6’0” – 196 lbs. – 4.50e
Has been starting for the Hokies since his true freshman season, when he played opposite his brother, Kyle, who later became a first-round pick of the Bears in 2014. Tall with good length and average bulk; looks the part of a boundary cornerback at the pro level. Lines up on the outside, often in press-man coverage; shifts from the left to right side to shadow opposing number-ones. Physical, aggressive player who uses his length to get a hand on opponents and carry them downfield. Clean footwork and good route-recognition allow him to avoid giving up much separation out of breaks. However, lacks elite top-end speed, which prevents him from sticking with faster receivers on shallow crosses; when defending downfield, is not always in the in-phase, which prevents him from getting his head around on a consistent basis and leads to too many pass-interference penalties. Also tends to give up inside positioning on slants and deep posts. Struggled to defend against double-moves; for the most egregious example, see his coverage against Michael Thomas this season, where he was burned for a deep touchdown late in the game. Lacks the recovery speed to catch up when beat. When he’s in position, has soft hands and natural ball skills; intercepted six passes as a freshman with opponents avoiding his brother. Has pretty good timing when going for the deflection; can read the receiver’s eyes and use his length to make a play on the ball. Doesn’t do a lot of the blitzing work his brother did in the past, but showed as a sophomore that he can threaten the edge when working out of the slot. As a run defender, can get his arms extended and funnel runners back inside. When it comes to making a tackle, though, is willing and takes good angles to the ball, but is more likely to attempt to cut a bigger opponent’s legs than to use his technique to wrap them. Was asked to handle diverse and difficult requirements in college and has a desirable frame, enough athleticism, and the temperament to succeed, but will require some more work before he’s ready to contribute at the pro level; needs to be more patient to avoid getting beat on double-moves, and must find the ball in the air in order to limit downfield penalties. Those limitations, and his lack of elite top-end speed, will probably keep him from being selected on the first day of the draft. Upside as a pro is probably that of a number-two cornerback who might be best in a system which keeps the play in front of him.
Games watched: Ohio St. (’14), Pittsburgh (’14), Ohio St. (’15)