Oct 27, 2012; Norman, OK, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish head coach Brian Kelly celebrates a victory against the Oklahoma Sooners at Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. The Irish beat the Sooners 30-13. Mandatory Credit: Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Prospect Evaluation: Notre Dame Commitment Cole Luke

Cole Luke surprised everyone when he committed to Notre Dame after his visit to Oklahoma and witnessed the Irish win convincingly 30-13. Landing Luke gives this recruiting class a solid 4 star defensive back that they desperately needed. With 2 other defensive backs in this class, Devin Butler and Rashad Kinlaw who are both 3 star defensive backs really solidify this defensive recruiting class.

Strengths

Standing at 6’ 165 pounds he is an average sized corner, with good speed, good hands, and smart. Luke has run a 4.5 unofficial 40 yard dash, can jump up with the best of them and get the football, and is sustaining a 3.5 grade point average. He brings great talent when it comes to breaking up passes with his hands. Even if he is caught up behind a receiver there are many times he gets his hand around and bats the ball away. When Luke intercepts the football his speed and agility guide him to good returns against the offense. His vision is worthy to return punts and kickoffs eventually when he is needed.  Ultimately it is not just the skill that puts him in the correct position to make plays, but his technique that makes him a playmaker. Luke’s first step is correct most of the time and he opens up his hips to run with the receiver at the correct time as well. When you’re a defensive back timing is your key, turning your hips too late or early can give up a big play. Transitioning from your back pedal to a run especially on deeper routes is what makes Cole Luke special.

Weaknesses

At only 165 pounds it will make it hard for him to bring down those running backs that are 215 pounds and up. You have to remember that it will take a year or two for him to really establish some more muscle weight and strength. A good weight for him would be around the 185-200 pound range and we are talking about muscle. When he does this he will be a force and it will help his ability to help with the run. He is not a great tackler, since he often dives at the legs of the ball carrier and doesn’t keep his feet and run through the tackle. As a defensive back, especially in open space the defender must break down and use his feet and hips to drive his body through the ball carrier and then wrapping up to make tackles. Defensive players should only dive to make tackles when they are in desperation and that is their last resort. Luke will get help from the coaches, which will perfect his form and technique when tackling and the breaking down leading up to the tackle.

Cole Luke is a guy that Notre Dame needed, an elite defensive back that has great skills and technique and shouldn’t take long to develop. With the defensive backfield hurting in depth he might be able to make an impact right away in nickel or dime situations next year, but if not his sophomore year could be a lock if he develops like most people think he will.

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