As you may already know, earlier today, Quentin Tartabull committed to Cal, giving the Bears their second safety in the 2014 class. And as you may also already know, safety - along with running back - is one of the greatest needs for next year, which makes this commitment all the better. Tartabull received an offer after a Cal camp this weekend, and committed soon after.
Below are some thoughts and observations on what the 6'0, 190 Bishop Alemany product will bring when he arrives fall of 2014.
247sports: 3 star . 54th ranked safety
Rivals: 3 star, unranked at safety
Scout: 3 star, 37th ranked safety
Even though Tartabull will play safety at the college level, his position for Bishop Alemany is linebacker, which does limit the usefulness of his tape a little bit. That being said, there are skills that can translate between the two positions - skills that he does demonstrate on film already.
Take, for example, the ability to read and diagnose plays - that's important for a linebacker, but even more so when the last line of defense. Check. He sees the screen developing in front of him and stuffs it. Here, you can see him cover his man on assignment, then when he recognizes the quarterback is taking off, crashes in to force a fumble. Smart, aware player.
Tartabull is also a strong tackler on tape, not only aggressively seeking out contact, but taking the right angles to engage in it, too. He can hit, but that's not what I want to talk about specifically. Inexperienced players can sometimes run themselves out of position and open up cut back lanes when they're looking for tackles, but as you can see here, he waits for the space to close before moving in.That should be music to the ears of Cal fans, many of whom still remember this disaster.
He's a fast, athletic talent, too, and that's not just because of his SPARQ score rating. My coach used to say to never block the backside end on sweeps, because if a guy can run you down from the back side, he's going to the NFL. Okay, so it isn't a perfect application of the quote, since he's playing outside linebacker in this clip,and we have no idea if he'll one day make it to the NFL, but you get the point. He moves well, and he moves explosively.
Instances of him in coverage are rare on tape, but from what I can tell, it certainly looks like he knows how to cover. In this one, you can see him sliding out into the flat with his man, and then making a clean break on the ball for the easy pick-six. Defensive backs have to be able to make that play.
Perhaps - and this is pure speculation - Andy Buh might even find a use for him as a blitzer out of the secondary in a few years. The first sack comes because the left guard whiffs entirely, but the rest of these clips show a very strong first step, especially off the edge. If you're going to send a defensive back, you better make sure he can get there and make life hard for the quarterback, if not sack him outright. The tape suggests he may be able to do that at the next level. Just something to think about in the future. Tartabull recorded six sacks for Alemany last year, if you're wondering. I could definitely see him being used on special teams, for sure, with a possible role on defense dependent on his development once on campus. [At 190 pounds, he could probably stand to put a little weight on.]