Category Archives: Outside Linebackers

College Football: Week 3 Eastern Michigan at Illinois

Eastern Michigan Eagles (1-1) vs Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)

***

EASTERN MICHIGAN EAGLES | MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Coach: Chris Creighton

Eastern Michigan Players to watch

Senior RB Shaq Vann (5-10/215)

Look for the senior running back to put up some decent numbers in 2019; he’s currently on pace for 750 rushing yards and 25 receptions out of the backfield. In 2018, Vann led all Eagles running backs with 590 yards on 135 carries and totaled five touchdowns. In 2019, Vann was named a team captain.

Senior QB Mike Glass (6-0/212)

HC Chris Creighton prefers mobile quarterbacks. Glass is currently the team’s number two rusher, behind Vann. Last year, Glass played in 8 games, throwing for just over 1,000 yards.

Senior DOG/CB/LB Brody Hoying (5-11/203)

Hoying is the tempo setter on this year’s Eagle’s defense. He leads the team in sacks, tackles-for-loss; he has a interception and a forced fumble. In 2018, Hoying earned MAC Distinguished Scholar Athlete and Academic All-MAC recognition.

Senior ROV/CB Vince Calhoun (5-11/200)

Voted to several All-MAC teams last year, Calhoun started all 13 games, accumulated 84 tackles, 2.0 TFL, one sack, and three interceptions on the year; he also earned a season and career-high 12 tackles at Buffalo (Sept. 15). He is currently second on team in total tackles with 16.

***

ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI | BIG10 CONFERENCE

Coach: Lovie Smith

Illinois Players to watch:

Senior RB Reggie Corbin (5-10/200)

Running back Reggie Corbin hasn’t played since the first half of a Week 1 win against Akron after suffering a hip pointer. He traveled to UConn last week, and was dressed, but didn’t play. He returns to action vs Eastern Michigan. Corbin, who rushed for more than 1,000 yards last season, gives Illinois a big-play threat.

Senior QB Brandon Peters (6-5/220)

Peters, a Michigan grad-transfer, finally gives Lovie Smith a legitimate quarterback. Last week vs UConn, Peters completed 24 of his 35 pass attempts for 227 yards, four touchdowns and one interception. A good game this week will help him get prepare for a tougher test against conference-rival Nebraska next week.

Senior DE Oluwole Betiku (6-3/250)

Betiku is a grad-transfer from USC. He is off to a blazing start under HC/DC Lovie Smith. Betiku is leading the nation in sacks, he already has 5.0 sacks in only two games, along with 6.5 tackles-for-loss. “If you just look at his athletic ability, you assume he can rush the passer, too,” Lovie Smith said. “I’m anxious to see him take another step this week. The sky’s the limit.”

Senior RG Richie Petitbon (6-4/316)

Lovie also brought in Alabama grad-transfer, Richie Petitbon to bring some veteran leadership to the offensive line. The former Washington, D.C. prep standout, has helped Illinois average 380 yards per game so far in this young 2019 season.

***

Memorial Stadium – FieldTurf
Sept 14 | Champaign-Urbana, Illinois

College Football: Week 3 Stanford at UCF

Stanford Cardinals (1-1) vs #17 University of Central Florida Knights (2-0)

***

STANFORD CARDINALS | PAC-12 CONFERENCE

Coach: David Shaw

Stanford Players to watch

***Sophomore CB Paulson Adebo (6-1/189)

Stanford Cardinal cornerback Paulson Adebo (11) intercepts a pass intended for California Golden Bears wide receiver Vic Wharton III, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2018.
(AP Photo/John Hefti)

The redshirt sophomore from Mansfield, Texas, is one of the top DB’s in the nation. He is on the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list; the Jim Thorpe Award watch list; the Bednarik Award watch list; the Lott IMPACT Trophy watch list; and has been named to the Associated Press Preseason All-America first team.

Junior QB K.J. Costello (6-5/215)

Stanford has quite the track record of turning out NFL quality quarterbacks. Costello looked to be next in line; however, he’s been off to a slow start in 2019. The offense has only produced 17, and 20 points in the first two outings. Look for Costello to exploit UCF’s decimated backfield and get himself back on track by putting up big numbers.

Junior TE Colby Parkinson (6-7/250)

Parkinson should have himself a career year in both receptions and yardage. A big, physical, target for Costello that can sit down in the zone, or run up the seem. He was one of the nation’s top talent’s coming out of high school, this should be his year to live up to that billing.

Junior OT Walker Little (6-7/313)

It wouldn’t have been a surprise to see Little declare for the draft after his junior season, but he’s injured and out for the season. He was one of the highest rated left tackles in the college game, with size and agility. In 2017, Little was Stanford’s first true freshman to start at left tackle since 2000 (Kirk Chambers). In 2018, Little protected the blindside of QB K.J. Costello, who finished with second-most passing yards in a season in school history. The line won’t be the same without him.

***

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA | AMERICAN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE

Coach: Josh Heupel

UFC Players to watch:

****Freshman QB Dillon Gabriel (6-0/185)

Through two weeks’ Dillon has thrown five touchdown passes and zero ints. “I thought for his first time out there, being a true freshman, he managed everything and handled everything really well,” HC Josh Heupel said. “He was a good decision-maker in some of our run-pass stuff and did a good job in the pass game. Overall, pleased with what he did.”

Senior LB Nate Evans (6-1/241)

A leader on the defense, Evans racked up 99 tackles as a junior, with 2.5 sacks. He was also named All-AAC last year. He highlighted his season by scoring his first collegiate points on a 94-yard fumble recovery at ECU. In year two with DC Randy Shannon, look for Evans to put up even bigger numbers this year.

Senior DE Brendon Hayes (6-3/293)

Brother Martin product Brendon Hayes has been a key part of UCF’s young defensive line. Last year, he made 44 total tackles with 23 solo; recovered one fumble and recorded three sacks for a loss of 20 total yards. He was also named All-AAC Second Team in 2018. Hayes already has two sacks in 2019.

Junior FS Richie Grant (6-0/184)

Grant was UCF’s interception leader last year, earning First Team All-AAC, along with senior CB Nevelle Clarke. Clarke has been suspended for the first six games of the year due to a failed drug test; and with the recent injury to CB Brandon Moore, Grant will be asked to step his game up to another level.

***

Bright House Networks Stadium – Grass
Sept 14 | Orlando, Florida

College Football: Week 3 North Carolina at Wake Forest

North Carolina Tar Heels (2-0) vs Wake Forest Demon Deacons (2-0)

***

NORTH CAROLINA TAR HEELS | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Mack Brown

North Carolina Players to watch

Senior LT Charlie Heck (6-8/310)

Heck started all 11 games at right tackle, blocking for an offense that averaged 442.1 yards per game (31st NCAA), including 193.0 rushing yards per contest. A tenacious left tackle, Heck led an offensive line that allowed just 0.91 sacks per game (10 sacks/7th NCAA/2nd ACC).

Senior TE Carl Tucker (6-2/255)

Tucker is entering his senior year with the Tar Heels, coming off a junior season in which he caught 16 receptions for 265 yards and two touchdowns in 10 games. He started 6 games in his junior season, providing a big target for UNC quarterbacks.

Senior NG Aaron Crawford (6-1/315)

In 2018, during spring ball, Crawford tore his PCL and sprained his MCL as he tried to shed a block against a teammate. He returns with high expectations this season. In 2017, Crawford, started all 12 games as a redshirt sophomore. He recorded 29 tackles, three sacks, five tackles for loss and recovered a fumble.

Senior CB Cam’ron Kelly (6-1/215)

The NCAA declared the Auburn transfer eligible in 2019 – great news for the Demon Deacons. UNC DB Coach Dre Bly said of Kelly, “He’s smart being an offensive player, so he can see a lot of things on the field. He’s very versatile as a player. The minute he gets cleared to play, I can see him … having a role … on this team.”

***

WAKE FOREST DEMON DEACONS | ATLANTIC COASTAL CONFERENCE

Coach: Dave Clawson

Wake Forest Players to watch:

Junior QB Jamie Newman (6-4/235)

The Wake Forest quarterback finished the 2018 season with more than 1,000 yards passing in just four games. This season, he seems to be picking up where he left off; through two games, Newman has completed 55 of his 74 passing attempts for 713 yards, with six touchdowns and no INTs: that’s seventh in the country through Week 2.

***Sophomore WR Sage Surratt (6-3/220)

Surratt will be an All-Purpose threat, receiving punts and catching deep balls from Newman. Surratt is N.C. state’s career H.S. record holder in receptions (366), yards (5,926) and touchdown receptions (80). He was voted N.C.’s AP Offensive Player of the Year after catching 129 passes for 2,104 yards, both state records, and scoring 28 touchdowns in the fall.

Junior ROV Luke Masterson (6-2/220)

Masterson played 110 snaps the first five games last season and 472 the last eight mostly because of an injury to Jessie Bates, now with the Cincinnati Bengals. Masterson had 42 stops and four pass break-ups for a defense that recorded 106 tackles for losses.

Senior CB Essang Bassey (5-10/185)

Bassey, the senior cornerback and team captain, has already consistently been one of the Deacons’ best defensive players for the past two seasons. In that stretch, he has four interceptions and 31 pass break-ups. He was a second-team All-ACC pick last year. He landed on the preseason watch lists for the Bronko Nagurski Trophy (best defensive player) and the Jim Thorpe Award (best defensive back).

***

BB&T Field – Field Turf
Sept 13 | Winston-Salem, NC

College Football: Week 2 LSU at Texas

#6 Louisiana State University (1-0) vs #9 Texas Longhorns (1-0)

***

LOUISIANA STATE UNIVERSITY | SOUTHEASTERN CONFERENCE

Coach: Ed Orgeron

LSU Players to watch

Freshman CB Derek Stingley (6-1/195)

Stingley was the top rated CB in the country in 2018.
Photo: The Advocate | AP Photo File

The former Dunham High School star from Baton Rouge gives LSU a big weapon returning punts. Head Coach Ed Oregon said that Stingley looked like the best cornerback on the team. That says a lot, when CB Kristian Fulton turned down the NFL to return to play his senior season. LSU has one of the best defensive backfields in the country.

Senior QB Joe Burrow (6-4/216)

Burrow remind me a lot of former Alabama QB AJ McCarron. His primary job isn’t to win the game; his primary job is to be fundamentally sound, don’t turn the ball over, and get the ball into the hands of his playmakers. He’s the quintessential game manager.

**Sophomore OLB/DE K’lavon Chaisson (6-4/238)

Eleven months ago, Chaisson tore his left ACL in the season opener against Miami. The electric pass rusher is back and in full form. Physically, he’s ripped. Chaisson has his eye on the school’s single-season sack record (12). “Him rushing off the edge,” safety Grant Delpit said, “we know we’ve got guaranteed pressure on that side.”

*Junior SS Grant Delpit (6-3/203)

Delpit was a finalist for the Nagurski Award as the top defender in college football in 2018; and claimed the 2018 Jack Tatum Award from the Columbus Ohio Touchdown Club as the top defensive back in college football. A tremendous all around safety that can make plays all over the field, Delpit would have been a first round draft pick had he been eligible. He was a first team All-American and a Thorpe finalist.

***

TEXAS LONGHORNS | BIG 12 CONFERENCE

Coach: Tom Herman

Texas Players to watch:

Junior QB Sam Ehlinger (6-3/230)

Ehlinger set a Big 12 record with 308 passes without an Int.
Photo: The Advocate | AP Photo File

Ehlinger has more than proven himself as a passer in college, too — his 3,292 passing yards last season rank fifth in school history and he’ll likely move into third place for most career passing yards later this season. Ehlinger has played in 23 games with 20 starts and 36 career touchdown throws.

Senior WR Collin Johnson (6-6/220)

Johnson surprised people by returning to school for his senior season. At 6-6, Johnson is a big target with a wide catch radius. Johnson has played in 38 games with 22 starts. He was one of five Longhorns elected by their teammates as a captain for the 2019 season. He enters his senior season with 150 receptions (ninth-most in school history) for 2,065 yards (10th-most in school history) and 12 touchdowns.

Senior OC Zach Shackelford (6-4/305)

As a junior, Shackelford played in 11 games with 10 starts. He was named first team All-Big 12 by the AP and second team by the coaches. Shackelford anchors one of the better offensive lines in the country. He is a leading candidate for the 2019 Rimington Award.

***Sophomore SS Caden Sterns (6-1/210)

Sterns earned All-Big 12 honors last year and led the team with 4 ints. Just entering his sophomore season, Sterns has already been named to the Jim Thorpe Award and Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch lists in the 2019 preseason.

***

Darrell K Royal- Texas Memorial Stadium – Field Turf
Sept 7 | Austin, Texas

Outside Linebackers: Final Position Rankings

2019 NFL Draft:  Top Ranked OLBs

There are no “can’t miss” first round players in this year’s outside linebacker class. Joseph, who is the best run defender of the group, might be on the board when the third round begins. It’s just not talent heavy on the top. However, by the time the third, and fourth round rolls around, expect to see the first wave of 8-10 outside linebackers come off the board. After that, teams will be looking for guys who can excel at special teams and guys with speed.

Vosean Joseph is lightning quick going downhill.
Photo: Jerome Miran/USATODAYSports

1. Vosean Joseph, Florida, 6-1/230

With Josh Allen being listed with DE’s, Joseph now sits atop the OLB rankings. Joseph shows plenty of downhill speed and lateral quickness. Has good instincts and trusts his eyes. He’s a powerful and physical ‘backer that makes splash plays. Athletic enough to cover any back.

2. Drue Tranquill, Notre Dame, 6-2/234

Tranquill is one of the good guys. A team player that will do anything asked of him. Can cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield which might get him on the field sooner than later. Will most like be a special teams standout.

3. David Long, Jr., West Virginia, 5-11/227

Much like Joseph, Long is a big play waiting to happen. He loves physical contact and tries to separate ball carriers from the ball. Generally, trusts what he sees, but can be overly aggressive at times.

4. Ben Burr-Kirvan, Washington, 6-0/230

Burr-Kirvan is a tackling machine. Played in the middle at Washington but projects either at weakside linebacker or a hybrid-safety at the next level. He ran a 4.56 at the combine. Will most likely earn his bread-and-butter on special teams to begin with.

5. Blake Cashman, Minnesota, 6-1/237

Cashman turned heads by declaring early for the draft. Known for his football IQ more than his athleticism, his Combine number were very solid. Was a tone-setter for the Gopher’s defense. Has the frame to get bigger.

6. Dakota Allen, Texas Tech, 6-1/232

Dakota Allen became a household name after his stint on season two of Netflix’s Last Chance U, but he also backed it up on the field. During the last two seasons, Allen racked up 162 total tackles and 11.5 tackles for loss in 23 games played. 

7. Tyrel Dodson, Texas A&M, 6-0/237

Dodson is a leader on and off the field: won the team’s community service award. The junior linebacker has 201 career tackles with 18.5 tackles-for-loss and 11 passes defended.

8. Gary Johnson, Texas, 6-0/225

Speed is the name of Johnson’s game. Above average range and athleticism. Can get skinny and shoot gaps. He’s at his best when playing in pursuit.

9. Cody Barton, Utah, 6-2/237

Was new to the linebacker position when he arrived in Utah back in 2016 and has been steadily growing into the position. Has played in 50 games with 23 starts in his four year career. He played inside at Utah, but has enough athleticism to move outside at the next level.

10. Chase Hansen, Utah, 6-3/222

Hansen was unable to workout for Scouts at Utah’s Pro Day, telling scouts that he had played the second half of the 2018 season with a herniated disc in his lower back. How teams view his currently medical situation will have a lot to do with how they evaluate his draft status.
Hansen’s has some of the best pass defense skills in his position group. He had 16 passed defended in his career at Utah. And in today’s pass happy NFL, his skill set would certainly be welcomed.

11. Terez Hall, Missouri, 6-1/230

Team Captain bursting with high motor energy. Loves film study and is assignment sound. Has improved his coverage skills and hands while at Mizzou. Two -year starter with 36 games played.

12. Sione Takitaki, BYU, 6-1/238

Takitaki really upped his game last year, accounting for 119 tackles, 75 of which were solo. Takitaki closes on the ball in a flash and wraps up well. He had a very solid week at the East-West Shrine game. Should make an immediate impact on special teams.

OTHER PLAYERS TO KEEP AN EYE ON:

  1. T.J. Edwards, Wisconsin, 6-0/230
  2. Dre Greenlaw, Arkansas, 5-11/237
  3. B.J. Blunt, McNeese State, 6-1/220
  4. Joe-Giles Harris, Duke, 6-2/234
  5. Luke Gifford, Nebraska, 6-3/243
  6. Quinton Bell, Prairie View A&M, 6-3/238
  7. Koa Farmer, Penn State, 6-1/228
  8. Jordan Jones, Kentucky, 6-2/234
  9. Curtis Bolton, Oklahoma, 6-1/220
  10. Kaden Elliss, Idaho, 6-3/222
  11. Oluwaseun Idowu, Pittsburgh, 6-0/225
  12. Nate Harvey, East Carolina, 6-1/225
  13. Troy Reeder, Delaware, 6-1/235
  14. Deonte Roberts, Rutgers, 6-1/230
  15. Tre Crawford, Alabama-Birmingham, 6-1/228
  16. Khalil Hodge, Buffalo, 6-0/235
  17. Denzil Ware, Jacksonville State, 6-2/240
  18. Charles Wright, Vanderbilt, 6-3/240
  19. Ben Humphreys, Duke, 6-2/225
  20. Nate Hall, Northwestern, 6-2/225
  21. Gunner Scholato, Austin Peay, 6-1/233
  22. E.J. Speed, Tarleton State, 6-3/227

***

Top Five ‘Tweeners: These players were college defensive ends who will be asked to move to linebacker at the next level. They’ll need to prove they have enough athleticism to cover tight ends and running backs at the next level – something they either didn’t do in college, or did in a limited capacity. Individual and private workouts will primarily determine where they are drafted.

  1. Christian Miller, Alabama, 6-3/247
  2. Ben Banogu, Texas Christian, 6-3/250
  3. Sutton Smith, Northern Illinois, 6-0/233
  4. Jamal Davis II, Akron, 6-3/243
  5. Anree Saint-Amour, Georgia Tech, 6-3/247

***

Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

***

The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 PLAYER PROFILE: Clelin Ferrell, DE, Clemson

Clelin Ferrel had an amazing season, winning 2018 Hendricks Award, winning a National Championship and being named a Consensus All-American. He possesses a quick first step and uses his long arms to his advantage. Because of his size, he holds up well against the run and can be an every down player.

***

***

2019 NFL DRAFT: CLELIN FERRELL | DE | CLEMSON

Height: 6-5| Weight: 260 | Class: Junior | 40 time:

Ferrell may be the most polished edge rusher in the draft. He has prototypical size for his position. On passing plays, he shows a springy first step, followed by good dip and lean. He’s really good at using his long arms to create distance and has a nice punch. Ferrell shows a nice rip move and can swim inside. He keeps his head up and reacts quickly, resulting is tackles for loss. He’s a stout run stopper that sets a good edge.

Ferrell doesn’t have the bend of an you’d like to see, but he get round most tackles on pure athleticism. Top tier tackles were able to handle his speed rush and wall him off at times. While he does have a good arsenal of moves, Farrell is far from reaching his ceiling – and good coaching at the next level will only help him get better.

Ferrell was a Consensus All-American in 2018.
Photo: Tigersnet.com

Ferrell was a consensus first-team All-American, earning selections by AP, Sporting News and Walter Camp. He was also named the ACC Defensive Player of the Year; first-team All-ACC; and unanimous first-team AP All-ACC selection and earned AP ACC Defensive Player of the Year.

The junior pass rusher from Richmond, Va., entered bowl season credited with 45 tackles, including 17 for loss; 10.5 sacks; three pass breakups; two forced fumbles; and a fumble recovered for a touchdown. He started every game for the Tigers.

In his three-year career, he had 47.5 tackles for loss, eighth most in Tiger history, and 26 sacks, fifth most in school history.

***

Plus all NEW, updated, Position Rankings: QBWRDEDT, and more.

Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

***

The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

2019 PLAYER PROFILE: Josh Allen, DE/OLB, Kentucky

Josh Allen has enough athleticism to play linebacker in the 3-4. He has enough size to play on the edge in a 4-3. He’s a guy who has worked hard for everything honor he’s earned. While other players were skipping bowl games, Allen wrapped up his senior year by getting 3 sacks and a blocked kick in the Citrus Bowl. He hustles. He’s grown and gotten better each and every year. And no matter what team selects him, they’ll be getting a true football player.

***

***

2019 NFL DRAFT: JOSH ALLEN | DE | KENTUCKY

Height: 6-4| Weight: 252 | Class: Senior | 40 time:

Allen has prototypical size to play end in the NFL. On passing plays, he shows excellent agility, with enough speed and burst to get past the offensive lineman. He has good bend, dip, and lean when taking the corner. Allen has the quickness to split the gap if asked to rush inside. He shows great closing burst when tracking down from the backside. He plays with his eyes, and his reactions without hesitation.

Occasionally, he’ll try to duck blockers instead of shedding them. While he has a good speed move, good rip and chop, he’ll need to add more moves to his arsenal at the next level.

Josh Allen was a 2018 Consensus All-American.
Photo: David Stephenson, AP

Allen finished his career with 220 total tackles (121 solo), 42 tackles for loss, and 31.5 sacks. He caused 11 fumbles, recovered two, and snagged one INT while in Lexington.

In 2018, Allen set a school single-season record with 17 sacks this past season. Overall, he had 21 tackles for loss and forced five fumbles. He recovered two fumbles. Allen also broke up four passes.

***

Team Needs:

AZ | SF | NYJ | OAK | TB | NYG | JAX | DET | BUF | DEN | CIN | GB | MIA | ATL | WASH | CAR | CLE |MIN | TEN | PIT | SEA | BALT | HOU | CHI | PHI | IND | DAL | LAC | KC | NO | LAR | NE

***

The 2019 NFL Draft will be held Thursday-Saturday, April 25-27 in Nashville, Tenn.

« Older Entries