NAME: Ryan Connelly
JERSEY: No. 43
RECRUITMENT RATING: Not Available
D.O.B.: Not Available
PROS: Ryan Connelly works best as the overhang defender, taking advantage of a plug backer to force runs to spill outside, where good angles carry him into the pathway of the ball. Will scrape over top of the LOS effectively and consistently meets ball carriers at or behind the line in between the numbers. Has a fair amount of lean in an effort to sustain momentum and carry speed through cornering in pursuit. Has shown the ability to pop the pads on the sideline and will make ball carriers think twice about absorbing a second hit. Work as a pass defender has offered some promising glimpses, flexed out wide against Michigan RB Chris Evans (#12) on more than one occasion last season and successfully defended all routes targeted. Shows effective communication between the hashes as a zone defender, particularly when routes flash across his face.
CONS:Struggles with breaking down and squaring up tackles, overran several opportunities against a hobbled J.T. Barrett in the 2017 Big Ten Championship Game, also missing an alarming number of tackles against Michigan and Northwestern. Smooth but non-explosive athlete who lacks the power or twitch to win reps with suddenness immediately out of read steps. Has a poor habit of trying to spin out of blocks and turning back to the ball carrier, limiting effectiveness when tasked with shedding and attempting to plug gaps. Does not show a lot of pop in the hands as a means of jolting blockers and holding ground if faced with climbing interior OL.
– Kyle Crabbs