Photo: Prep Redzone

Posted On: 03/25/21 12:58 PM

Good play at the linebacker position requires a unique athletic skill set, precise instincts, and a willingness to lay it all on the line.  Take a look at 5 of the best in Iowa’s 8-Player C/O 2022 and their distinctive qualities to find out what makes these linebackers verified tackling machines.  

Jared Hoodjer Jared Hoodjer 6'2" | LB Janesville | 2022 IA , Janesville, hudl, Twitter

MLB, 6’2, 175

Hoodjer is elite when it comes to diagnosing plays and getting to the ball as efficiently as possible; he does this down after down with second to none athleticism and violence.  Hoodjer knows when to fight underneath or scrape over the top of blocks and is especially talented at using footwork and bend to avoid less athletic blockers.  When in confined space and has no choice but to go through an Offensive Lineman he does just that.  Hoodjer jars blockers with savage hands, squeezes them away, and peaks to disengage to the correct side.  Hoodjer is extremely physical and can destroy blocks to get to the ball on time.  As Hoodjer is closing in on ball carriers he squares them up and demolishes opponents with textbook tackling mechanics.  Opponents simply don’t break his tackles or pick up yards after contact.  When plays go off-tackle Hoodjer takes excellent angles and is just as violent at the point of attack.  He is very active on passing downs, too.  He has a knack for blitzing and spying, especially if he is a free player in man coverage, and timing his attack.  Quarterbacks do not stand a chance here.

Carson Tenold, Don Bosco, hudl, Twitter

LB, 6’1, 190

Tenold has a high football IQ as he recognises what is going on at the snap and shows no hesitation in getting to his assignment.  He is equally effective in the box and off-tackle.  When operating in the box Tenold shows an impressive ability to move laterally and stay square as he flows downhill playside or scrapes over the top backside.  He has fast hands that he uses to defeat blocks on the run.  Tenold strikes with leverage if a blocker squares him up or knocks hands away if a blocker is chasing.  He successfully keeps opponents at bay and stays clean on his way to make tackles.  When plays go outside Tenold showcases sideline to sideline speed and first-rate inside leverage.  His angle’s prevent cutbacks and put him in position to get to the ball as quickly as possible to limit gains.  Tenold cuts plays off frontside and has the speed to chase plays down backside while feathering and staying disciplined.  As Tenold approaches ball carriers he does a great job of breaking down and taking a ball carrier’s surface area; he doesn’t miss, even in the open field.  Tenold’s hits shake his opponents and halt their momentum.

Eddie Burgess Eddie Burgess ATH State IA , Montezuma, hudl, Twitter

OLB, 6’4, 230

Burgess is an absolute freight train of a Linebacker and wrecks plays on the defensive side of the ball.  He is incredibly athletic for his size and does such a good job of playing within his frame.  At the snap Burgess takes his read step and goes; he is destructive in the box and wreaks havoc at the line of scrimmage and in the backfield.  His downhill movement is explosive and he has a nose for the ball.  Burgess is virtually unblockable and uses superior strength and leverage to get off of and run through Offensive Linemen.  He is very quick to and through his gap and often gets home untouched.  If a blocker gets in his way he runs through them, dips by them, or strikes them as he passes.  Burgess does an impressive job of keeping ball carriers in front of him and is a technician as he closes in.  If a ball carrier is moving laterally he crushes them.  If they are moving downhill Burgess showcases excellent technique.  He sinks his hips to tackle through the thighs and keeps his feet moving as he compresses legs and rolls.  Burgess is known for his Quarterback play, but there is great potential for a big future on defense too.

Cade Tenold Cade Tenold IA , Don Bosco, hudl, Twitter

OLB, 6’2, 190

Tenold is a monster on the edge and currently plays with his hand in the dirt, but could easily be just as dominant in a two-point stance operating in space.  He showcases plenty of elite athletic ability and could seamlessly adjust to a conventional Linebacker role.  Tenold is strong and violent at the point of attack.  He impressively places hands at the snap and fights quickly to get extension.  Tenold knows how to shock, peek, and shed.  The block destruction he achieves is dominant and he throws blockers away quickly to be able to get to the ball and rack up tackles.  Tenold owns the edge and cuts plays off to his side of the ball.  Blocks can’t flow outside of him and he is exceedingly difficult to reach block because he plays square to the field and has remarkable lateral quickness.  When action goes away he gets flat and pursues; he possesses the speed to chase and get home.  Tenold keeps active feet and can redirect or change direction without slowing down.  His speed  rush is outstanding.  Tenold gets off the ball rapidly, attacks the hip, bends, and gets home.  He reacts instantaneously and is very disciplined.

Joe Kauffman, CAM, hudl, Twitter

OLB, 6’0, 180

Kauffman is so twitchy and shifty in his downhill movement as he diagnoses plays and flies into windows; he looks ready to react to anything at all times.  He does an outstanding job of navigating the traffic of blockers as he makes his way to the ball.  Kauffman is just too quick and mobile for Offensive Linemen to get hands on and he maneuvers around them with ease.  When he meets ball carriers in a gap he launches right through them with impressive technique.  He loads up as he approaches and then explodes through contact.  Oftentimes, especially at the high school level, you have big hitters and secure tacklers, but Kauffman is both.  There is no escaping his clutch as he sinks his hooks, runs his feet through contact, and upends his opponents.  When Kauffman isn’t meeting a ball carrier at the line of scrimmage he is able to get flat and keep everything in front of him.  He stays square and redirects to the play.  Kauffman is under control and maximizes his opportunities to be a factor on every down.  Kauffman plays the position violently and has the range to drop the hammer from anywhere on the field.