Tanner Villejo MLB, Nevada Union HS (Miners), Grass Valley, California.
Biometrics: Depending on the source He’s 6-1, 6-2, or 6-3 (go figure), 220 lbs @ 4.75 speed.
Interests: Received offers from BSU (committed 06/17/2012), Arizona, Washington State, Colorado, Nevada, San Diego State, Fresno State, Colorado State, and UNLV. Saw interest from Oregon, Nebraska, Iowa State, and UCLA.
Vallejo appears faster than his 40 time indicates. He has great vision for the ball, makes quick and decisive decisions, and is rarely out of position. He delivers punishing hits, and best of all, brings down players quickly. Although his 40 is reported to be a 4.75 (on the slow end of a MLB in a 4-3 defense) on film he plays much faster, which is what really matters. He is shown several times outpacing safeties and corners for touchdowns as a running back.
He’s a better run defender than pass defender. Scouts point out that he has trouble with hip flexibility which can hinder his ability to cross over to hang with shifting receivers. His film seems to validate this as there is little of him in man-to-man pass coverage. What pass coverage film there is shows him playing zone and sliding into passing lanes as opposed to hanging with receivers. But with his body type, he should be in run stopping packages anyway.
In a 4-3 defensive scheme, the prototype linebacker is expected to be in the 4.5 to 4.7 range. In a 3-4 scheme or as a stud linebacker/end, where larger linebackers are coveted, Vallejo’s speed is perfect. The prototype player in this scheme is desirable in the 4.7 to 4.8 range. Scouts report that Vallejo has a body frame that could easily hold more muscle mass. He’ll be coming to the table at 220 lbs and could easily get into the 240 range or better as he matures. He’s essentially a perfect fit to fill the stud position that made McClellin famous.
But regardless of speed, the key is getting the recruit with instinct. But since Instinct is a more subjective biometric than a measurable, how does one recruit instinct? Lots of film watching.
Speed is not everything when it comes to linebackers. This quote from Greg Gabriel, 30 year NFL talent scout sums this up. “More important than [40 yard dash] speed is play speed, and that is tied to instincts. There are not many who would argue that Brandon Spikes (Patriots) times fast, he’s a 5.00 type, but he plays fast and he is able to do that because of his great instincts and anticipation.”
Bill Walsh once summed it up like this; “It’s difficult to describe how to look for instinct, but the guys who find a way to get to the football and make the tackle, they probably have it.” Watching Vallejo get to the football so quickly, he has instinct in spades. If he lives up to his film, he’ll be a force to be reckoned with.
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