When evaluating film, there are many different ways to consider a prospect’s long-term potential. With offensive linemen, it’s more difficult because numerous plays involve too many players together to truly know if a prospect uses good technique or is holding. That’s why evaluating flexibility, power, and overall athleticism hold considerable value, and it’s also where a UCF offensive line commitment does very well.
Caden Kitler, OL, 6’3”, 300-pounds, The Colony (Texas) John Paul II
Kitler will come to UCF as one of the most mobile and unique offensive lineman the state of Texas has to offer. With the physical skills to play guard, center or even tackle, Kitler could be a multi-year starter for the Knights and Offensive Line Coach Herb Hand.
His power and quickness in space truly stood out several times. Just from watching roughly 20 snaps of his junior film, it became clear that he really wants to dominate his opponents by reaching them as quickly as possible and then laying a lick on a defender.
The number of dominant blocks in space was extremely high. Digging even further into Kitler’s film showed additional traits that translate well to playing for the Knights.
Style of Play
Kitler is a bit old school, if one will. He goes to the whistle and wants to bury his opponents. He’s adept at both due to athleticism, power and pure hustle. Those traits will translate to the college level as well. This first clip shows Kitler in space and hitting a defensive back that’s much smaller than him. While his size advantage helps with power, it’s hitting the moving target that’s difficult. Here are back-to-back clips of Kitler in space.
As noted above, Kitler provides multiple attributes. With that said, his speed and open-field quickness stood out above all else as the two above videos displayed. Those attributes also complement his power quite well because he reaches his opponent faster than most offensive linemen do.
When striking a defender before that player can properly brace himself, it often led to a pancake or a player being removed from the running back’s preferred running lane. That’s where Kitler’s strength came into play.
Playing within UCF Head Coach Gus Malzahn’s power-spread offense, Kitler will be a player that excels during inside power runs and even the basic inside zone calls. When he needs to run to the perimeter and hit a moving linebacker during a sweep, that power comes with Kitler as well. Watch Kitler during this outside zone away from his side of the line. He washes down the defensive lineman quite easily.
While at Auburn, Coach Malzahn consistently ran zone plays for his running backs where the point of attack started with a double team. Kitler is good at double teaming a defensive tackle before climbing to the second level and engulfing a linebacker.
Playing for John Paul II, Kitler showed some promise with his quick feet when pass blocking. A good first step, slides fairly well, and his quick hands sometimes would disengage a defensive lineman’s hands to thwart a pass rush.
Future Positions and Final Thoughts
Each college offensive line needs a player that can switch positions when another offensive lineman goes down with an injury. Kitler could be that player for the Knights. He played offensive tackle last season for John Paul II, and he started experimenting with playing center during the 2021 spring practice sessions.
Kitler also has the frame to be a powerful offensive guard, and that could be where he starts his UCF career. Regardless, this is a versatile prospect and he’s likely to play multiple positions before leaving Orlando.
Best guess will be Kitler playing guard and/or center during his freshman season. Perhaps in time, he will also compete at offensive tackle. Time will tell where the Lone Star State talent will line up for UCF.