It’s hard to imagine the tall, lean Pough as a 5-foot-8 wide receiver, but that’s exactly where he was his first two years of high school. By the time his senior year arrived, he was an all-state linebacker in South Carolina with offers to walk on multiple FBS programs. But he decided Howard was the best place for him to be, and his father Sam joined him as a wide receivers coach and video coordinator through the 2011 season. Five years later, “Kiwi” one of the most productive linebackers at any level of college football and has the athleticism to be a Will or Sam ‘backer at the next level.
Pough expected to start as a true freshman, but was forced to redshirt to get his academics in order. He started 10 games in 2009 (57 tackles, 12.5 tackles for loss, interception) and then earned first-team All-MEAC honors after leading the Football Championship Subdivision with 28.5 tackles for loss, tying for fifth with four fumbles, and tying for 10th with 10.5 sacks (he also had 100 total tackles on the year). Pough started every game and was first-team all-conference for the second straight season in 2011, also grabbing third-team AP FCS All-American accolades by racking up 120 tackles, 21 for loss (ranking 8th in the FCS), three sacks and 11 quarterback hurries. As a senior, Pough registered 72 tackles (10 for loss), and 3.5 sacks, while breaking up 4 passes. He finished up his career as the FCS all time record leader for tackles for loss.
Athletic chase linebacker with speed to close on quarterbacks in the pocket and running backs from the backside. Hustles to track down ballcarriers from across the formation, and has the length and change of direction skills to grab ballcarriers after engaging a lineman in a different gap. Usually finds the ball on misdirection plays. Brings bad intentions in his tackle attempts; drives targets back by dropping his hips and keeping his feet moving and straight-on meetings and throws down any ballcarrier in his path. Stays true to his containment responsibility and sheds blocks of FCS tight ends and tackles adeptly with strong hands and quickness. Willing to take on blockers in the hole or throw his body into tackles on the edge to help others make the play. Tosses aside running backs with strong hands when rushing the quarterback. Should be an effective open-lane blitzer due to his speed and flexibility to turn the corner or move around traffic in the pocket. Good movement skills in coverage, willing to lay the wood on short crossers when playing zone. Weaves his way through traffic with quick feet.
Presents a leaner build. Many of his plays occur when he’s unblocked; must prove he possesses the strength at the point of attack to take on NFL linemen if he expects to win one-on-one battles on blitzes or hold up against the run on the edge. Can also struggle to bring down stronger ballcarriers in the open field. Often leaves his feet before making the tackle, his speed and length make him effective bringing down FCS ballcarriers but he might lose those battles versus pro backs.
Pough is a tackles-for-loss machine, using his length and speed to chase ballcarriers from behind, as well as attitude to attack them in the hole. His tall, lean build and movement skills could make him a mid-round pick for teams looking for a coverage ‘backer or potential blitzing threat on the weak or strong sides of the formation.
Future Hall of Famer
A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.