Any time I see that a linebacker is also a wide receiver on offense, it’s a check mark in the positive section for me as an evaluator. I don’t care about how a future linebacker runs routes. I care that he is an athlete and playing wide receiver usually equates to a kid being a pretty good athlete.
I definitely like how Oregon commit Darrian Franklin plays wide receiver for his high school team, but I like even more how he pursues to the football as a linebacker. The Ducks are getting a good prospect for their front seven.
Franklin is a very good athlete that has solid speed. He can close in a hurry. He doesn’t have a massive frame, but should have no issue at getting close to the 225 mark while at Oregon and be plenty big enough during his college career.
He is a downhill player that is great in pursuit. He always is attacking. It allows him to make a ton of tackles for loss and knife into the backfield. There are some plays where I’d like to see him be more patient because I think he can be going forward at times when he should be going lateral and gets away with it now, but probably won’t at the college level. I wouldn’t want to take away his aggressiveness, though, so it’s something I would proceed with caution while working with him.
He runs around blocks more than takes them on, but his speed allows him to undercut a lot of plays. I think if he recognizes blocks a little quicker he can beat a lot of linemen to the spot. When he arrives, he is a solid tackler. He really excels at bringing players down in the open field.
He is a very good blitzer and is probably one of the stronger ones that I have seen do it from depth as a linebacker recruit. He finds the crease in the blocking and accelerates quickly through it to get to the quarterback.
He shows he is a capable of covering running backs well in man coverage and of spying the quarterback, but his high school team appeared to blitz him a lot more than have him actually drop. It’s tough to blame them because he showed a knack for doing it really well.
He is definitely an outside backer in Oregon’s scheme. I think he can really thrive out in space.
I don’t know how quite big he is going to be, but he can run and be a sideline to sideline type of player. I’m sure he will spend some time working in a rotation like many of Oregon’s young defenders before emerging as a starter and a very good one for the Ducks.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).