What I Learned Watching: Jonathan Ledbetter

CLARKSTON - Dean Legge reviews Tucker DL Jonathan Ledbetter's performance against Grayson.

Having gone to Tucker, I typically see them more often each year than any other program. That the Tigers have made the playoffs for the last 20 years helps on that front as well. I saw Jonathan Ledbetter on numerous occasions over the last two years - at camps as well in actual games.

He’s an impressive player who makes plays at the exact moment plays need to be made.

I saw Ledbetter live against Creekside, Grayson, Chattahoochee and in Athens during a Mark Richt Camp.

He’s a very fast big man. Tucker, and option team, beat teams about the head with TE drag routes with Ledbetter, who would quickly secure passes - even with defenders on top of him. One has to keep in mind how subtle Ledbetter’s quickness is. When power teams like Norcross are finding it very difficult to defend his moves on the interior you know that you’ve got an excellent player on your hands.

Tucker moved up from AAAAA to AAAAAA during Ledbetter’s final two years at Tucker - but region competition was relatively weak both seasons. But the Tigers started the year with challenging opponents and made deep playoff runs both years.

One thing I know for sure is that undersized doesn’t work against Ledbetter. He just throws smaller out of the way and proceeds to the ball. That sort of bulling won’t be as easy in the SEC, but Ledbetter sure did take advantage of it at Tucker.

Double teams often didn’t work so great against Ledbetter, either. Again, I know that Tucker’s regular season competition wasn’t the greatest on earth, but its not surprising that Ledbetter and company only allowed 19 points to Booker T. Washington from Florida (which scored 39 points a game in 2014), and allowed only 17 points a game for the 2014 season.

Ledbetter allowed Tucker to worry very little about the middle of the defense. At that point Tucker, with linebackers and defensive backs who can run for days, had the opposition just where it wanted them. Ledbetter was critical in Tucker’s plans.

He played a fair amount on the outside his junior season. That’s probably where he’s going to line up at Georgia. He could play some on the inside, but Ledbetter is more of a defensive lineman in Georgia’s current 3-4 scheme.

Ledbetter doesn’t seem to have a ton of wasted effort or motion. If an offensive lineman fires out at him, Ledbetter often moves to the side or swims to the side and lets the offensive lineman land face first on the turf. That might not be practical in the SEC, but it was at Tucker. Maybe Ledbetter was just too fast for most of his foes.

He will be challenged in the SEC for sure, but expect a solid and at time spectacular three years of football from Ledbetter in the future.


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