Year: RS Freshman
Hometown: Richmond, VA
Another day, another walk-on LB.
In a 3-4 defense, you need a lot of LBs. The Hoos will have 4 starting LBs and, of course, they will also have the backups. There will likely be injuries, there may be other reasons why players miss time (suspensions, ejections, etc). There may also be certain guys who are situational substitutes (pass rushers, for example). The Hoos currently have 18 LBs on the roster, though 7 of those are incoming freshmen. That leaves 11 LBs competing for 8 spots on the 2-deep. Of those 11, 3 are walk-ons, leaving just 8 scholarship LBs. (Matt Terrell, a freshman OLB who enrolled in January and participated in spring practice, could probably be included in the mix as well.)
As the numbers work out, there is potential for either an incoming freshman or a walk-on to play. Since none of the freshmen are obvious candidates to play early (other than, perhaps, Terrell), it seems likely that one of the walk-ons will play. There are 5 scholarship ILBs on the roster (and just 3 OLBs), so the likelihood is that one of the walk-on OLBs will play. One of those is Sean Fitzpatrick, who we profiled previously. The other is Reed Kellam. Kellam, like Fitzpatrick, was a productive player in high school, who maybe doesn’t have the size and speed combination necessary to contribute at this level.
Kellam was actually an MLB in high school, although watching his highlight video on Hudl, he appears to have played outside some. These look like passing situations, against spread offenses. For the Hoos, Kellam is listed at OLB, and would likely be a WLB. His play in pass coverage looks solid, as does his ability to play edge contain.
In his video, he has a couple of INTs where he basically reads the play and inserts himself between the receiver and the ball. He also shows an instinct for stepping up against a running QB and for reading quick passes to the RBs. These are all skills that could translate to college football.
Because of the lack of depth on this team, there are going to players thrust into action before they are ready. Likely, at least one of these players is going to be an OLB. Could Reed Kellam or Sean Fitzpatrick play, or will it be one of the incoming freshmen? That depends on how far the freshmen have to come and how far Kellam/Fitzpatrick have come during their redshirt years.