6’0” – 198 lbs.
Appeared in four games as a freshman, then all thirteen the following year, primarily in a special-teams capacity. Started two of fourteen games played the following year, again being primarily a special-teams contributor. Stepped into a starting role this past year at strong safety, ending up with 81-7.5-0.5, five breakups, and an interception. Despite being listed as a strong safety, handled pretty diverse defensive responsibilities last year, taking some snaps in the box, some snaps shaded over receivers, and some snaps as a high safety, in roughly that order of frequency. Has a tall, lanky, and flexible build which looks more like that of a free safety, but does a lot of his work close to the line of scrimmage. A rangy athlete who exhibits a good motor in pursuit; willing to chase ballcarriers to the opposite side of the field and is capable of making tackles in pursuit. When playing in the box, does a pretty good job of attacking blockers, using his length to lock them out and maneuver himself into position to make tackles. Overall radius is impressive due to his length; technique itself can be inconsistent at times. On occasion, will lower his head and whiff, or come in too hot and fail to break down. Although he plays the game with urgency and intensity, there is some wasted motion to his game; borders on frantic. Is often around the ball because of his athleticism but is also essentially a first-year starter whose instincts can be off at times, taking him out of some plays; would like to see more patience and more progress on reading keys to reduce false steps. Looks pretty impressive in man coverage against opposing receivers; provides pretty tight if slightly conservative coverage through the stem, doing a good job of using his arms and hands to stick with them. Speed and fluidity are both impressive for a strong safety; looks comfortable flipping his hips. Wasn’t asked to play as a single-high safety for more than a handful of snaps in each game reviewed, but is able to get low into his backpedal, with appropriate balance and pretty clean footwork. Transitions when planting and driving are pretty quick as well. Has the athleticism to eventually work in deep zones, but may need some more experience before he’ll be a reliable option deep in the backfield. A pretty difficult evaluation in that there’s a little bit of a mismatch between his physical/athletic profile and his style of play, and because his play is inconsistent while at the same time showing flashes of a well-rounded starter. Looks like a good second-day project for a team with a strong coaching staff and veteran stopgaps in place.