Live Evaluation: SI99 OT J.C. Latham vs. Edgewater
There are some who consider Alabama commit J.C. Latham the top offensive line prospect in the country, and we can't argue much against them. As things stand right now, Latham sits at No. 2 OT in our position rankings, and is the No. 11 prospect on our SI99 board.
Last week, his Bradenton IMG Academy (Fla.) team faced a tough matchup against Orlando Edgewater (Fla.). As with any game with IMG, the game featured a myriad of college prospects, but we did get to keen on Latham for several reps. Below is our evaluation of his performance during the contest.
Latham maintains an incredible frame on the hoof, at 6-foot-6 and more than 300 pounds. It would not be surprising to see him get to the 325-pound range before he left Tuscaloosa. Latham, a former fledgeling defensive lineman, naturally bends well and shows no issues getting out of his stance at the whistle.
Vs. The Run
What immediately stood out to us was Latham worked from a 3-point stance all night. In today's game, most offensive tackles simply work out of a 2-point stance. It would not have surprising to see Latham up, since he's in charge of protecting Michigan commit and fellow SI99 member QB J.J. McCarthy. However, the big man had hand his hand down, showed no ankle stiffness and used good snap quickness. Latham executed base-blocks, quick reaches, a pin and down-blocks throughout the night.
With his aforementioned snap quickness, he routinely refused his opponent to jump on top of him. Latham displayed fair strength in his punches with solid accuracy and hand placement at the point, along with sync and timing in his lower-half to work himself quickly into leverage advantages.
Another aspect we liked was his ability to occupy and sustain his block, a trait he showed on tape often as a junior. Latham also worked well on down-blocks, plus he should be solid on deuce-blocks in zone concepts since he also showed vision and athleticism to climb to level-2 and find work.
Vs. The Pass
All high-end left tackles are productive pass-protectors, and Latham has the tools to be another one. He displayed a 45-degree set in the passing game, with a wide base and solid foot quickness. There wasn't much of a heave before his punch, which he landed with fair accuracy. One rep saw his man attempt an arm-over and inside slip, to which Latham used solid recovery quickness to redirect him back to the outside of the arc before using his big paws to end things.
The Tide pledge also showed off a strong anchor in pass-protection. With his size, ability to use both his gap hand and inside hand, Latham is capable of calling his solid anchor and sitting to stymie pass-rushers attempting to convert speed to power on the edge.
Latham could stand to get a bit more explosive in his push off his set foot in his pass sets, yet that will come in time when he adjusts to college game speed.
Overall, he showed that he's a future starting offensive lineman for Alabama.
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