Performances like the one Ryan Carrethers of Arkansas State turned in last week are the sort that make little-known NFL draft prospects anything but obscure.
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Carrethers made 16 tackles in a loss to Louisiana-Lafayette. For a linebacker or a safety, that would be a high total, but not unheard of. For a 330-pound defensive tackle, it's positively outrageous. Carrethers (6-foot-2, 330 pounds) was credited with six solo stops and 10 assists for the Red Wolves. For an interior defensive lineman, 16 tackles typically represents a month or more of production.
By comparison, Tennessee nose guard Daniel McCullers, one of the nation's most highly regarded draft prospects at the position, has made 24 tackles in his eight games this season. McCullers, of course, has faced far tougher competition in the SEC, but at any level of play, tackles can be hard to come by for the thankless job of stuffing gaps in the interior of the offensive line.
Carrethers is a fifth-year senior and a candidate for the Bednarik Award and the Outland Trophy. For the season, he has 54 tackles, which ranks second on the team, with five tackles for loss and 3.5 sacks. He has been projected as a mid-round draft pick, but his production this season can't help but improve his standing.