Sellout Streak a ‘Special Deal’ for Huskers
Photo Credit: Eric Francis

Recruit Profile: OL Matt Sichterman

May 15, 2016

Mike Cavanaugh was given simple directions for the 2017 recruiting class: Bring in some studs at tackle. With over eight months remaining until signing day, Cavanaugh has done just that, reeling in Matt Sichterman. From Kings Mills, Ohio, Sichterman is Nebraska’s ninth commitment of the 2017 class. He is also the second offensive tackle commit in the class, joining Brenden Jaimes. Last season, Sichterman anchored the offensive line for King, earning 1st team all-conference honors and helping lead the Knights to a 12-3 record and the Ohio Division II state quarterfinals.

Who Else Was Interested?

When you are as talented of an athlete as Sichterman and you carry a 4.3 GPA, a lot of schools are going to be chasing you. Sichterman finished his recruitment with 25 FBS offers, as well as three offers from Ivy League Schools. Sichterman took several unofficial visits this spring, visiting Northwestern, Penn State, Illinois, Indiana and several others prior to his visit to Nebraska on May 13. Following his visit to Nebraska, Sichterman surprised many by shutting down his recruitment and committing to the Huskers. Prior to his commitment, it had appeared that Michigan State and Pittsburgh would be the two teams to beat for Sichterman. Michigan State was scheduled to host Sichterman on May 22 but that visit will no longer be happening.

Eye Test

Sichterman measures in at 6-5 and 270 pounds. Sichterman is a very lean offensive tackle right now, as he carries very little bad weight and looks closer to 260 pounds on film. Sichterman is pretty well-developed in his lower body at this point, but his upper body still has ample room to fill out as he matures. Sichterman will definitely need a redshirt season to strengthen his upper body and add the bulk necessary to play in the trenches in the Big 10. When Sichterman is finished filling out, I expect him to measure in at 6-5 and in the 295 to 300 pound range.

http://www.hudl.com/video/3/2712938/5861f568b534591f286414fd

Strengths

1. His athleticism/footwork. There are not a lot of 270 pounders that can move like Sichterman in the open field. Sichterman has ideal athleticism to block in space, as he does a tremendous job of tracking down defenders in the open field without getting out of control. This makes him a very effective zone blocker in the run game and a tremendous blocker in the screen game, something Nebraska is expected to feature heavily on offense in the future. Sichterman’s athletic gifts indicate that he can become a very solid pass blocker in the future for Nebraska as well.

2. His drive after contact. A bad habit you sometimes see in offensive linemen prospects is the tendency to stop their feet following contact and belly bump with opposing defenders instead of driving them back. Sichterman doesn’t have these issues, as he does a fantastic job of exploding into contact, keeping his back flat, and driving his feet until the opposing defender is on the ground. Sichterman is nasty on film, as he has the old-school, play through the echo of the whistle mentality that offensive line coaches love to see.

3. His pad level/hand use in the run game. Sichterman has an explosive first step off the snap and does a good job of staying low at the snap off the ball, allowing him to consistently get underneath defenders and knock them off the line of scrimmage. Sichterman also shows solid hand placement and punch in the run game, as he strikes defenders with forces and keeps his hands inside the defender’s shoulders as he drives them backward into the turf.

4. His versatility. One interesting thing I noticed when watching Sichterman was how effective and comfortable he was pulling on certain run plays and how effective he was on the interior line. This is great to see, as it indicates that Sichterman could be moved inside to guard in the future if the situation calls for it. I believe that Sichterman’s best position is at right tackle at the collegiate level, but I could see him emerging as a swing backup type of linemen that can play tackle and guard for Nebraska.

Weaknesses

1. His hand use in the pass game. Sichterman shows good pop with his hands in the run game, but he doesn’t bring his hands consistently when in pass pro. Sichterman has a bad habit of absorbing the first blow from defensive linemen and allowing them to get into his chest in pass pro. This flaw forces Sichterman to play from a less powerful position and allows the defensive lineman to control the action. Sichterman has gotten away with this flaw so far in his development due to his size and athleticism, but he will need to correct this during his redshirt year.

2. Controlling his aggression at the second level. For the most part, Sichterman does a tremendous job of blocking at the second level, as his athleticism allows him to track down defenders and drive them back. At times though, Sichterman tries a little too hard for the knockout blow, stopping his feet and lunging at defenders instead of latching on and driving his feet. This gets him out of position as a run blocker and leads to missed blocks. This is an easily correctable flaw as he continues to get more coaching and develop physically.

3. Adding weight and strength.
Sichterman played at around 255 pounds as a junior in high school, which is not big enough for a Big 10 offensive tackle. He has already made solid progress during the offseason, bulking up to around 270 pounds, but he needs to keep adding weight and getting stronger if he wants to make an impact at the collegiate level. This is something that should be fixed his redshirt year, as Sichterman will be involved in his first collegiate lifting program and will be eating at the training table every day.

Conclusion

Sichterman was one of the more coveted offensive line prospects in Big Ten country, making Cavanaugh’s recruiting victory even more impressive. Sichterman is a bit of a project, which is to be expected in an offensive line prospect, but his potential was too great for Nebraska to pass up. Sichterman has ideal athleticism to play offensive tackle in today’s game, along with solid strength and a fiery on-field demeanor. Expect Sichterman to redshirt in 2017, allowing him to bulk up and give Cavanaugh time to smooth out some rough spots in his game. Following his redshirt season, expect Sichterman to battle with Christian Gaylord for the backup right tackle spot behind David Knevel. Great recruiting win for coach Cav, who can now focus on finding one more stud for his 2017 offensive line class.

College Comparison:
Utah Right Tackle J.J. Dielman

Pro Comparison:
Leaner version of New York Giants Right Tackle Marshall Newhouse

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