On Tuesday evening, Mesquite (TX) Horn linebacker DJ Green put in a phone call to the Baylor coaching staff to inform them of his intentions of becoming a Bear.
The 6-2, 215-pound linebacker has been flying somewhat under the radar on the Texas recruiting scene, as Green held only one offer prior to his commitment -- from SMU. However, Green was also receiving interest from schools such as Iowa State, Arkansas, Kansas, and Washington and has the profile of a player who could have significantly increased his offer list with some strong performances at summer camps.
A consensus three-star prospect by the recruiting services, Green will bring some four-star type of attributes to the table for the Bears as the seventh commitment in the 2013 class.
I always seem to be around the football. It could be in my DNA to be near the ball, and I make tackles. They may not be the prettiest, but I just do it. My hitting ability and power is what I think they [college coaches] like most about me.
A review of the film confirms Green's self-assessment -- he strikes with his hands to hit and separate from offensive lineman as well as any 2013 linebacker in the state of Texas. In fact, there are college linebackers who struggle with that task more than Green did as a high school junior. The explosion through his hips and hand placement would make many linemen jealous.
Currently projected as a pure middle linebacker, Green fills interior gaps with reckless abandon and without false steps -- he comes downhill in a hurry, maximizing what is only adequate speed.
The concern is that he may be guessing at times instead of reading and reacting, so he may at times be susceptible to play-action passes or misdirection runs. The Horn product also appears to be a two-down linebacker now, as there is no film evidence of him dropping into coverage -- it may simply be something that he doesn't do well enough to put on a highlight or just doesn't do often at all.
It would also be nice to see more of Green's change of direction ability, as it isn’t clear how fluid he is, which would impact how well he can break down in space and transition in coverage. Going back to his ability to fill gaps, though, he can explode well enough through his hips to suggest some of that necessary flexibility.
As Art Briles continues with his efforts building the Baylor program into a Big 12 contender, the ideal is to land more defenders like 2010 commit Ahmad Dixon, already one of the top hybrid safety/linebackers in the conference, and 2012 signee Brian Nance, an athletic linebacker from Euless (TX) Trinity who was an Army All-American.
Until that begins to happen on a consistent basis, however, defensive coordinator Phil Bennett is well-served by quickly identifying and securing commitments from players like Green, who lack the laundry list of ideal attributes, but have several high-level skills, then developing those players in the same manner as Gary Patterson has done at TCU for years.
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