The Huskies defense in recent memory has placed a huge value and a bulk of its tackling opportunities on the middle-linebacker position. Ben Burr-Kervin was the leader of the defense and an All-American as a senior in 2018 because of his ability to punish ball-carriers.
Bethel High School's Will Latu fits the mold of a quick-footed defender who thrives on contact. He has a low center of gravity which he uses to stop momentum and move ball-carriers backwards.
Latu is an SI All-American candidate.
John Garcia, SI director of football recruiting, breaks down the linebacker's game.
Prospect: Will Latu
Status: SI All-American candidate
Vitals: 6-foot-2, 220 pounds
Position: Running back/outside linebacker/strong safety
School: Bethel, Spanaway (Wash.)
Committed to: Washington
Projected position: Latu currently plays running back and “the edge," but projects as an off-ball linebacker in college.
Frame: He has the ideal-looking frame with defined torso and abdomen. Good length in arms and athletic-looking lower half.
Athleticism: Latu possesses excellent play strength on both sides of the ball. As a running back, his strength and power are apparent through his ability to break tackles and gain yards after contact. He also has solid agility and quickness. Defensively, Latu has good explosiveness to close and finish plays, especially when driving on underneath routes.
Instincts: Displays good ball skills and concentration. Decisive runner who instinctively lowers pad level on contact. Latu is capable of holding up at the point of attack and setting the edge. He flashes an arm-over and swipe move to escape and shed blocks, along with range.
Polish: Has college-level size and frame right now. Capable of being physically ready to play at the next level early in his career. Latu will need to find a home in a defensive scheme and improve his man-to-man coverage skills to ensure he can stay on the field for an entire series.
Bottom line: A versatile prospect who plays with toughness, strength, awareness and fair play speed. Latu projects as an outside linebacker on the strong side (Sam) where his toughness, power and ability to play over a tight end will allow him to make a good contribution to a defense. It also would not be surprising to see him eventually kick inside to Mike or a Will/weakside inside linebacker in a 3-4 defense.