LB JEREMIAH OWUSU-KORAMOAH
Weight: 216 lbs.
Class: Junior (red shirt)
School: Notre Dame
Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah earned the 2020 Butkus Award given to the nation’s top linebacker after recording 62 tackles, 11 for a loss, 1.5 sacks, an interception, three passes defensed, a touchdown, and three forced fumbles in 12 games. He finished his time at Notre Dame with 142 tackles, 24.5 for a loss, seven sacks, one interception, seven passes defended, and five forced fumbles.
Owusu-Koramoah was incredibly productive and was a versatile impact player for the Fightin’ Irish. He was a Bednarik and Nagurski Finalist and earned a spot on the First Team All-ACC. He won countless team awards and landed on ESPN, CBS’, PFF, Sporting News and the Associated Press’ First Team All-American.
He’s a former three-star recruit (247 Sports) out of Hampton, Virginia, where he attended Bethel High School. He was the 17th ranked Virginia recruit and the 456th national recruit in the 2017 recruiting class.
Owusu-Koramoah was recruited to be a safety but was converted to linebacker; he played in a versatile role that had him blitz, be a linebacker, play the slot, and hold the edge. Owusu-Koramoah is the perfect type of modern-day second level defensive player, and he should hear his name called on day one.
He played in only two games in 2018 due to a broken foot that forced him to miss the rest of the season. He was evaluated for a concussion after the loss to Georgia in 2019 but did not miss any time.
He has incredible explosive traits and twitch combined with long arms, solid height, and marginal weight for a traditional linebacker, but Owusu-Koramoah isn’t traditional. He has the hips of a safety with elite short-area quickness, burst, lateral agility, and very good speed. He played the “rover” position for Notre Dame, which means he was used in various roles--he executed them fantastically.
Excellent mental processing when keying & diagnosing the run; this trait is combined with his athletic ability, and he consistently beats running backs to the hole.
His ability to accelerate, change direction, and stop are excellent traits within the box. He scrapes and fills very quickly and plays with good eye discipline. Very good backside pursuit defender who possesses excellent competitive toughness--he will chase and run down players frequently from the backside.
He trusts his keys, reads, reacts and attacks downhill with good tackling mechanics. He has a wide tackle radius, brings very good play strength to the hit, and delivers a powerful blow on ball carriers. Very aggressive with violent hits and excellent closing burst. As an overhang defender, he flies into the box to make punishing hits and assist his linebackers. He is also a very good open-field tackler.
He does a good job shedding tight ends and offensive linemen when he has better positioning. When bigger, more powerful offensive linemen get into his chest, he can be bullied a bit. He’s undersized, but he can still play the run-- he is a three-down linebacker who allows defenses to remain in “base” personnel in passing situations.
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He is a very good blitzing linebacker and has the upside to be used on the edge. He is a twitched up athlete with a very fast first step. He has the flexibility in the hips and ankles and the strength to bend through contact and corner at the top of pass-rushing arcs. His hands aren’t overly refined, but he does have pass-rushing moves and wins with speed/burst. He’s a true hybrid defender, and that’s no disparagement.
Watching him in coverage, you can tell he was a safety. Can flip his hips effortlessly, stay low, and explode upfield with slot receivers. He was trusted as the apex/overhang defender for Notre Dame and consistently covered slots and tight ends in man coverage and in zone.
Has man covering skills due to his athletic ability--technique could improve. He does a solid job in zone coverage, watches the quarterback, and uses his quickness to get to the catchpoint-- he can be disruptive. In zone, would allow out breaking routes to get out of his flat zone responsibilities if I’m nitpicking; this would result in easy, short completions in his area.
Owusu-Koramoah would be an excellent fit with Patrick Graham. He can execute many roles and be disguised in various ways; he can blitz, cover out of the slot, play on the weak side, and help stop opposing rushing attacks.
I am curious to see if Dave Gettleman feels the same way due to his weight and size, but Graham would do so many fun things with a player like Owusu-Koramoah.
Overall, Owusu-Koramoah is an incredible athlete who has an excellent football IQ. He frequently puts himself into position to make plays within the box, he can rush the passer well, and he can cover. There’s a ton to love about this prospect, and his upside is incredible in the modern NFL game.
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