Editor’s Note: The stars say 2018 UGA commit Warren Ericson rates as a 4-star prospect. He’s seen by the well-respected 247SportsComposite as the nation’s No. 15 OG and No. 315 player overall. DawgNation has formed an advisory panel made up of state championship coaches, well-respected high school coaches, scouts, former SEC players and former NFL players to find out a lot more than that.
Can he play? We gave our panel complete autonomy to break down what they see on the film. What is Georgia getting with Ericson? Well, here goes …..
The Film don’t lie
on Warren Ericson
School: North Gwinnett
Ranking: Nation’s No. 15 OG
FYI: Ericson is currently the third-highest UGA commit on the board for this year’s class.
The biggest takeaways:
Overview: The range of opinion from our evaluations convey the same thing: Ericson is good enough to make an impact in the SEC at center or guard. He could be a stopgap at tackle. That makes him a Swiss Army-type of utility lineman, but that should not be seen as him not having a clear position at the next level. When watching his film, a total of three panelists reached the following conclusion: It is pretty hard to find any high school tackle that blocks the outsize zone play any better than Ericson does.
Interesting: One panelist felt Ericson’s worth was an example of the new UGA approach to offensive line recruiting under Kirby Smart and line coach Sam Pittman. Ericson, who is a tackle in high school, might have fit the mold for an edge lineman on some of Mark Richt’s teams.
That’s not the case here. The unanimous opinion was Ericson could be a strong contributor at center or guard in the SEC.
Even more interesting: The majority opinion was that Ericson’s best position would be at center. The panel felt he had NFL capabilities there. That position might be his best long-term spot.
What they liked: Ericson was graded as being very well-schooled on all techniques. … Great change of direction. His lateral and first steps on his run blocking were graded as outstanding. … Ericson’s pass sets were graded as “very good to outstanding” by one panelist.
His flexibility was seen as his strongest tool.
The big quote: “I love him. This is the best outside zone blocker I’ve seen in some years.”
Is he nasty? Ericson was noted as being very aggressive on his blocks. One panelist called them “finishing” blocks and loved how Ericson would topple one defender and aggressively work up to the second and third levels to keep plowing the way for his backs.
What they didn’t love: Ericson needs to add about 15 pounds and reshape his body while doing so. … They wondered if he was really 6 feet, 4 inches on the growth chart. … There was slight concern about his reach if he was forced to play tackle at the height they see on film.
What they said about Warren Ericson:
“Georgia has some real dogs up there now on the offensive line. But I don’t know if they will be able to redshirt this kid. Maybe they do. But that’s nothing against what he can do.”
“Perfect size. Quick. Quick and strong for a center.”
“He is a center or a guard. I see him at guard. His feet are incredible. He understands how to set an edge. He’s really good at that. He understands head control and understands body control and flipping his hips.”
“I love the way he produces against some of these top programs on his film. I know these teams. He is doing this against some pretty good guys.”
“Georgia could probably get something out of him at tackle. He wouldn’t get them completely damaged there. But drop him down to center or guard and he is going to have a field down on the inside there.”
“This guy might have played for Georgia last year.”
“Needs to add about 20 pounds to really thrive in the SEC. Which is what will happen.”
“I love him. Love him.”
“Man, I am a big fan of his feet. He understands the little stuff and the small stuff about playing offensive line.”
“He may only have his head and his left hand on you when he’s setting that edge. But his hips and his feet collect back up underneath him so fast. If the defense is trying to stretch him out, he still maintains that outside shoulder. His ability to set the edge sets him apart from 85 percent of all offensive tackles I see.”
“The things that Pittman will be able to do with him when he already understands so much about offensive line play is going to be fun to watch.”
“I really liked his tape. I mean I really liked this tape. Great feet. Works to the second level really well.”
“I can tell he’s been really coached up well. Maybe by some different guys. But I also see a lot of things that you just can’t coach. He has to have it inside him to continually play the way he does for four quarters.”
“I know some of the dudes he is beating up on here. He’s reaching the edge and cutting off some pretty good defensive ends. He’s beating some guys on tape here in these reps that will be on that next level on Saturdays with him.”
“Really good use of his hands. He’s really good at the hand fighting that goes on along the offensive line.”
“Georgia might have recruited this guy to play tackle about 5-to-10 years ago. But he’s a guard now.”
“His head placement and hand placement and all of that is good. But he can’t get out there and climb to that second level without his feet. He can get skinny, but I love his footwork. His footwork made me smile.”