A true junior from Danville, VA, Tremaine Edmunds looks more like a defensive end than he does a middle linebacker. At 6’5, 250 lbs, this is a player that certainly passes the eyeball test; but after having seen Tech play twice in September I can tell you with confidence that doesn’t just look the part.
No, Edmunds is an impressive athletic specimen and he pairs that with a nose for playing forward into the line of scrimmage as a run defender.
Against Clemson last week, Tremaine Edmunds was able to show some of the versatility which will make him an attractive target whenever he decides to take part in the NFL Draft process. I was a fan of how the Hokies worked Edmunds around the defensive set, which allowed him to showcase his abilities in a number of ways.
There were a number of reps where Edmunds was tasked with stepping up and setting the edge in the run game. In these situations, Edmunds did well to attack with his hands and work for favorable body positioning. By turning into the mesh point, Edmunds effectively walled off the boundary and forced the backs to turn up into pursuit. Why is this relevant? Because if Edmunds can execute here, it’s going to make him a universal prospect. He could play “MIKE” for some teams, “SAM” for others.
As a traditional “MIKE”, Edmunds would be tasked with playing sideline to sideline. Should he be asked to play “SAM”, there are more opportunities to get in the face of opponents at the line of scrimmage; plus more stress as a pass/zone defender as well.
After eclipsing 100 total tackles as a true sophomore, Edmunds is well on his way again this year: the Hokies team bio credits him with 42 total tackles through the team’s first 5 games. But this one in particular caught my eye from the box at Lane Stadium:
Tremaine Edmunds is a football player, man. Shuts Kelly Bryant down right away on a key third down. pic.twitter.com/dVU8NJpvlq
— Riley Auman (@junioraumanac) October 1, 2017
Where to start? Edmunds does well to stay patient at the markers. This was a key play early in the 4th QTR as the Hokies tried to press back into the game. On 3rd and 4, it’s paramount to stay on your landmark as a shallow defender: you can get attacked by the run or the pass. The Tigers were banking on Edmunds (as the isolated defender) not making this tackle on QB Bryant, who had torched the team on the ground.
Check out Edmunds’ eyes on this play. He keys Bryant the entire time. If eyeballs swing left to look at the route in his area, Edmunds likely drifts off his spot and is out of position.
Of course, the finish needs little commentary. Great angle to step down and squeeze the ball and reactive quickness to run the feet and wrap up to finish the play.
Edmunds will most certainly be regarded as a top prospect at the linebacker position this winter. Whether or not he decides to enter in the NFL Draft? That’s a story for another day. But in the meantime, flip on a Hokies game in the coming weeks and enjoy some of the best linebacker play you can find anywhere in the country on Saturdays.