Tranquill special from the outset?

Our 14th of 22 (and counting?) "Eye in the Sky" film reviews for Notre Dame's incoming pledges examines four-star prospect Drue Tranquill and how the Big Skill athlete could improve head coach Brian Kelly's Irish roster over the next four seasons -- and the team's speciality units upon arrival.

Below is a film review of four-star prospect Drue Tranquill,'s 171st-ranked prospect in the 2014 class. Tranquill is listed as the nation's 14th-best outside linebacker pledge but the Fort Wayne (Ind.) Carroll star will likely serve at multiple positions for Kelly's 2014-2017 Irish.

Strengths and areas for development

The first 1:20 seconds of Tranquill's film review displayed the following:
- An expertly timed a blitz from safety position
- An executed block near scrimmage, and in traffic, for a teammate to break free
- A 30-yard touchdown pass
- An off-tackle run, through traffic for a 50-plus yard score
- Finishing a long touchdown run by laying out a would-be-tackler at the goal line, this after navigating traffic and following his downfield blocking on the cut-back score
- Sheer speed on an off-tackle touchdown run
- A big hit defensively in space

There was no evidence, however, that Tranquill sold any popcorn or offered to jump start any cars in the parking lot, post-game. Aside from that, he seemed to do everything at the prep level...

Tranquill possesses great vision as a runner plus open-field speed…Doesn't slow down to cut…Runs through contact and maintains balance through arm tackles…Shows good technique to wrap ball-carriers in space…Accelerates when he engages an opponent just prior to contact (a Bob Diaco-must in recruitment of a defensive prospect)…Shows remarkable closing speed, and through traffic to boot…Unstoppable runner via sheer desire, speed, strength, and balance at the prep level -- could he return punts in 2014 or beyond?

Tranquill lined up as a quarterback, running back, slot receiver, wide receiver, safety, corner backer, outside linebacker and inside linebacker on film…Transition to inside linebacker would be tough, initially, as Tranquill was rarely blocked, or asked to take on quality offensive linemen at the prep level…Comes to balance easily after leaping for a catch and appears to have excellent hands, traits that will serve him well as a defensive back or hybrid DB/OLB…

Clearly used to being the best athlete on the field, I lost track of how many times he ran through or past a defense for touchdowns. But Tranquill is poised to enter a level of play where most of his fellow competitors were accustomed to being the best, too…

A jack-of--all-trades, Tranquill will be asked to master one (at a time) at Notre Dame. I'm certain he'll play more than one position, likely in both of his first two seasons, in South Bend. Along with five-star linebacker recruit Nyles Morgan, *Tranquill is the least likely incoming freshman to redshirt next fall. He's simply too good of an athlete to be kept from the Irish specialty units...

(*I expect 10 or more freshman to play, but Morgan and Tranquill head the list.)

Combination of football acumen and athletic gifts stand out. I believe Tranquill should be kept in space (safety or outside linebacker to the field side, plus nickel and dime package roles) to best utilize his gifts and understanding of the game.

Road blocks to playing time

None, he'll be on the field as a member of the program's special teams within two weeks of the outset of August camp.

In terms of a debut position for Tranquill, the toughest, as noted, would be inside linebacker -- there's no film evidence he can take on 300-pound guards, nor should he be asked to as a rookie. Tranquill's likely initial evaluation is at safety, though backup to Jaylon Smith at the Dog linebacker position (should it remain part of new defensive coordinator Brian VanGorder's defense) remains an intriguing option.

Chances are slim to none the versatile Tranquill will serve at one position during his four seasons in South Bend.

Reminiscent of… Former Irish running back and safety, Tony Driver (1997-2000).

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