'13 Prospect Evaluation: CB Cole Luke & LB Peter Kalambayi
Cole Luke, CB, 6'0", 165 lbs – Chandler, AZ (Hamilton)
Cole Luke, from the same powerhouse program that sent us former four-star and current Cardinal safety Devon Carrington, is an extremely smooth athlete who boasts the cover skills and ball skills of a big-time, playmaking cornerback. While his easy stride may fool onlookers into believing that he's not as fast as he really is, Luke can glide by the opposition when returning interceptions or punts or when flying off the corner to block punts. He also shows the ability to accelerate once the ball is in the air – that "make-up speed" is a key element of his game shown directly and circumstantially in his tape in instances where he is able to undercut receivers to make a play on the ball. His feet are also impressive, allowing him to continuously harass receivers in press coverage. What also stands out are his hips, as he is able to change direction and transition out of his backpedal without losing any speed. Those traits allow Luke to put himself into position to make plays on the ball.
Once the ball arrives, Luke turns into a receiver aggressively attacks the ball. He demonstrates natural catching ability and excellent ball skills. With a height of 6'0" and impressive leaping ability, Luke will win many battles against bigger wide receivers. His jumps are timed very well, and when that attribute is combined with his hands, the end product is a defensive back who will be sure to make opposing quarterbacks pay for even slightly underthrown passes. Another often overlooked benefit of this aggressive, ball-hawking trait is that its presence will allow Luke to avoid pass interference penalties, as officials will see that he is always playing the ball.
Luke's video doesn't show much with regard to textbook run-through tackles, but only but so much of those kinds of plays can be expected in the video of a cornerback which will tend to show more open field tackles. He is successful at cutting runners down when they bounce outside and try to turn the corner. Luke shows no fear when coming up to support the run and takes good angles to the football. However, he will help himself greatly by keeping his feet more consistently when tackling which will help him bring down college-level ball carriers.
Admission could be a major deciding factor, as may his recent offer from regional superpower Texas. If Luke does somehow end up on The Farm, the Scout.com four-star corner would join what looks to be a very talented, but unproven Cardinal secondary. Once he adds some weight to his six-foot frame, his athletic ability and the special teams skills he displays, such as a perfectly executed punt-block, should get him on the field as a freshman.
Peter Kalambayi, LB, 6"3", 235 lbs – Matthews, NC (Butler)
Peter Kalambayi is a big, fast athlete with surprising agility given his size at over 230 lbs. Though his junior video shows him lining up outside in a 3-4 scheme, Kalambayi was very impressive as a sophomore when playing inside linebacker. The Scout.com four-star (#4-ranked MLB) has a great burst to the football, which along with his obvious motor make him great in inside-out pursuit. He does a very good job of playing through the trash when necessary and has a good feel for when to slip blocks rather than take them on. One aspect of run defense that he will need to focus on more is using his hands more consistently. He has long arms which can be used to his advantage when fending off blockers and keeping them a good distance away from his body. Nevertheless, Kalambayi has the body, athleticism and the motor to seek out and reach ball carriers in all areas of the field.
Once he arrives at the ball-carrier, Kalambayi can deliver a solid strike when tackling. He looks to have a strong grasp that will not allow many ball carriers to escape even when he is not in ideal tackling position. The same applies once he arrives at the quarterback when pass rushing. To reach the quarterback, Kalambayi uses his speed and size to defeat pass protectors as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Those same tools will be useful for him on the next level, but he will need to develop more technique to be an effective pass rusher against college offensive linemen. Again, developing his hand usage will be key to adding to his impressive skill set. In addition to those skills, Kalambayi also has a knack for batting down passes whether rushing the passer or dropping back into coverage.
Although he does not look to have a natural feel for catching the ball, Kalambayi has other tools that will allow him to be an effective if not very good pass defender. His hips are good enough for him to get into deep drops, plant and change direction either once the ball is thrown or when the receiver makes his break. His burst to the football helps him here as well, especially in situations where he has to pursue running backs into the flat.
If the heralded North Carolina prospect chooses to head west to Palo Alto, he will be a better fit inside in the 3-4 scheme. He will join an extremely talented group of linebackers and could possibly end up paired with 5-star prospect Isaac Savaiinaea to anchor the inside of Stanford's 3-4 defense. Though he looks to these eyes to be a better fit on the inside, his size, speed and long arms make him a good candidate to play on the edge in the 3-4 as well. Kalambayi is a versatile linebacker prospect who could figure as a key part of the big, physical defense that Stanford and Associate Head Coach & Defensive Coordinator Derek Mason seek to put on the field. It is not surprising that Kalambayi has offers from more than two dozen of the country's strongest programs, including Stanford, Oregon, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, and Florida.
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