Scouting Report: What Is Florida Getting in OL Joshua Braun?
The Florida Gators secured the commitment of long-time target and former Georgia commit Joshua Braun of Suwannee High School in Live Oak, FL, on Friday morning. Braun is Florida's fifth offensive line commitment in the 2020 recruiting class.
Braun is a massive offensive lineman. Depending on which site one goes by, Bruan could be listed as much as 360 lbs. and is consistently listed at 6-6.
Looking at past recruiting classes and common opponents, a comparison for Braun's play-style comes from the school he was once committed to play. Starting Georgia offensive lineman Ben Cleveland possessed a similar body type coming out of Stephens County HS in Toccoa, GA, four years ago.
Cleveland played offensive tackle in high school, but transitioned to guard for the Bulldogs. A traditional ‘mauler’ would be the best way to describe Cleveland.
That would also be a good way to describe Braun, as well. Further, a power player that is just beginning to scratch the surface of what he can do on the gridiron. During this first clip versus Madison County High School, Braun plays left guard. It’s apparent the defensive lineman wants no part of him and stays low.
Still, it’s a good way to introduce just how big and powerful Braun truly is. During the second and third clips, Braun pulls and leads the running back. Despite his size, these two plays show that Braun can still move in space.
This next clip stems from Braun playing right tackle versus Santa Fe High School. While an easy assignment, yet another example of Braun moving his feet. Sealing off the back side of the play, Braun positions himself well, but he also plays a bit high (more on that later).
This next clip is quite unusual from the standpoint of evaluation because Braun absolutely pancakes his opponent, but it really did not prove to be that good of a block from a technique standpoint.
Watch the first play carefully. This is a case of a massive and talented offensive lineman simply overwhelming his opponent. Too much size, too much strength, and he hammers this particular defensive lineman into the ground.
What Braun did not do was keep his feet chopping. Yes, the play ended quickly, but the technique is a standard based on consistency. That’s what good offensive line coaches teach. It’s extremely common to see young offensive linemen do this at the high school level. It will be corrected over time, and he has finished driving blocks with his feet on occasion before. It just has to become consistent.
This next clip is one of the most important as Braun transitions to Florida. He pushes the first defender to the side and moves to the second level and angle blocks a much smaller and more mobile defender. This play not only shows Bruan moving well, but it’s the same type of play -- run or pass -- that Power 5 offensive linemen must adapt. Combo blocks are extremely important.
Playing in space during read option or screen plays will be a must. While each of the clips show Braun’s talent, pay particular attention to play No. 3. That’s the one with Braun in space making two separate blocks.
Size: Stating the obvious, Braun will be large enough to play early. He’s a power player that can move in space. He could play right tackle, perhaps move to guard. Regardless, he is a road grader that fits in nicely with what is needed at the SEC level.
With his size, Braun also moves well when he pulls. After a year or two in a college strength and conditioning program, Braun will be even more capable of making blocks in space. His natural athleticism will only be increased.
Flexibility will be key in Braun's development. He needs to redistribute some weight, and that should allow him to bend and move better laterally. This will be particularly important for pass protection. He played in a run-heavy offense in high school, but he’s definitely going to need to adapt to the passing game at the college level.
Beyond that, just adjust to a college regimen of diet combined with strength and conditioning, like any lineman would.
Technique: Like with most high school linemen, Braun plays high quite often. That will need to be corrected before he makes a major impact on a college depth chart. The good news is derived from Braun’s expected improvement being able to take place very quickly. If he redistributes just a little bit of weight and gains flexibility, Bruan is talented enough to play for Florida as a freshman.
Position: Perhaps Braun will play right tackle in time, but he could definitely play guard out of the gate. He’s a mauler, after all. Place him in a spot where he does not need to worry about SEC edge rushers and he can utilize his primary attribute: Power.
Braun will be an outstanding SEC offensive lineman, as he carries size, strength, height, tenacity, and loves to finish blocks with a pancake. He could be a two or three-year starter for Florida, at several positions.
Gator fans should be very excited about this young man’s commitment. While the state of Florida produces a ton of skill players, there are not as many Florida high school offensive linemen like Braun as one might think. Florida needs to continue to land players like this young man when available.