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Buffs Get Verbal #9 - Illinois OG Gus Handler

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Well, it wasn't the big name that everyone was hoping for but when you have a month and six day drought since the last verbal, getting any positive news is a plus. Today, via a few sources like rivals.com, the Buffs have acknowledged that Gus Hander has committed. He is projected as a guard or center at the next level. Handler is an interesting prospect in that their is a wide range of opinions on him. First of all, he only weighs 270 pounds (6'3") so he will most definitely be a red shirt prospect. Gus will fall in love with strength and conditioning coach Pittman and the CU food halls. You thought 270 was light, Hander put on a lot of weight in the off-season just to get to that size which is one reason that he is sort of under the radar.

Gus prides himself on his speed and "decent strength" but he is still very raw. You can tell he did a good job marketing himself on YouTube as he has the most videos of any prospect I have researched this year. I have put two up below, one from 2007 (first one) and one from 2008. You can see the 30 - 40 pounds that Handler put on between the years:



Just by watching some of the tapes, you can see that Gus has a pretty decent get off and is able to get engaged with his opponent rather easily. He usually makes first contact with the man he is blocking before the defender can get into him. He likes to make his initial block and then get to the next level which is always a good trait in a young lineman. Seems like a kid with some hustle in him. More of a "engage, push and bury" guy rather than a "straight decleater". That aspect of his game will come with better technique (lower pad level, less hands/more leverage) and strength. He has a weird habit where he pops up when he is assigned to a linebacker and swings his arms, completely stopping his flow and losing leverage. He will need to take lower better angles and stay low when getting to the next level especially if he is in the interior of the line where sharp, quick cuts and pulls are a must. He is not lazy which comes with a smaller more athletic type of lineman which will suit him well at the next level especially as he tries to put on weight.

The more and more I watched this kid, the more and more I liked him. Handler won't get a lot of pub but he still had a pretty good offer list and he has some strong attributes that will only be amplified with weight gain.

Scout Page - 1* / Not Rated At Position

Rivals Page - 2* / Not Rated At Position

ESPN Page - #56 Offensive Tackle - Ranks him higher than Jack Harris

Gus visited the Buffs December 5th of this year. He was also offered by NC State, Purdue and gained interest recently from Georgia Tech. Not a bad offer list