New Oregon football defensive lineman Jordon Scott from Largo, Florida, is poised to anchor the middle of head coach Willie Taggart’s 3-4 defense for the foreseeable future. He has the potential to be the one of the best defensive tackles ever at Oregon, following the likes of Rolland Putzier and Haloti Ngata. He has been listed as 6-foot-1, and weighing 345 pounds.
He’s a thick-bodied guy, short (as defensive linemen go) and appears incredibly strong on film. He has the classic build for an interior defensive lineman, whether it be as a nose tackle or a 3-tech (cocked) position. Scouts describe guys like him as a “fire hydrant:” short and immovable and built to hold the point of attack. An early enrollee at the University of Oregon (1/3/2017) he will be available for Spring football practice along with two future teammates (Thomas Graham, Jr. and Adam Stack).
Scott played defensive line at Pinellas Park High School and was 1st team all-state (7A) in Florida in 2016. An early commitment to the Florida Gators, he decommitted from them on November 2, 2016. At that time he was considered the No. 5-rated defensive tackle in the state of Florida and the No. 44-rated defensive tackle in the country (Rivals).
Speed and Agility:
The only (unverified) clock I have seen on Scott is from the Hudl highlight video. It listed his 40-yard dash time as 5.49 seconds. That, coupled with his listed 15-second, 100-meter time, is very fast for a guy of his dimensions. He also has a reported five-second shuttle time, which is eye-opening given his age and size. To put that into perspective, Alex McCalister of Florida was the 2016 NFL Draft Combine champion in the shuttle at four seconds. McCalister was several years older than Scott (maturity matters) and, as a defensive end, he weighed 239 pounds. Needless to say, Scott is very quick.
Arm Length, Reach and Hand Size:
I did not see anything listed about his reach. However, most people exceed their height with their wingspan by a few inches. Someone that is 6-foot-1 probably has a wingspan approaching 6-feet-4 inches.
Let’s Go to the Tape:
There’s a lot of film on him. The more you watch him, the more impressed you become with his skill set.
Scott is seen lined up (above) against a guard that is giving away at least a hundred pounds to him. The guard plays Scott too high from the snap of the ball, and Scott overwhelms him due to mass and leverage. Scott clearly gets under the guard’s shoulder pads, with his center of gravity lower than his opponent’s. As a result, his opponent gets manhandled. Scott clearly understands leverage and how to control his opposition, displaying it throughout his tape.
He also does it in different ways: you see him lined straight up over the nose, or cocked (3-tech), but he always has his head lower than his butt, making it very difficult for an offensive lineman to get under to control him. At the snap of the ball, I saw no effort by any of Scott’s opponents to “submarine” and get him on the ground.
Jordon (above) chases down a quarterback. He displays a nice swim move (rare in high school ball) to get into the backfield, and shrugs off an “ole” block by the running back. At this point, he has single-handedly broken down the pocket and forced the QB off his spot. This guy is a wrecking ball. He is relentless and displays great effort.
Change of Direction:
The reason scouts and coaches have athletes do cone drills is they want to get an idea of how fast a guy can effectively change direction and accurately adjust to the proper cut-off angles in pursuit on the field. Note: This is only an athletic test, and it has nothing to do with recognition. That’s what separates elite football players from really good players. Watch the footwork of Scott above.
He displays a bull rush above against a kid nearly as big as he is. Scott forces his opponent to backpedal into the backfield. He extends his arms, drops his hips (more power) and completely controls his opponent while blowing up the whole play.
Meanwhile, Scott shifts his focus from the guard in front of him to the skill position players to locate the ball. He is trying to determine if the quarterback or running back has the ball. This shift in focus is spatial awareness. Bear in mind that this is happening in a split second at full speed. This is not the result of coaching. This is talent. You either have it, or you don’t.
You see him (above) drop back in coverage from his defensive tackle position into the second level. I’m sure that I have never seen a 350-pound DT at the high school level do that before. This is very impressive.
Note how Jordon (above) is the last defensive lineman to come set when the quarterback is in his snap count. Scott is in a ready position with his arms on his knees, rather than in a 3-point stance. I watched this a few times and it occurred to me that he was taking a long look into the backfield. He wasn’t resting; he was diagnosing the coming play. At the snap of the ball, he knifed through to the right and made the play for a very short gain. I don’t believe I have ever seen a high school defensive lineman do that before on tape.
Jordan recognizes a screen pass (above) to the running back in the right flat while doing his bull rush up the middle! He not only recognizes the screen, but changes direction, runs down the play and makes the tackle. This is very rare for a high school DT, because not a lot of high school teams run screens, so to recognize it and make the play is eye-opening.
Who He Reminds Me Of:
Casey Hampton, the defensive tackle that played at Texas in the late ’90s and went on to have a great career for the Pittsburgh Steelers. At 6-foot-1 and 325 lbs., Hampton was a ferocious inside guy both at the collegiate and pro levels. He played with leverage and tenacity. I see a lot of Hampton in Jordon Scott. The latter needs to trim down at little, but the similarities in their games are uncanny.
In my opinion, I see two ways Scott’s career at Oregon (and beyond) could play out.
If he stays at his present size (or gets bigger) he will be a nose tackle all the way. But I see him having an adjustment period, moving from HS ball to big-time D1 college ball. He’s not going to see as many ‘ole‘ blocks as he did in high school. He’s going to be going up against athletes that are nearly as big as he is. And he’s going to get double-teamed – a lot.
Scott is a game-changer and offensive coordinators will quickly figure this out. However, they are not going to concede their running game to Oregon’s defense before the game is even played. They will game plan on how to move Scott off the point, mostly with double-teams, and even chip him with a tight end, H-Back or a running back if need be. If he assumes the role of nose tackle, he will have to adjust his mindset from hunter (like in high school) to the hunted.
This could all change, however, if he plays the 3-tech position rather than a nose tackle. He has rare speed and agility for a guy of his dimensions. My point is, if he plays weighing between 325–330 pounds, he could be a very effective inside guy. In fact, I believe his best position is as a 3-tech and not as a nose tackle.
This PSA has a big upside. Having said that, if he played weighing within the 325-330 pound range, rather than anywhere from 345-350 pounds, he has the potential to be elite. He clearly has benefited from excellent coaching, and he has taken that classroom work out onto the field and executed it with a flourish. Scott has flashed talent that one doesn’t normally see in a high school defensive linesman.
If he works hard, sheds a little weight and plays to his potential, I see him as a dominant college defensive lineman and a future NFL draft pick. In my opinion, this guy is a really fine player and undervalued at this point.
Mike Kelly (ChicoDuck!)
Top Photo by Monica Herndon