Thursday, December 19, 2013

King Lazarus

Photo courtesy of Golden State Preps
Fresno State snatched the outright Mountain West title earlier in December. Now, the Bulldogs may have made the biggest steal of the 2014 recruiting period, by landing 6-foot-2, 215-pound behemoth linebacker Michael Lazarus on Dec. 19.

Lazarus, who hails out of Berkeley, turned down offers from Arizona State, Cal, Washington State and Wisconsin to join the Bulldogs. It's not often that a school like Fresno State lands a player of Lazarus' caliber.

What type of linebacker is Lazarus? In my eyes, he's a near complete one. Which is why this is such a big-time steal for Fresno State.

Lazarus has large hands and can rattle wide receivers/tight ends at the line with his palms. He not only showed off his press ability, but also looked like a ball-hawking safety while at the Passing Down camps. He was one of the top defenders at the Passing Down tournaments thanks to his eyes and instincts to the ball with forcing interceptions.

When he was in full pads, I saw a high-motor guy who destroyed running plays. I also saw a disruptive pass rusher who got 17 sacks - in 10 games.

He tends to be overly aggressive and can either be caught out-of-position or bite on plays. He can also continue to improve his hand technique when going against blockers. In the end, though, Lazarus is a game-changing linebacker who can dismantle an offensive game plan with his speed and athleticism. He's not only going to a team that went 11-1 under head coach Tim DeRuyter, but he's also going to the same coach who once turned NFL star linebacker Von Miller loose while at Texas A&M.

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