Analysis and information on Notre Dame linebacker prospect Jaylen Sneed
JAYLEN SNEED PROFILE
Hometown: Hilton Head, S.C.
High School: Hilton Head
IB Grade: 4.0 (Top 100 caliber prospect)
Upside Grade: 5.0
Offers: Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida, Texas, Oregon, Florida State, USC, Michigan, Auburn, North Carolina, Louisville, Tennessee, Arkansas, South Carolina, Cincinnati, West Virginia, Virginia, Virginia Tech, Michigan State, Kentucky, Georgia Tech, Indiana, Iowa State, Kansas State, Duke, Wake Forest, Syracuse, UCF
Recruited By: Marcus Freeman
Rivals: 4-star - No. 63 overall - No. 8 outside linebacker
247Sports: 4-star - No. 97 overall - No. 7 outside linebacker
ESPN: 4-star - No. 123 overall - No. 14 outside linebacker
Composite: 4-star - No. 79 overall - No. 5 outside linebacker
Sneed isn’t the biggest linebacker, checking in at 6-2 and 215 pounds, but his length is impressive and he has plenty of room to fill out that frame. He shows a strong lower body and the potential to add a good 10-15 more pounds, which will only enhance his power and explosiveness.
What makes him a top prospect at this point is his athleticism and upside. Sneed is an extremely explosive athlete, one with elite burst, impressive lateral quickness and good speed. Much like former Notre Dame linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Sneed likely won’t blow you away with an elite 40-yard dash time, but his initial burst, short-area quickness, change of direction and flexibility makes him play with exceptional speed.
Sneed has the kind of foot quickness and downhill explosiveness that should allow him to eventually develop into an impactful inside linebacker. His range, length and instincts also lend to him being an effective player in space. Sneed is also an outstanding edge rusher thanks to the aforementioned initial burst I talked about and ability to chew up a lot of ground in a hurry.
The Hilton Head star shows a good feel for the game, possessing quick reaction skills and the ability to diagnose between run and pass relatively quickly. At times he doesn’t take the best angles, but that can certainly be improved. He’s a bit of a free-lancer, which needs to be harnessed a bit, and he played defensive end as a junior, so there’s plenty of technique work needed with Sneed, but the tools are truly outstanding.
What I don’t know right now is if Sneed has the coverage instincts to play as a true rover. It’s not that I doubt that he has them, but I just haven’t seen enough of him in coverage on film to really get a feel for how well he’ll perform with that part of the game. Rover is not, however, the ideal position for him, so this doesn’t really impact his grade much. At the very least Sneed projects to be a quality zone defender as an inside linebacker, but the athleticism and length gives him the potential to eventually develop into an impact cover player at inside linebacker.
5.0 - Elite player
4.5 - All-American caliber player
4.0 - Multi-year starter
3.5 - Key role player / Late career-starter
3.0 - Backup
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