6’0″ – 238 lbs. – 4.66
Played in twelve games as a freshman, mostly on special teams, then stepped into the starting lineup the following season, where he remained for the rest of his collegiate career. Highly productive linebacker who led his conference in tackles for three straight seasons; also an accomplished scholar who won the Campbell Award (“academic Heisman”) this past season. Has a thick, maxed-out frame with solid height and length; looks the part of a pro linebacker. Physical Mike who likes to step into gaps and help set the tone between the tackles. Has an aggressive on-field temperament and adequate instincts. Flashes the power in his hands to stack and shed. Combination of length and power makes him a good hit-and-wrap tackler who can wrap up opponents and stop forward progress. Forced eight fumbles over his three seasons in the starting lineup. Has good athleticism over a short area, but can often be seen jogging when ballcarriers make their way toward the sidelines; consequently, probably has more value as a between-the-tackles thumper than in a run-and-hit scheme. Has a tendency to overrun the hole and take himself out of the play. Takes most of his snaps in the middle, but will also slide outside and shade over opposing receivers on passing downs. Probably more comfortable in man than zone coverage. Has enough speed and fluidity to turn and run with opponents, carrying them down the seams. Able to stick with opposing running backs on routes into the flats. Good plant and drive. Doesn’t look quite as natural when backpedaling into zones. Has some minor technical issues such as turning away from opponents rather than into them. Exhibits some wasted motion in his movements. Also rushes both from off the edge and up the middle; length and closing burst make him a threat to bring down passers who flee the pocket. A little bit of a throwback who offers a thick frame and the power to take on blockers and set the tone defensively, and whose instincts and passing-down skills are adequate, he projects as a potential starter, whether as a middle or strongside linebacker behind a four-man line, or on the inside of a 3-4 defense. Draft stock will be influenced by the extent to which teams think he’ll be able to contribute on passing downs, either as a rusher or in coverage.