HT – WT – SPEED: The first thing that Rashad Kinlaw gives the Irish is the length the staff desires in the defensive backfield. Listed 6-foot-2, 185-pounds, Kinlaw will be a welcomed addition to Bob Diaco's defense once he arrives on campus. Where Kinlaw really sets himself apart is his combination of size and speed, clocked in the past in the 4.4s, Kinlaw will have no problem competing on the field against smaller, quick receivers while being able to match-up with taller, more physical ones.
QUICKNESS – AGILITY – BALANCE: As we said above, Kinlaw has in the past shown great speed going from point A to point B. But does that translate over to lateral quickness? While we can see on film the ability to use straight line speed, we don't see a lot of quick change of direction from his play at quarterback, and when we do he seems to lose his footing or balance. These areas will be worked on as he makes the transition to the defensive side of the ball.
STRENGTH: Kinlaw is built solid but doesn't show great physical strength on film when he's placed in one-on-one situations. However, you have to like his combination of size and speed knowing he could do well in Paul Longo's strength program.
BODY FLEXIBILITY Because Kinlaw has been used as a quarterback in high school we don't get a chance to see him on film at his future position as a defensive back. While we do see him open his hips to make a couple of throws across his body this only shows he's got some flexibility. However, watching a player come out of a back pedal and flipping his hips is much different.
DURABILITY: This will be the biggest question in the overall development of Kinlaw at the college level. Having already missed time his junior season due to a broken leg, Kinlaw also missed the majority of the U-19 games this summer due to injury. Can he stay healthy over a long college season that will be more physical than his current level of football?
ON THE FIELD
Despite some questions on the future of Kinlaw at the college level, I do see a player with some solid athletic ability. If moving to cornerback proves to be a failure, Kinlaw can also be moved to the offensive side of the ball as a running back or receiver. Keep in mind, Kinlaw follows a long line of athletic high school quarterbacks to move to a different position. However, many times in the past, players who make these types of moves have also played their new position. It is our understanding this fall will see Kinlaw taking some reps as a cornerback and that will allow for more breakdown of what he can achieve in the future.
Getting a player with a combination of size and speed is important to the overall success of any college program and Notre Dame is no exception. Kinlaw will be a raw physical specimen when he arrives on campus and the Irish coaching staff will have to mold him into the player they hope he can become. This will not happen overnight so don't expect Kinlaw to provide any quick help in the Irish defensive backfield, nevertheless, you should expect Kinlaw to help the Irish on special teams early in his career.