Name: David Long
SCHOOL: West Virginia
CONFERENCE: Big 12
CLASS: RS Junior
JERSEY: No. 11
RECRUITMENT RATING: 3-star
WT: 225 lbs
Football Intelligence –Would be in best interests to protect him from contain role, he’s best left to flow freely. Aggressive charges through gaps can lead to tunnel vision. Not quite as confident when backs have a two-way go, slows down his press into the POA.
Tackling –Closing burst is excellent and does well to transition from an aggressive push to wrap and roll finisher. Consistently gets himself around the lower half of ball carriers and is persistent to cut them down, even despite lack of prototypical length.
Block Shedding –Hands are pretty active and show an understanding of how to uncover his chest and continue in pursuit. With that said, his lack of size and length are problematic against more well postured blockers and he can get stuck on bodies as a result.
Competitive Toughness –Tremendous effort in pursuit to rally to the football. Punches up in weight class with his ability to stand up linemen in one on one situations, but really squatting and holding before bench pressing off his chest isn’t a strength.
Lateral Mobility –Has effective short area quickness when looking to flash across the face of a blocker. Space mobility is hindered by sub-par hip hinge to get depth in zone coverage or flip open into the sideline as a pursuit player.
Coverage Skills –Has some effective reps in shallow areas. Doesn’t have a great deal of anticipation to feel routes curling around his zone. Hip mobility doesn’t provide a high level of range, although his immediate vicinity quickness can allow him to aggressively attack the ball on close targets.
Gap Shooting Ability –Tremendous burst and acceleration through gaps to get into the mesh point. Lateral redirection skills after uncovering allow for continued harassment of the ball. Has clean rip through and plays low to the ground to press through contact.
Feet/Change of Direction –Rapid fire steps help build up momentum quickly, even in short areas. Ability to collect himself and pinball his momentum another direction is helpful to dart through the box and pick his way to the ball carrier.
Flexibility –Has yet to show a lot of dynamic hip hinge in any direction, instead plays best when aligned through his hips and pads. Leverage comes naturally but cornering skills aren’t present as a rusher, he relies on soft angles or linear charges to get pressure.
First Step Quickness –Acceleration through steps two, three and four are outstanding, but his first step doesn’t gather a lot of ground and isn’t overly explosive. He’s more build-up speed, although with his foot quickness he doesn’t need much of a runway to get himself started.
BEST TRAIT – Gap Shooting Ability
WORST TRAIT – Coverage Skills
BEST FILM – Oklahoma State (2017)
WORST FILM – Oklahoma (2018)
RED FLAGS – None
David Long is a tricky projection, but his nose for the football warrants trying to carve him a role on the field. Long has terrific short area quickness and anticipation to shoot gaps off the second level. His lack of length and anchor do flash as problem areas, which can be restrictive to an every down role. Long’s best fit is likely as a nickel defender, where he can be implemented against lighter personnel and be granted the space to flow freely to the football and use his quickness.
PROS: Quick processor who is able to attack because of his quick reads. At his best when he’s able to attack the line of scrimmage rather that sideline to sideline. Takes on blocks with low base and keeping his outside arms free. Strong filler at line of scrimmage who can alter the course of running plays. Can slice through blockers with shorter frame. Can bring some pop when getting downhill. Has a true nose for the ball. Reads pullers well and is able to bend around blockers to make the play. High effort player who is always in pursuit. Quick plugger who can be a weapon in how he attacks downhill. Has the athleticism to move laterally. When he’s playing in space with clear reads he can flashes of dominance. Physical re-routes in pass coverage.
CONS: Can struggle to scrape and force with speed. Though he does a good job of getting pieces of ball carrier, he isn’t a sound tackler who generally will give ground when tackling. Brings a strong initial pop but will stop running his feet far too often. Can struggle with block destruction, especially when scraping towards the sideline. Takes questionable angles and paths to the ball, and struggles when needing to avoid a blocker on his way to the ball. Can get lost in pass coverage, and can lunge and whiff on re-routes.