Positives…Has long arms with a high-cut, muscular frame…Very quick out of his stance, showing good body control and foot agility coming off the ball…Has above average lateral agility which allows him to making the pulls getting out in space…Plays with a wide base and uses his hands well to get underneath the defender…Shows pop, quickness and functional strength with explosion on his initial move…Stays with his blocks at the point of attack and shows good hand technique, punching with power to rock defenders back on their heels…Bends his knees properly when anchoring in pass protection and has the instincts and quick reactions to pick up stunts…Sets up quickly in pass protection and does a nice job of cutting off and reaching with zone blocks…Always gives that extra effort to stay with his blocks…Keeps his shoulders squared vs. double teams and stays on his feet when working in the second level.
Negatives…More of a fighter than a mauler and needs to keep his emotions more in control (spends too much time trying to overpower the defender rather than playing off his initial block to search for another opponent)…Works well in space, but appears more comfortable planting on the line and waiting for the action to come at him…Shows a good anchor, but can be bent back as he tends to stand on his heels…Despite his strength, he struggles vs. the power rush, causing defenders to push him into the pocket…May be better suited for tackle to take advantage of his height, and also because he struggles to maintain a low pad level needed to gain leverage inside…Bit of a waist-bender who does not always use his hand punch properly to jar defenders (keeps his arms short working through trash).
Late bloomer who was finally given a full-time opportunity as a senior…Called by the coaching staff the most athletic performer on the offensive line, he helped the team post back-to-back 5000+-yard performances by the offense the last two years.
All-Big Ten Conference second-team choice…Recipient of the Wright Commitment to Excellence Award, presented to the Illini player who has dedicated himself to academic excellence despite obstacles faced during his collegiate career…Started every game at left offensive guard, registering 91 knockdowns for an offense that featured its first 1000-yard rusher (Antoineo Harris) and 1000-yard receiver (Brandon Lloyd) in the same season since the 1984 campaign…Helped an offense total 5356 yards.
Arkansas State…Totaled a season-high sixteen knockdowns, cut blocking defensive tackle John Bradley on an 18-yard touchdown pass from Jon Beutjer to Walter Young and later made a timely downfield block to spring Morris Virgil for a 69-yard scoring scamper as the team amassed 600 yards.
San Jose State…Added twelve knockdowns and cleared a path used by Antoineo Harris for a 5-yard touchdown run as the Illini gained 602 yards.
Indiana…Had eight knockdowns and opened a hole for Harris' 4-yard scoring run as Illinois came up with 248 yards on the ground.
Wisconsin…Smashed linebacker Jeff Mack to the ground with a crunching forearm blast on a 22-yard scoring lob from Beutjer to Young as the offense collected 504 yards.
The skinny on David Diehl
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