I listed Idaho safety Shiloh Keo as one of my five prospects to watch Saturday and I envisioned him as a potential Diamond in the Rough candidate. Keo played well enough to deserve the acknowledgement, but scouts had tipped me off about the impressive play of Lehigh offensive tackle William Rackley so far this season and with the Mountain Hawks' game picked up by Fox College Sports on Saturday morning, I focused my attention on this game.
A four year starter who earned First-Team All-Patriot League conference honors after each of the past two seasons, Rackley helped Lehigh double up Holy Cross Saturday with sound pass protection and strong run blocking from his left tackle position.
Rackley plays with good leverage, keeping his feet spread wide, his butt down and his surprisingly long arms out-stretched to control his opponent. Scouts will likely want Rackley moved inside to guard at the next level, as he doesn't have the elite foot speed or balance to handle pro pass-rushers and at a shade over 6-3, doesn't have the length preferred on the outside, either. As I mentioned, however, Rackley plays with good arm extension and his strong upper body helps him corral his opponent initially and he does a nice job of sliding laterally to remain square. With his good use of leverage, Rackley was able to handle the bull-rush of Holy Cross defenders, including defensive tackles stunting to him.
Offensive line coaches will like the tenacious style with which Rackley plays each snap. On quick draws, he provides a powerful right club to slap the defensive end upfield, but rather than release to block at the next level, Rackley makes sure first that his primary assignment (the defensive end) isn't able to make the play on the runner with good pursuit. He plays with some nastiness, appearing to enjoy the physical nature of the game and doing a nice job of not just starting his block, but finishing it.
Rackley is not an elite athlete. He lumbers a bit when asked to block downfield for screens and doesn't have the balance to re-direct and make the clean block on the moving target.
There are obvious questions about his level of competition and as to whether he can handle remaining outside at the next level. If invited to a higher level all-star game, however, I believe Rackley could impress enough to earn a mid to late round draft selection. His pro future likely be inside at guard, though his experience and competitiveness might make him capable of sliding back outside in a pinch.