DEs comin' y'all.
Elliot City (MD) Howard HS defensive end Winston DeLattiboudere committed to Minnesota last night, becoming the 24th member of Jerry Kill's 2015 class. Winston is a 3 star prospect according to 247Sports' Industry Composite, opting for the Gophers over listed offers from Idaho and Buffalo. He is the second defensive line recruit of the cycle, and 4th visitor from last weekend to commit -- joining Dior Johnson, Mose Hall and Rashad Still. DeLattiboudere was named by the Baltimore Sun as the All-Metro Defensive Player of the Year, finishing with over 100 tackles, 42 TFLs and 17.5 sacks. He did this, mind you, despite having pneumonia during Howard's playoff run and just turning 17 years old last week. Yep, he was almost two years younger than everyone on the field and still had a prolific season.
Winston with Gopher247's Kyle Goblirsch ($):
"I loved it. Minneapolis is a beautiful city. Reminded me a lot of Maryland but with an innovated twist. The school is awesome."
Coaches view on Winston from his Baltimore Sun DPOY article:
"He's a character," Howard coach Bruce Strunk said. "That's his personality. He never does anything half speed, whether on the field or working out or doing interviews. One of the strengths of our defense is his leadership on the field. He's always fired up, ready to go and I think that stuff's contagious."
At 6 feet 3, 215 pounds, DeLattiboudere blasted off the edge and didn't stop until he met the opposing quarterback or the ball carrier. He made 101 tackles, including 42 for a loss. He also had 17.5 sacks and 38 quarterback hurries.
"The kid will chase plays down and also disrupt them before they get going," Hammond coach Justin Carey said, "and also he's patient, the way he plays the run and the pass. I can tell he's studied the game and he's a pretty smart kid who knows how to dissect and bring down the opponents' offenses. There's certain things you can't teach, and he has the 'it' factor."
(Likely Fraudulent) Measurables**
** The section title is a bit. It's intentionally facetious comment on how recruiting sites (and even some college coaches) notoriously exaggerate traditional combine measures -- especially the 40. No offense is meant.
Weight: 216-220 lbs.
Fake 40 Time: 4.78s
Big 4 Ratings:
This is an easy one. Winston has a very similar frame and playing style to current Gopher Alex Keith. Both were undersized defensive ends who could bend around the edge and generate pressure in high school.
Mose Hall filled the need for more size at the defensive end spot, though primarily as a run stuffer. WD is exactly the opposite: a player who can rush the pocket and cause disruption in the backfield because of his first step quickness, primarily on passing downs. Winston has an explosive first step which allows him to generate power well beyond his size on the bull rush and lets him beat offensive linemen when he rushes upfield. Winston also shows an ability to play against the run, though mostly as a backfield penetrator who reads run while rushing the pocket. In the past, Coach Claeys and Phelps have shown a willingness to not just play but start lighter defensive ends like Keith or Michael Amaefula, though that may be changing with a stated desire from Kill that the team needs to get bigger along the defensive line. At a minimum, Winston should serve as a pass rushing specialist, and if he sees a late growth spurt -- he only just turned 17 a few days ago -- he could develop into an all-purpose end for the Gophers.
Impact on Other Prospects?
An offer to and commitment from WD likely has no bearing on Jamal Milan's leanings whatsoever, since they're very different players and the staff had 4 scholarships remaining with 2 spots dedicated to specific positions (outside linebacker and defensive tackle).
Odds and Ends
As is often the case, there are a few "hows?" to be asked regarding Winston's recruitment. Notably, how did the DPOY from a talent rich area with eye popping stats and great film not have any Power5 offers? Also, since Winston is likely still growing -- he was only 16 during the regular season -- how do major college coaches not account for that when they're looking for prospects?
Once again, this could be a case of recruiters brushing off a 15 year old junior end who weighed 195 lbs. and didn't produce much in the accelerated time frame of modern football recruiting. Low and behold, the kid has a great senior year, which the Minnesota staff evaluates as thoroughly as anyone. Since this staff places a premium on senior film, they're able to pick up on these type of late risers (like Bryce Witham, Mose Hall or Melvin Holland) when many staffs have already moved on to 2016 recruiting.