Linebackers always seem hard for me to find. This year is no exception. One of the problems is that I turn linebackers into potential defensive linemen. Turn inside DB’s into linebackers. Finding true top LB’s always seems hard.
Believe that last Saturday, I may have found two really good ones in the Ohio Class of 2019. Thomas Eichenberg from Cleveland St Ignatius and Thomas Kiessling from Cincinnati St Xavier. Both good size – both run downhill – both nasty – both athletic.
Eichenberg, listed 6’3-216, runs well downhill. Reads and reacts to the ball. Good speed to the outside. Finishes tackles. Good hips to drop into coverage. Good speed off the edge. Plays with a nasty attitude. Good open field tackler. Probably best suited for a “will” backer, but could play inside or outside if he continues to get bigger/faster.
Needs to get bigger/stronger/faster. Needs to improve change of direction. Thomas so much more active than he was the first game I saw him. Lots of potential. Will be an MSR top LB in Ohio Class of 2019 this winter.
Kiessling, listed 6’4-231, and looks even bigger. A true “mike” backer. Reads his keys and steps up to take on blocks and stops anything from tackle to tackle. Keeps shoulders square. In this game he stunted some inside. Hard to get a feel for his reaction speed, because he played a yard off the ball.
Needs to continue to work on lateral quickness and overall speed. Needs to improve change of direction. Quickness concerns me, but toughness does not.
With his size and length, Thomas Kiessling may be a better defensive lineman on the major college level. If he gets to 250 next year, he would have the size and length. No question about aggressiveness. Although I have not watched him in a 3 point, he may be an offensive lineman. For now, on the college level, he looks to put his hand down. Either on the outside or inside.
Both players come from top programs. Both are well coached. Both are physical. I am looking forward to how much bigger/stronger/faster and quicker that they develop over the off season.
Thomas Kiessling and Thomas Eichenberg are both major college prospects. Both are MSR top guys.