****2014 Crown Jewel Countdown: #17 - G/C, Joshua Casher****
|Casher is a versatile offensive lineman that is a key part of this outstanding offensive line class. He’s very technically sound and adds some grit and tenacity up front with his style of play. Casher is also a versatile prospect who saw playing time as a guard in high school and could project at all 3 interior offensive line spots at Alabama. At 6’1”, he’s the shortest offensive line commit for this class, and some believe that his size may hold him back.
|Biggest split in the class based on our internal evaluations. WMack is very high on Casher, whereas myself and RTO have a more reserved take.
In general, I like Casher as a center prospect, and were it not for the presence of Hassenauer, I would argue that he would be our long-term solution at center. As it is, though, comparing the two, I just like Hassenauer a bit better because I thought he had an easier bend and was more fluid in movement at the second level, so that makes it difficult for me to see Casher getting a spot right now. I also think Hassenauer has a bit of an edge in that his longer frame gives him the ability to play at a higher weight.
Casher did play a lot of guard in high school, and against strong competition, so it's possible that he could end up at either OG spot. Having said that, I'm just not sold that's going to work. We've got physically bigger players at OG on campus who have better upside as road-graders in the run game (which will always be the case for him in Tuscaloosa provided recruiting stays at current levels), and I think Casher's relative lack of height becomes an issue in playing much about 300 pounds (which, as a practical matter, means he can't add much more weight). By the same token, I think that also creates some issues for him at OG in pass protection (unlike would be the case at center) because the shorter arms make it more difficult to pass block a lot of these interior rush DL that SEC guards so frequently have to take on one-on-one these days.
All of that said, the upside here on Casher is pretty clear, and he makes a strong case. He's a smart kid with a low center of gravity who is a strong drive blocker, and he's pretty sound fundamentally for a prep offensive lineman. He may crack the two-deep rotation this year, and he's certainly a valuable commodity even if he doesn't ultimately nail down a starting job in Tuscaloosa.
For the most part, though, my inclination is that Hassenauer wins the starting job at center, and Casher -- while being a quality, multi-dimensional OL who can play three spots -- ends up having to really fight to have a chance to get on the field at OG. Again, not a knock on his skill set or his work ethic, mind you, and he may very well prove me badly wrong in time, but that's why I don't have him higher.
|My positives on Casher are character and upside. His size is a negative, but as we have seen in recent memory, a William Vlachos can be succesful in the SEC. The biggest upside?-- Casher is more athletic and just as smart as Vlachos was. The best news is that 3 years down the road, Hassenhauer could move to guard, if Casher is really good at center.
|This kid is easily my favorite lineman in this class not named Cameron Robinson. Since he got to campus in late May, he's been turning heads in 7-on-7 drills. He played every position on the line in high school except center, but because he's such an intelligent kid, he's been able to pick up on it right away in summer drills. Technically, he's advanced at this stage. He has a very keen awareness of playing with leverage and blocking angles. His hands are very strong and he uses his (relatively) compact build (at 6'1") to create great explosion. And on top of all that, he's a nasty mauler in the running game that plays until the whistle blows or until he's pounded you into the ground.
He has an opportunity to be for this class what Grant Hill was for last year's class. Barring an injury, he won't start this year, but he will provide some very quality depth. He could very well redshirt depending on the situation, but I could just as easily see him being 2nd string this season. He'll be All-SEC before he leaves Tuscaloosa.
Re: ****2014 Crown Jewel Countdown: #17 - G/C, Joshua Casher****