In "The Breakdown," veteran talent scout Randy Rodgers is analyzing film of a select group of the nation's top prospects for Rivals.com. Rodgers has more than 35 years of experience in the college recruiting arena. He was the recruiting coordinator at the University of Illinois (1988-91) and the University of Texas (1992-97) and is one of the leading authorities on high school football talent analysis in the country. In this edition, Rodgers takes a look at linebackers.
Could play inside or outside. Plays deep in alignment, reads really well, maintains excellent relationships in pursuit. Long strider, who really eats up ground. Excellent pad level player against blockers and ball carriers. Fundamentally sound as a tackler, does a nice job of wrapping up. Really physical. Gets squared up and punishes ball carriers. Capable of Knock-Back Tackles. 300 pound bench press isn't spectacular, but he really has good field strength. USC commit.
Appears well coached, maintains good relationships to ball carriers. Ran better on tape that what his testing numbers indicated. Had a pick, sack, and fumble recovery on his highlight tape where you can see his speed and acceleration. Was really impressive in pass coverage and appeared to have a good sense and awareness of receivers. Has tendency to lunge when tackling and doesn't really use his hips and legs as much as he could. Doesn't appear as tall as listed, so will be a guy who will be heavily recruited to camps. Very productive player.
Very explosive. Excellent pad level player. Had several KBT's on his tapes. Stays on his feet, really gets his hips into his tackles, and shows a lot of field strength. Has good range, runs well. Excellent blitzer. Plays much faster than his testing numbers (24 VJ, 4.37 shuttle). Very productive player capable of making a lot of big plays.
Plays outside. Smaller and thinner in appearance than listed, but really quick. Has excellent feet and excellent speed. Because of height, will struggle inside against big OL's. must be protected by scheme so that he can use his speed to make plays. Has a tendency to run around blockers, so playing outside in space makes a lot of sense. Probably best suited for teams that play an eight man front.
Big and rangy. Appears to have long arms. Very good in pursuit, but must work on protecting legs, since he runs upright. Has fast motor for big guy. Maintains very good tackling relationships. Excellent striker when he tackles. Weight room numbers don't tell his field strength. Listed a 265 bench, 465 squat, but would guess he probably would have a good power clean. I like the way he punishes ball carries. Has the speed to be a factor in pass coverage. Needs to work on breaking down in the open field. Might be a guy who could grow into a pass rushing DE.
Plays Outside - very good in coverage. Reads patterns well and has good sense of passing lanes. Long strider, so tough to read on how fast he really is but he eats up ground. Backed off the ball a lot like a safety and is asked to cover TE's and RB's in man coverage. Has good toughness, makes a lot of plays in pursuit. Well coached and maybe more ready to play in college early because of it.
Actually a big free safety. Has excellent size and range. Really does a nice job of reading patterns and breaking on the ball. Runs the alley really well and gets a lot of knockout blows on RB's and WR's. Really patrols and intimidates between the has marks. Has really good ball skills going for interceptions. Needs to wrap up better when he tackles, because he goes for the knockout too much. Has the size ,speed, and toughness as a high school junior to project to a college linebacker. University of Oklahoma commit.
Plays DE, looks smaller than listed, but has tremendous speed and acceleration. Really has a terrific first step and causes real problems for OT's with his quickness. Played some at MLB and is very good in pursuit. Needs to protect legs, has tendency to get in a hurry. Very raw player, but very talented and really fast. Able to be a disrupter because of his speed and quickness. North Carolina commit.
Downhill middle linebacker. Long strider who eats up ground. Tall and needs to protect legs in pursuit. Diagnoses very quickly, is in a hurry sometimes, and appears to sometimes guess. Likes to hit and wants to get there. Needs to work on change of direction skills, but can cut down on that with a little more patience. Excellent hustler, capable of making plays all over the field. Because of his height and speed, I would see him better suited to play OLB in college, but culd also be another player who could project to DE.
Inside backer. Appears shorter than others. Solid player, good tackler, didn't have many big hits, didn't have many plays on other side of LOS, which may be the style of defense. His coach says he is a downhill player. Very good at playing the cutback because he has patience. Stocky, looks like he has good leg strength. Top student attracting a lot of attention from ACC schools.