LB Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Notre Dame (6’1”, 215)
Did not play during his freshman season, then broke his foot at the beginning of his sophomore year before stepping into a starting role as a junior. That year, he went 80-13.5-5.5 with four breakups and two forced fumbles. Won the Butkus Award last year after posting a line of 62-11.0-1.5, with one interception, three breakups, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery returned for a touchdown.
Predominantly lined up as a weakside linebacker, but was moved around pretty often and could be considered as a potential rover. Has what looks like above-average length for his size. Excellent athlete, in terms of speed, agility, acceleration, and flexibility. Alert player with a high motor. Does a good job of masking his lack of size by using his quickness and hand use to keep blockers away from his frame; consequently, makes a bigger impact between the tackles than anticipated. Capable of knifing through gaps or otherwise working his way through trash to flow to the ball. Willing to get physical while still playing within his skillset. Reads keys quickly and takes very solid angles to the ball; instincts and aggressiveness allowed him to make a lot of plays in opposing backfields. Light on his feet when working in coverage, with impressive ability to flip his hips and carry opponents down the field in coverage; could be an ideal type to work against running backs in man. Was often asked to shade over bunches and looked comfortable reading routes. Can disrupt opponents with physicality near the line.
Strict 4-3 weakside linebacker whose size and bulk are below-average and perhaps even below some teams’ minimum requirements, even in the modern NFL. Not going to be able to step into the hole and stonewall opposing fullbacks or tight ends. Size constraints force him to work around opponents even when it’s not the most efficient path to the ball. Does have a little bit of a hitch in his transition from dropping into zone to driving on a spot. Might struggle to match up with opposing tight ends in man coverage because of his lack of height.
A polished player who diagnoses more quickly, takes better angles, and understands technique better than most of the other linebackers in the class, traits which, combined with his plus athleticism and feel for the game, should allow him to develop into a starting weakside linebacker and key sub-package contributor for a pro team which uses an even defensive front. Looks like he’s going to be a first-round pick, but won’t appeal to every team.