Now one can start to image what has happened to to Tom Wort over the last six months.
Part of one of the top defenses in Central Texas last season, Wort had an outstanding junior season as he recorded over 200 tackles and earned all-Central Texas honors from TexasPrepInsider.com and area Defensive Player of the Year honors from the San Antonio Express-News.
People knew Wort was good by recognition alone, but once his highlight tape got out the state of Texas and the nation learned that he is truly a special player. Playing with a reckless abandon and laying some of the most ferocious hits anyone could ever imagine a high school player delivering, Wort saw offers poor in from all over the country.
Wort eventually committed to Oklahoma and not long after that earned high four star status from Scout.com, rated as the nation's No. 5 weakside linebacker.
Now in his senior season, Wort is still showing the intangibles and on field presence that could make him the next great Sooner linebacker.
STRENGTHS: Keep in mind that Wort has only been playing football for a few years since moving to the United States from England in middle school and has only been in the New Braunfels program since late 2006.
Based on knowing that information, you have to marvel at the way he plays the game.
The best thing about him is his passion for the game. You hear all the time about guys that have "a motor that doesn't stop." Wort however flies around the football all game going 110 MPH and gives a maximum effort for four quarters. One play in the game against Madison, Wort was coming in on a blitz and looked like he was going to get blocked. Wort however sacrificed himself and attempted to leap the block like Roy Williams circa 2001. Wort also came in on offense in the Unicorns' goal line package and on his first carry leaped over the pile Marucs Allen style and landed in the end zone. Coaches say all the time that they would rather have a guy that they have to tell to dial it down a notch than have a guy that needs a kick in the pants and from that standpoint Wort is a coach's dream.
Another over used term when talking about linebackers is how well they move sideline-to-sideline. You really don't know what that term means until you watch a player like Wort. He has the best range I have ever seen in a linebacker at this level, and that includes former Butkus Award winner Derrick Johnson. His intense nature and speed allow him to routinely chase plays down from the backside and he did so against Madison.This also goes back to how fast and how hard he plays as he was around the football at the end of nearly all 53 of the Unicorns defensive snaps.
He is a finisher at the point of attack and he showed against Madison that if he was not the first man, which he almost always was, then was going to fly in on the play and get a hat on someone wearing white. Even as fast as he moves, very rarely will he (if ever) miss a tackle and almost always displays good tackling technique by dropping his hips, lowering his pads and driving his body through the defender.
He has also shown this year to have great hands as he has taken two interceptions back the other way for touchdowns.
WEAKNESSES: The only thing to really worry about with Wort are the X's and O's and how he will adapt to not only Oklahoma's scheme, but learning a new position.
What New Braunfels head coach Chuck Caniford has said in the past about Wort is that he is extremely intelligent and he is very coachable. In an interview shortly after Wort committed, Caniford said that Wort was working very hard to graduate early. Enrolling early would be a huge help to him and would give him a much better chance of seeing the field as a true freshman.
How long it takes him to figure out the nuances of the Oklahoma defense will likely determine when his impact is felt on the Sooner program.
OVERALL ASSESSMENT: I really feel like Oklahoma got themselves a player that will bring back images of Rocky Calmus and Teddy Lehman.He is better than advertised and that is saying a lot, considering the praise he has already received.
His upside is tremendous, especially when you consider that he is still learning the game and has barely scratched the surface of his true talent.
If Wort can pick things up in college as quickly as he did in high school when combined with his physical gifts, there is no reason to belive why he should not become an all-American and be a national award candidate before his career is over.