Washington already has a commitment from a big time in-state offensive tackle recruit in Wenatchee's Trey Adams and they just picked up another one in Bellevue's Henry Roberts.
Roberts is the ranked as the 22nd best offensive tackle prospect in the nation by 247sports composite rankings so it's a big pickup in terms of recruiting rankings, but it's an even more important pickup for the Huskies in terms of building the kind of offensive line that will allow Chris Peterson to be successful on offense at Washington.
I know that Kellen Moore gets a lot of credit for Boise's amazing run of success because of his play at quarterback and he deserves it, but the offensive line and the way they ran the football were a gigantic part of the success the Broncos had on offense. Adding a player like Roberts is a big step in establishing that same kind of foundation with the Huskies.
So what makes Roberts one of the top offensive tackles on the west coast? A lot of things, actually. It all starts with his pad level, which is consistently good. He's a natural knee bender and gets underneath the pads of the players he's blocking.
It's obvious he comes from a great program when watching him. You can tell he is well coached because he is so technically sound with his steps and his hand placement.
What sets him apart from a lot of others at the position though is his athleticism and effort. He moves extremely well and is always working to finish his block.
Here's an example of what I'm referring to:
Roberts is at right tackle on this play. He has a defensive end lined up head up on him or what a defense would typically call a 5i.
The play is being run to the left side of the line. Roberts is very quick off the line and is able to rip inside of the end to get to the second level. The man he is supposed to block should be the outside linebacker (red arrow on the left). For some reason the linebacker takes a horrendous false step to the opposite side of the play and essentially takes himself out of the play.
A lot of times the offensive tackle on this play might stand around waiting for that linebacker, but not Roberts. He's going after the safety (red arrow on the right).
It was a pretty much impossible task for Roberts to get to the safety, but he's moving to get over there and get involved in the play. The back (right yellow arrow) has the football and is being forced to cut back inside.
Roberts ends up the other side of the field and gets a block. That's pure hustle and athleticism for a big man. That's a desire to finish the play that is rare to find in any offensive linemen. That's a big reason why Roberts is so highly regarded as a prospect.
There are things Roberts needs to work on with his game. He is inexperienced as a pass blocker because of the run-heavy scheme Bellevue utilizes on offense. He also needs to fill out his frame and get stronger before he can compete against defensive linemen in the Pac-12. But he has the athleticism and feet to develop as a pass blocker and the weight and strength will come with time in the Huskies strength and conditioning program. If you add those improvements together with the strong base he already has, he is going to be a heck of a football player at the college level.
Peterson had two offensive tackles that were not nearly as highly rated as Roberts coming into their college careers in Ryan Clady and Nate Potter. Both were developed into All-Americans and now play in the NFL. Considering what I have seen from Roberts and fellow Husky commit Trey Adams on film, the future looks pretty bright at offensive tackle for the purple and gold.