Via AllinOne Sports
On Monday, TE Erik Krommenhoek announced his commitment to USC, the tenth commit the Trojans have racked up thus far. Now the 24th ranked class in the 247 sports recruiting rankings, USC is beginning to pick up a few more commitments as summer gets underway. Krommenhoek is the first TE of the Trojans’ class, a position that only has three scholarship players on the roster for next season due to the coming graduation of redshirt senior Taylor McNamara and the lack of depth that has plagued the position over the past few years.
Krommenhoek is another relatively under the radar prospect as the big tight end is only rated as a mid-three star according to 247 sports’ rankings. Listed at 6’5.5” and 243 lbs., Krommenhoek is a physical player that plays both tight end and defensive end for Monte Vista High School in Danville, CA. Although Krommenhoek is clocked at only 5.07 seconds in the forty yard dash, he plays above his speed on tape but he does not have the top end speed required to be a highly ranked tight end prospect. This limitation requires him to utilize physicality much more than quickness. As a result, Krommenhoek is likely to be utilized far more as a blocking tight end than as a receiver at USC.
Krommenhoek excels as a blocker who is not afraid to seal the edge against big defensive ends. In the run game, he shows a quick first punch and the lower body strength to drive lineman back off the line of scrimmage. Monte Vista High School does not play against very high-end competition with the exception of powerhouse De La Salle. Therefore, almost all of the lineman Krommenhoek faces at the line of scrimmage are much smaller than the opposition he will be facing at a top level division I football program. However, Krommenhoek’s tremendous strength that is completely overpowering against lower competition should still be effective at USC. One advantage that Krommenhoek has in this area of his game is that most of his highlights are on the defensive side of the ball, giving him a good knowledge of how defensive ends are going to try and get by him at the next level. This could be key for Krommenhoek to earning playing time early in his career because his receiving skills appear to be significantly behind that of his blocking.
Despite the Trojans accepting Krommenhoek’s commitment as a tight end, he may have a future on the defensive side of the ball. On tape, he shows a good burst off the edge thanks to his solid lower body strength. His quick first step allows him to breeze past offensive tackles to get after the quarterback and cause havoc in the backfield. Plus, he shows an innate ability to time the throws of quarterbacks allowing him to bat down lots of balls at the line of scrimmage. Thanks in part to J.J. Watt, this skill is becoming more and more valued in today’s game. Krommenhoek may stick as a good blocking tight end for the Trojans, but SC has a good backup plan in that he can also contribute at defensive end if offense does not work out.
For all of Krommenhoek’s blocking ability, he does not appear to be a player that has the potential to ever become a full-time starter at USC. He has almost no experience in route running and showcasing the aptitude to be an effective receiving tight end in high school, not to mention at SC. With the Trojans bringing in both Tyler Petite and Cary Angeline in the past two recruiting cycles—two tight ends that are much more receivers than blockers—Krommenhoek seems destined to be a pure blocking tight end. In addition, top rated tight end Jimmy Jaggers is a heavy USC lean, and he would represent a far more balanced prospect that can contribute as a receiver as well as at the line of scrimmage. Krommenhoek’s future at SC likely seems destined for jumbo packages where a blocking tight end is required.
Lastly, Krommenhoek’s commitment may be a little less secure than some may believe. Rumor has it that both of his parents are UCLA alums, potentially leading to a decommitment later in the process if the Bruins step up their recruitment of the young tight end. Krommenhoek’s future may also lie away from USC if the Trojans are able to receive commitments from other highly rated prospects at the position such as Josh Falo, Tyler Johnson, and Tre’ McKitty. Krommenhoek appears to be much more of a project than some of USC’s other targets at the position and if one of them commit, Krommenhoek may be pushed out of the class. USC is in need of a blocking tight end with McNamara graduating, but Krommenhoek may be too much of a project for USC to ultimately have as part of the 2017 class if other targets show high interest.