Late in the evening yesterday, Bearcat Journal (who else?) reported that Cincinnati picked up their first commitment in almost three months in Louisville OL John Kurtz. His verbal makes it 19 for UC’s 2014 class with probably 5-8 more slots to fill. With a slew of seniors on Cincinnati’s offensive line graduating after this season (Sam Longo, Austen Bujnoch, Andre Cureton, and potentially Dan Sprague), adding a fresh set of blockers up front was necessary for this class. Kurtz seems like an under-the-radar prospect at this point but in all honesty it’s tough to gauge how offensive linemen will pan out in their college careers. The newest UC verbal has offers from just Ball State and Indiana State but is a good-sized offensive linemen with room to grow. To me, this is just a solid prospect in an overall solid class.
|Height - Weight||6'5", 260 lbs|
|High School||St. Xavier|
|Rivals||** - 5.3|
The OL from Louisville, Kentucky clocks in at 6’5″ and about 265 lbs. As arguably the most talented blocker on his team, Kurtz plays the left tackle position to protect his quarterback’s blindside. He displays decent burst off the snap on run blocking plays although I would have expected more explosiveness from such an imposing lineman. When he is engaged, Kurtz does a nice job controlling his assignment and creating a path for the runningback, although I can’t say for sure how much of that is due to the size differential between he and the defender. Regardless, he seems to do most of the little things right. On pass protection, Kurtz appears to create a good pocket in which his quarterback can pass, constantly shuffling his feet and adjusting to the crashing defender’s moves. That’s an encouraging sign going forward but I’d be curious to see how he performs against smaller, quicker edge rushers.
The power run blocking schemes Kurtz utilizes at the high school level will serve him well at Cincinnati, since this is the direction in which Eddie Gran seems to be moving. It’s this reason, among others, why the lineman probably caught the attention of UC’s staff. Kurtz is fairly undersized to make any contributions at the collegiate level just yet. No worries. He should be redshirted his freshman year to tack on 30-40 lbs and grow into a college-size offensive lineman. Given his frame, that shouldn’t be much of a problem. Kurtz projects to an offensive tackle at the next level and if he follows the same path of Sean Hooey, who also came in very undersized at 245 lbs but ballooned to over 300 lbs by the time he graduated, he should be fine. Like I mentioned above, Kurtz is just a solid looking prospect who could develop into a key cog along the offensive line at some point in his Bearcats career.