During the spring game, the prospects getting the majority of attention were the myriad of high-profile skill-position players, so it is only logical that Nebraska’s first commitment from the spring game was a big, nasty offensive lineman.
Brenden Jamies, a native of Lake Travis, Texas, verbally committed to Nebraska Saturday evening, shortly after the completion of the Huskers’ spring game. Jaimes is the first offensive line commitment of the 2017 class, and he is also the first commitment from the state of Texas since Aphonso Thomas was briefly committed to Nebraska last spring. Last season, Jaimes anchored the Lake Travis Cavaliers line and helped lead them to a 15-1 record and a runner-up finish in Texas Class 6A football.
Who Else Was Interested
Nebraska offered Jaimes on March 17 and instantly vaulted to the top of his list over several other schools. Jaimes committed to Nebraska over 12 other FBS offers, including offers from Houston and Texas Tech. He appeared to have a top group of schools consisting of Nebraska, California, Houston and Texas Tech heading into April, but the big man shut down his commitment following a visit to Lincoln. While Jaimes stated in an interview with Rivals that he was not going to be visiting other schools, the one team to watch out for over the next few months is the Texas Longhorns. Texas looked at Jaimes early this spring but elected to go after other prospects, they are likely going to offer Jaimes late in the process and attempt to keep the big left tackle in-state.
Jaimes measures in at 6-5 and 260 pounds. He has a very similar body type to current Nebraska left tackle Nick Gates, as he possesses a powerfully built lower body and a thick, barrel-chested upper body. One thing that Jaimes has that Gates does not is arm length, which should allow him to easily add weight to his frame as he matures. Jaimes is pretty well developed in his lower body right now, but his upper body still needs to develop. Jaimes will likely need to redshirt in order to add the necessary weight to play the offensive tackle position in the Big Ten. Following his redshirt season, I expect Jaimes to measure in at 6-5 and in the 290 pound range.
1. His pass-protection technique. Jaimes’ Lake Travis team is known for its wide-open, spread-passing attack, and this offense has given Jaimes plenty of opportunity to show his ability as a blindside protector. Jaimes has a solid kick step off the line of scrimmage, allowing him to get himself set for contact with the opposing pass rusher. Jaimes also does a good job of staying light and resetting himself in pass pro, as he rarely lunges out at defensive linemen, instead forcing them to come to him and engulfing them. Finally, Jaimes shows tremendous vision and patience as a pass blocker, as he is rarely fooled by a defensive line’s stunt, instead passing off pass rushers to the inside and keeping his quarterback’s jersey clean.
2. His footwork. We have already talked about Jaimes footwork as a pass blocker, a trait that allows him to stay on balance throughout the play, but now let’s focus on his footwork in the run game. Jaimes has extremely quick feet off the line of scrimmage, as he is able to consistently execute his reach and drive step off the snap and win the initial battle at the line of scrimmage. Once he has the defender going backwards, Jaimes shifts his feet into overdrive and pushes the defender downfield through the echo of the whistle. When blocking at the second level, Jaimes does a solid job of remaining under control, establishing contact with the linebacker or safety, and driving his feet on contact to plant the defender into the turf.
3. His on-field demeanor. Jaimes is a fiery competitor on the football field, maybe it has something to do with his red hair. Jaimes film is filled with clips of him finishing blocks and driving defenders into the dirt, sometimes as far as 30 yards downfield. Jaimes plays with that old-school, through-the-whistle mentality that will help him become a fan favorite in Lincoln quickly. I’ve always believed that the best offensive linemen were the ones that ticked off opposing defenses the most, meaning that Jaimes has a bright future.
1. His pad level in the run game. Jaimes has a tendency to play a bit too high for my liking in the run game, as he has a bad habit of giving up his chest as a blocker and playing from a less powerful position. Jaimes has been able to get away with this flaw in his game so far due to his natural strength and his quick feet, but good collegiate defensive linemen will stick him at the line of scrimmage and make him a liability as a run blocker. Jaimes is a pretty good pass blocker right now, but he will need to improve this area of his game before he is a complete left tackle.
2. His hand punch. There are times when Jaimes’ hand punch is a thing of beauty and he is able to stun opposing defensive linemen and knock them off their base, but he doesn’t do it consistently enough. Jaimes has long arms and the ability to have a devastating hand punch, but he often absorbs blows from defenders and allows them to get into his chest on their pass rush. Jaimes should improve in this area as he continues to get coaching from coach Cavanaugh, he has already shown that he has the tools, he just needs to become more consistent.
Huge recruiting win for coach Cavanaugh and the Cornhuskers. Nebraska was in the market for a true left tackle to groom behind Nick Gates this cycle, and found a good one in Jaimes. Jaimes gives Nebraska a strong, polished and tenacious player that can protect Patrick O’Brien or Tristan Gebbia’s blindside in the future. Jaimes will need a redshirt season to add weight and fix some minor flaws in his game, but he should be a tremendous understudy to Nick Gates in 2018 and a contender for the starting left tackle job in 2019. Great job by coach Cavanaugh to get a good one out of the Lone Star State.
College Comparison: Oregon OT Tyler Johnstone
Pro Comparison: Buffalo Bills OT Jordan Mills