Prepped in Tennessee, where he played linebacker and running back. Played 12 games as a true freshman in 2010 and recorded 31 tackles, one-half for loss and 1.5 sacks with an interception and a forced fumble. Started 11-of-12 games played at weakside linebacker in '11 and was team's leading tackler -- produced 108-6-19.5 with four pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble. Was benched for the opening series against Western Michigan -- said then-defensive coordinator: "For lack of a better way of saying it, we all have commitments that we have to make and he just didn't completely finish his commitment that he had to do." Kneed a Northwestern player in the groin and was suspended for the Indiana contest. Started 7-of-9 games played in '12 (nursed an ankle injury in October and did not start against Wisconsin and Michigan) and collected 59-9.5-2.5 with a pass breakup and a forced fumble before suffering a season-ending injury -- pectoral muscle separated from his right shoulder, requiring surgery which sidelined him for '13 spring practice. Was Illinois' leading tackler in the fall, amassing 119-15-5 with four pass breakups, an interception and a forced fumble in 12 starts. Team captain.
Nice arm length for his size. Athletic with good feet. Quick to shoot gaps. Natural bender who moves very well laterally. Excellent range -- thrives in pursuit. Productive tackler who flashes pop on contact. Has special-teams experience. Football smart. Good weight-room work ethic. Three-year starter. Was a 21-year-old senior.
Safety size. Shoddy instincts and eye discipline. Does not play a big mans game -- skirts blocks instead of taking on with force. Unschooled to blocking schemes. Leaky contain player. Loses gap integrity, takes some inaccurate angles and runs himself out of position to make plays. Effectiveness wanes in traffic. Struggles in man coverage and zone awareness is limited. Intermittent intensity and urgency. Uneven performance. Alarmingly disappointing at the combine, raising questions about his conditioning and work ethic: totaled just 16 bench-press reps, broad jumped 8 feet, 11 inches, vertical jumped 31 inches, recorded a 7.77-second 3-cone drill, recorded a 4.56-second short shuttle and ran a 12.38-second 60-yard shuttle -- all of which ranked at or near the bottom of linebackers.
Round 7-Priority free agent
Undersized, athletic, finesse, inconsistent Will linebacker who needs to be kept clean to be effective. Small frame, deficient instincts and soft run defense likely relegate him to a backup role, and he will have to excel on special teams.