6’1” – 227 lbs.
Played sparingly as a freshman, finishing with six tackles. Started four of thirteen games played the following year and finished with 40-5.0-1.0, then took over a starting role this past season and went 85-12.0-3.0, also intercepting a pass before deciding to forego his senior season and declare for the draft. On the small side for a linebacker, even in the modern era; might need to add some bulk in a pro strength program, although he has played as high as 232 pounds (during his sophomore season). Aggressive downhill player who does a good job of reading his keys and flowing to the ball. Gets up to speed quickly and is capable of chasing down opposing ballcarriers from behind on stretches and tosses. Has the short-area quickness to slip offensive linemen without getting engaged, although he may have more of a physical approach than a finesse one. Navigates through traffic effectively to get lanes, takes solid angles, and has good closing burst in pursuit; can play sideline-to-sideline, chasing down backs and receivers catching screen passes. Would be best-suited on a team which allowed him to run to the ball behind big defensive linemen, but is actually pretty physical and active when it comes to taking on blocks, holding up better on contact than expected for a player with his size. Tackling radius itself isn’t the most impressive, but uses appropriate wrap technique when in range. Effective open-field tackler. Coverage responsibilities were a little bit limited. Was often asked to blitz the quarterback on passing downs, sometimes from the edge, but did mix in some shallow drops and would also shade over opposing slot receivers at times. Plays with a more conservative temperament in coverage than he shows in the run game. Overall technique looks relaxed; doesn’t provide the tightest coverage, but does an adequate job of keeping himself in position to make quick tackles after the catch. Flashes quick feet and good balance when making spot drops into zone coverage, although it would be nice to see him keep the action in front more consistently. Has the type of physical and athletic profile to carry running backs out of the backfield but didn’t see him do that much during the games reviewed. Typically linebackers his size tend to be coverage specialists who struggle to take on blockers in the run game, so it’s a bit of a surprise to find that he’s actually a physical downhill run-stuffing type with impressive functional strength. Looks like a potential starter.