As a 260-pound senior, Samuel Cosmi was not viewed as a Power Five offensive line recruit coming out of Atascocita High School (Humble, Texas). Despite Cosmi being lean, especially in his lower half, former Houston Cougars head coach Tom Herman reached out to the three-star recruit, buying into his potential and physical tools more than his vitals.
Originally committed to Houston under the leadership of Herman, Cosmi, along with two other commits, flipped his verbal status to Texas following Herman’s arrival in November of 2016. Though he was thrilled to add Cosmi to the recruiting class, Herman and staff decided to redshirt the true freshman. Although he was on a steady weight-gain plan, Cosmi was still not bulky or sturdy enough to face the rigors of high level competition in the Big 12.
Herb Hand, Texas’ offensive line coach, knew he had to be patient with Cosmi. Cosmi, like many other true freshmen that get tagged a redshirt, was somewhat restless and not content with the decision. However, he also understood how this action would end up helping his progress down the road.
“Staying out that first year, kind of getting down the speed of the game, really helped me develop as a player,” Cosmi told reporters this spring. “Sitting out my first year was really crucial in my collegiate career so far. I think it really helped a lot.”
Being groomed by Hand and sitting behind current Dallas Cowboy Connor Williams in 2017 on the depth chart, Cosmi had the proper tutelage to be prepared to start in 2018. Despite having a successful fall camp and adding 40 pounds, Cosmi was not granted the start in the season opener versus Maryland. After the Longhorns’ five-point loss to the Terps, Cosmi locked down the right tackle spot for the remainder of the season.
Earning freshman All-America honors from USA TODAY, the redshirt freshman recorded over 1,000 snaps with an overall grade of 79.7 from Pro Football Focus, sitting only behind Dalton Risner of Kansas State (90.7) and Lucas Niang of TCU (81.3).
The Longhorns return a promising, young offensive lineman in Samuel Cosmi. pic.twitter.com/hKmGzEqS6l
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With the departure of former left tackle Calvin Anderson, Cosmi had the vote of approval from Hand to be Hesiman-hopeful Sam Ehlinger’s blindside protector for 2019. Just two games in at his new position, Cosmi has answered the call.
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Cosmi’s immediate intrigue comes with his hand technique. Offensive linemen can have a weight and length advantage, but all can go to waste without the proper technique or leverage. Cosmi does an excellent job of continuing to redistribute his hands throughout the play, maintaining his balance and advantage. Despite not having a consistently effective first punch with only adequate extension, he shows the ability to recover and keeps his hands tight and inside to keep his anchor and balance even if he lost off the snap.
Executing ideal hand placement, Cosmi also has the grip strength to control his opposition to extreme levels. Though he doesn’t always function with the greatest pad level, his heavy hands can supplement the power that is lost.
The blindside protector also ticks the foot speed box. Cosmi’s wide kick slide partnered with his 6’6″ length provides him with the ability to easily catch outside speed rushers. More times than not, he will catch the outside speed rushers and lose little to no ground on contact.
Passing the test versus speed on the exterior, Cosmi also proves his worth when facing quickness. Battling with athletic LSU edge rusher K’Lavon Chaisson last weekend, Cosmi had his work cut out for him. Despite Chaisson not being a polished pass rusher, his quickness alone can do enough damage to blow up the box score. Cosmi kept the speedy edge rusher in check and found ways to prevent Chaisson’s fluid movements away from Ehlinger.
However, saying Cosmi put Chaisson in his grave on Saturday night would be an overstatement. Though it was a physical grudge match in which Cosmi did have the upper hand for the majority of the night, Chaisson also had his moments. The LSU defender accomplished the most when getting first hands on the Texas tackle. Cosmi has lapses in timing, as he will occasionally perform a lazy punch or take too patient of an approach. Saturday night, Chaisson caught on and found his bread and butter of how to get to the pocket.
Though Cosmi shows a consistent anchor, he will occasionally get put on skates and surrender pressure to the pocket.
In the run game, Cosmi shows the aggressive attitude to be a punisher. When functioning under the correct pad level, he will flatten his opposition with power and control. With his length and acceleration, he has no issue operating under any scheme being a consistent reach blocker, but he also has the power to knock defenders off the snap.
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With just 15 starts under his belt, Cosmi has plenty of snaps left to improve on his overall technique and timing in pass protection. Already possessing all the physical tools to be considered as one of the best tackles in college football, Cosmi has the opportunity to sharpen his weapons to become a dominant asset for the Longhorns.