The War Room: Will Ofenheusle, OT, Tennessee
Birthday: May 18, 1980
Strengths: Will Ofenheusle has had academic problems at Tennessee, but they aren’t of the garden variety. The problem is he’s too smart. By the time Ofenheusle was a redshirt sophomore for the Vols, he was a senior in terms of classroom credits and fast approaching his first college degree. His coach, Phil Fullmer, even worried that he’d leave early because Ofenheusle told him that he wanted to be a doctor. Problem solved, as Ofenheusle stuck around Knoxville to fulfill his eligibility and pursue a second degree.
So, yes, Ofenheusle is not your typical football player. Not everyone gets to be commended by a state legislature for achievements on and off the field. It should come as no surprise that the Academic All-SEC tackle is taking over leadership duties for the offensive line following the departure of Fred Weary to the Texans.
Ofenheusle can play, too. He’s a physical guy who puts forth the effort on every down. Ofenheusle is versatile, playing right guard until a teammate’s injury moved him over to right tackle. He has the basic skills down to a Tennessee T, and he utilizes the crafty technique of a savvy veteran.
Areas for Concern: Sometimes, his technique is too savvy. Ofenheusle is constantly accused of being a dirty player, even by South Carolina coach Lou Holtz, a crafty guy in his own right. After enough complaining, the conference did see reason to send Ofenheusle a warning letter for an illegal block. Ofenheusle accepted fault for that one play, but otherwise, he thinks he’s clean.
Ofenheusle has also suffered a few injuries, including two in 2000. The first was to his shoulder, causing him to miss a game. Later, it was his wrist, and that one required surgery. Ofenheusle has had ankle surgery, too. Though he started every game last year, Ofenheusle will need to stay healthy all season to wipe that injury-prone label off his resume.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? With his first degree coming in logistics and transportation, maybe Ofenheusle can solve the mess that is the eternal construction on I-45 North. Or maybe he can team with the heady Chester Pitts and develop a better potato clock or something. If nothing else, he’s already been a teammate of Weary’s, so the familiarity is there.
As a right tackle or right guard prospect, Ofenheusle’s draft status may suffer. Mike Williams was a right tackle and was selected fourth overall last year, so it’s possible Ofenheusle could overcome that stigma. Still, it’s very unlikely. If he were to slip, however, into the latter half of the draft’s first day, the Texans may volunteer to take their second straight Vol for the offensive line.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
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