Detroit Country Day High School is a well-known producer of athletic talent for colleges across the country (alums include basketball stars Chris Webber and Shane Battier), and Demens was rated one the top 25 linebackers in the nation out of that program by recruiting services – so Michigan fans expected him to be an impact player early for a defense that was lacking in sturdiness during Rich Rodriguez’s time in Ann Arbor. Though he wasn’t an elite player for the Wolverines to start his career, he’s shown enough heading into the 2012 season that he could become one of the better linebackers in the conference with a solid senior year – and project as an NFL contributor.
Demens redshirted in 2008, and then played in all 12 games on special teams the following season (making seven tackles). But halfway through his sophomore season, he stepped into a starting role in the middle, lining up with the ones for the final seven games and finishing third on the team with 82 stops (including 13 against Mississippi State in the Gator Bowl). Demens got the call for all 13 games in 2011, receiving honorable mention All-Big Ten notice from league coaches after leading the Wolverines with 94 tackles (five for loss, three sacks).
Versatile player who starts inside but can also play either outside linebacker spot due to his athleticism and instincts. Thick in the lower body, which helps him play with leverage against the run. Plays with a low pad level and good bend, gets low to take on guards and fullbacks and hold his ground. Strong upper body, as well, to securely wrap up ballcarriers in the box. Punches and extends his arms to stay off lineman blocks, can move laterally to stand up backs in the hole. Reads his keys well to get into position to make a play. Three-down player with enough speed and physical nature to handle tight ends off the line, gives effort stay with them down the seasm to affect the receiver’s vision. Moves well enough in zone to follow the quarterback’s eyes and get to the ball.
Average height and pure straight-line speed for inside linebackers. Solid contributor, not really a big playmaker at the college level. Change of direction ability is not elite, man coverage outside the five-yard area against NFL receivers in the middle might be challenging for him. Flashes hands for the interception but hasn’t had many opportunities to prove their reliability.
Though by no means a dominant linebacker, Demens’ athleticism and the toughness of which he learned to take advantage playing for famous Detroit Country Day High School has paid off on special teams and in the middle for the Wolverines. NFL teams looking for a solid inside linebacker with the movement to handle some coverage responsibilities and contribute on coverage units could snap him up in the middle rounds of the 2013 draft.
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.