Get to Know 2016: Joel Dublanko

Mar. 2 -- Linebacker Joel Dublanko, out of Aberdeen, Washington, could actually end up a defensive end at the college level...

Dublanko was probably born in the wrong era to play pure linebacker. At all of 6'3 and 250 pounds, Dublanko would project as a middle linebacker in a typical mid-90's 4-3 defense, but with the changing nature of the college game, it wouldn't be a shock if he ends up at defensive end. He's a big, strong, physical prospect who plays with a nice edge to his game. As a linebacker, he reads plays well and is quick enough to track down running backs behind the line of scrimmage. He actually plays a little running back himself, and while he's mostly a power back, he's still a pretty good athlete for his size. Projecting forward, given that he's probably gained 20 pounds in the last year or so, it's easy to see him getting even bigger, and potentially ending up in the 265-pound range, which almost certainly means he'll be playing with his hand on the ground in college. For UCLA's purposes, his best fit is probably as an end, particularly given the many varied fronts that UCLA has used in the past couple of years.

We actually remember seeing Dublanko at UCLA's Camp in 2013 when he was heading into his sophomore year, and he opened some eyes then as a big, physical linebacker. He's taken multiple visits down to Los Angeles both before that trip and after, and his father recently said that Joel and Jim Mora have a great relationship. The Bruins have yet to offer, though, and we'd imagine they'll want to get a better look at him to determine where he'd fit in UCLA's scheme now that he's filled out some. That appears to be the case with plenty of schools, as Washington State, Tennessee, and Mississippi State are his only three notable offers heading into spring camp and evaluation season. If UCLA does offer this spring, it wouldn't be a huge shock to see the Bruins leap to the front for him.

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