a donut or chicken wing on the ground I have to bend at the waist, extend my feet out to pick it up. I am a waist bender. I feel shame. The problem with an offensive lineman who bends at the waist is that their head drops and they're off balance and more susceptible to swims or sheds. If that happens, we're usually contacting the quarterback's next of kin.
Hand in hand with movement is technique. Do they use their athletic stance to get leverage? How do they handle their hands? What about their feet, are they light and efficient or do they move like Frankenstein? You look at their kick step on their pass pro, to first step on a reach block, all these little things, the attention to detail matters.
Other those issues, generally speaking, you're looking for a disposition. Big men, when they are big boys, are taught to be careful with their size, don't hurt the little guys. Little guys are taught to take on big guys. That's probably why most bros who transform into the local featherweight champion at 2 a.m. at the local bar are a buck 50 and under five-eight. In linemen, you'll hear a lot about a "mean streak" or guy that finishes his blocks. Lastly, you'd like intelligence. Defenses want to cause that moments pause, the tick of a delay, especially up front. Intelligent players play fast; confused players play slow.
Let's take a look at Jemison. On an objective, size scale, he meets a lot of the requirements. He's listed at 6-5, looks to be at least 6-4, and anywhere from 270 to 300. He's probably a better player at 270 than 300.
From an athletic standpoint, he's got some work to do, but he's got a frame and baseline to build on. Good coaching can alleviate issues with his stance, so can a good, focused weight program. He's got some waste bender in him, and heavy legs and his technique needs work, but that's fixable.
Here's what we mean. Here Hutch is playing at Independence, Jemison is playing right tackle.
He's pretty upright on his stance, not a lot of knee bend. On the snap, he's into pass pro but his kick step isn't great, and on contact his feet go dead, so the defensive end can get him off balance and shed him. Quarterbacks in the pocket never want to see their tackle running at them, chasing the guy who's coming to inflict damage.
Here's another pass pro set vs. Fort Scott.
Jemison's stance looks better; he's got a stand up outside backer on his outside shoulder. Off the snap, Jemison's chops his steps rather than kick-sliding. Notice on engagement, Jemison loses his feet, actually crossing over and lunges. Against a better pass rusher, Jemison is dead in the water. Against this rusher, who doesn't have an inside counter move or throw, Jemison carries him upfield and out of the play. If a defender wants to run himself out of a play, then, by all means, let him.
Here's Jemison on a run vs. Fort Scott.
Here's reason for excitement, notice Jemison take an excellent reach step with his boundary side foot and lock-on. When you see Jemison in run concepts, once he gets his hands on he does a good job driving or carrying the defender. Here is the defender is setting the edge, great, let him set it all the way to the sideline. Jemison can get his hands outside the frame, but every lineman in the world does that, so it's not a huge issue.
Eric Mateos is a very good, young offensive line coach. He should be able to get Jemison in and take his athletic gifts, melding with some technique development and come out with a good option up front.