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PROSPECT ANALYSIS: offensive lineman Colt Pettit, Patrick Henry (OH) (committed July 10, 2013), three stars, No. 60 in Ohio
Two years of mediocrity along the offensive line has led to a bit of a transformation among the group. This season should be the first we see significant progress on the front.
However, the unit might be filled with depth and loads of talent in a couple of years when players like Pettit are ready to play. The three-star offensive lineman from Ohio has some traits that make you believe he'll be a force in the future.
The one that sticks out right of the bat are Pettit's body movements. He owns impressive speed (4.9 second 40-yard dash) and has great body control in the trenches at 6'4". Patrick Henry uses him to pull a lot from his guard position, and this is where Pettit excels. He has an unusually quick first step for a lineman and can get to top speed relatively fast. Although Pettit isn't the strongest guy around, this speed allows the lineman to gain serious momentum hitting a hole to pave the way.
When Pettit is moving downhill, a defender really has no chance to push Pettit backwards, he has too much momentum combined with strength. This speed wasn't limited to just offense in high school, either. Pettit makes numerous plays with his speed on the defensive side, showing his agility and powerful motor.
He'll definitely have to shore up his technique skills in order to be a significant contributor, but the building blocks are there. He'll need to add about 20-25 pounds as well. Pettit seems to be one of those players who doesn't accept losing, and will do anything to hit somebody hard.
Pettit likely won't be making a push for a starting spot for a couple of years, but if he reaches his full potential, the lineman will surely be a solid warrior in the interior of the offensive line.
CURRENT VIRGINIA TECH COMPARISON: offensive tackle Alston Smith
Pettit doesn't really match up with any of the starters right now, simply because he doesn't quite have as big of a body as the current linemen. But Smith offers a solid glimpse at where Pettit could be at in two year's time.
At 6'2" Smith is a little undersized, but has gotten his weight up to 281 pounds currently. This is an ideal weight for Pettit, who is just north of 260-265 right now. Smith is extremely athletic, giving him a big advantage on pulling plays from the guard position. He also has great strength that he combines with his speed.
Smith will push for playing time this season, and I could see a similar situation for Pettit if he makes the same type of jump as Smith in his freshman year.
PAST VIRGINIA TECH COMPARISON: OL Beau Warren (2007-10)
The well-known, hard-working center was extremely productive for the Hokies in his 26 career starts. Although he was a little undersized at 6'3" when he came to Blacksburg, Warren got his weight up to 286 pounds in his senior season. It paid off as the St. Louis Rams signed Warren following his collegiate career. This offers a look at what Pettit could turn into.
Warren was incredibly quick in small spaces, always keeping the interior of the Virginia Tech line stable. He could pull to the outside from his center position, and was a force for the dominant running teams of the Hokies.
If Pettit works hard enough and gets his weight to a suitable number, Warren is a perfect ceiling to climb to.