6’4” – 246 lbs. – 4.70e
Redshirted as a freshman after sustaining a foot injury, then appeared in a rotational capacity the following season before stepping into the starting lineup in 2014; has put together three productive seasons since then, although his output dropped off substantially as a senior. Team captain with good bloodlines; grandfather, father, uncle, and brother also played college football. Plays rush linebacker in Wisconsin’s 3-4 defense, shifting from the left to right side regularly (usually plays on the weak side.) However, looks a little bit more like a linebacker in a four-man front, with bulk on the low end for a rush linebacker despite impressive height; length may also be below-average for the position. Has pretty solid instincts/play recognition skills; generally doesn’t take himself out of plays. Gets pretty good arm extension as a run defender and has the athleticism to flow down the line. Willing to take on blocks but functional strength is average at best and can be driven off the spot or knocked off-balance by a strong initial punch; will get turned out of the hole and put on skates by powerful linemen. More comfortable using his suddenness to penetrate into the backfield and disrupt play designs; uses inside moves and swims the most frequently. Doesn’t have elite top-end speed but is fast enough to make some plays in backside pursuit; works sideline to sideline. Not a particularly forceful tackler and may have some problems because of the constraints his lack of ideal length places on his radius. Has some speed to challenge the edge in the passing game; often lines up with a wide alignment and spins back to the passer if he gets too deep. Primarily but not strictly a downhill player; occasionally lines up off the line of scrimmage and has been asked to handle some coverage responsibilities. Wasn’t really aligned opposite slot receivers in space or tight ends in man coverage very often; most of his drops were zone/spot drops. Has the athletic ability to play in space, but could stand to clean up his balance and footwork when backpedaling, as technique suffers with distance. Can do a little bit of everything, with his overall instincts, movement skills, and pursuit being his greatest strengths as a player. Looks best when playing downhill but might need to add some additional bulk and strength before he can work his way onto the field in an odd front; could also get some looks as a blitzing strongside linebacker behind a four-man line.
Games watched: Nebraska (’15), Northwestern (’15), Louisiana St. (’16)