SouthernCaliforniaPreps.com breaks down all of the 2012 National Signing Day action from the region. Read on to find out why UCLA scored big with its backyard recruiting class, which includes five-star defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy.[details]
The Good: An ideal 3-4 outside linebacker prospect who plays with great instincts and read-and-react skills at the line of scrimmage. Is a fluid athlete in his drop and has the ability to stay with tight ends in man coverage. Is a polished blitzer with the power to bull rush defenders and the lateral ability to slip blocks. A physical tackler who breaks down well in the hole and can fill gaps inside. The Bad: Has only one year of starting experience and was surrounded by elite talent at USC. Needs to do a better job taking on blocks in the hole and using his hands to shed once he is engaged.
Positives: Very good size and growth potential. Instinctive. Gives maximum effort and energy. Hustler. Plays with intensity and can be disruptive. Is physical at the line. Presses off blocks and pressures the passer. Creative defensive playmaker. Positional flexible - played DE and OLB spots and is intelligent enough to play any linebacker spot. Intriguing upside as a pass rusher - excellent get-off confirmed by superb 10-yard times (1.49) at the Combine. Weight-room warrior. Selfless team player with special-teams ability. Showed he could drop into coverage effectively at the Senior Bowl. Demonstrated nice lateral movement at the Combine by impressing in the short shuttle. Has NFL pedigree - football is in his blood. Negatives: Only a one-year starter. Average career production. Does not have extensive experience playing in reverse and dropping into coverage. Hand use is raw. Needs to learn how to set blockers up and execute a full repertoire of pass-rush moves. Average sack totals. Summary: Walked on at the most talent-laden program in the country, earned a scholarship and became an impact player by his senior year. Steadily improved his stock in his final year and continued his postseason ascent at the Senior Bowl and the Combine, where he worked out and interviewed exceptionally well. A late bloomer with major upside as a 3-4 rush linebacker. Will require some patience, but his personal history and bloodlines suggest he will reach his potential. Grade: First-round talent.