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A closer look at Russell Ude


Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

For once, the Nam Le Curse worked in our favor, because this happened just hours before Ude broke the seal on an almost two-month long silent commitment:

As far as what he brings off the field, that has been well covered by the rest of you in last week's initial discussion thread -- he has all the makings of a student who should be able to cut it here, which I assure you had been a very, very high priority for the staff, particularly beginning last year. The Harvard and Yale offers should say just about the same, and CGB's Vincent S passed along the following about Ude's high school:


Looks like we're all good on that front.

Now, he's going to be taking his remaining officials and hasn't made it to Cal yet, so there's no reason to think the battle on Ude is done. Still, Mr. Man Bear Cal likes our odds to retain his signature in February, and even though there are no guarantees -- cough Koa Farmer cough -- you can refer back to the "he's been committed silently for two months" bit for a good reason as to why he might think so.

Needless to say, he comes in at one of the two biggest positions of need we have, since we have the worst defensive line in college football right now (although more on that during my stat-dump bye week column; the other is safety, which me and my boss Scott Chong both agree on, by the way).

Because of this reason, as well as the national implications from who we beat out to for him Ude immediately jumps to the top of the HIGHEST PRIORITY; MUST KEEP pile for this year's class, which go: Psalms, Powell, Ude, Gibson, Aaron, for me, in that order.

The rankings

Scout: 3 star, 76th ranked DE

Rivals: 4 star, 20th ranked DE

247sports: 3 star [87], 18th ranked DE

ESPN: 3 star [78], 43rd ranked DE

The tape

Highlights from Ude's (pronounced OOH-DAY) senior season are locked and private on HUDL, so I'm making due -- heh -- with a combination of the junior tape available on Youtube, and some one on one camp stuff.

First up, the Youtube tape:

You need to realize that Russell Ude is going to play for us in some form next year. Not only because Marc Tausend thinks so, not because I think so, but because the depth chart pretty much has an Ude sized hole there already, and a listed 250 (270 at some places), he's already significantly bigger than a few of the guys we're throwing out there, only with better athleticism.

Keep in mind, this is junior tape:

  • ...which is why I'm going to say that I kind of agree more with the 3-star evaluations than the 4-star one right now. He's definitely college material, but I just don't see a tremendously transcendent talent as of 2013. It may be true that he has blossomed into one, which is why I plan on re-visiting he and some of most of the early recruits -- Zeandae Johnson is another guy I'm looking forward to seeing, as are Lonny Powell and Ross Bowers -- over the early offseason break.
  • He's played some linebacker, which is a very, very useful skill in this conference -- the more comfortable a guy is in space, and the more experience he has doing so, the better. The very first play is him doing exactly that off of left tackle, and it's here again at 1:32 with a jab step to the outside and a cut back in for a pressure. He doesn't look all that outstanding as a stand-up athlete, but if he can even be serviceable, the flexibility could be really useful. We've run some similar stand up pass rush looks for Brennan Scarlett this year, one of which Scotty looked at during Golden Spotlight.
  • All kinds of versatility as a junior though, really. The next two plays after that are at end, and then inside at defensive tackle, the kind of thing that must make Art Kaufman and Fred Tate smile. We're lacking a bit in flexible personnel up front right now, save for Scarlett. Guys who can move inside or outside or play a variety of techs.
  • Has a great knack for disengaging blockers with his hands, which is how he's winning a majority of these battles. :45 is just disgusting, as is 3:36 to free himself and force a pitch...1:23 is a swim over a holding lineman...2:43, rip4:54, rip. This is the strongest part of his game by far -- his ability to get off blocks. Finishing the play is another thing that likely developed or has been further coached into him from this point forward.
  • The captions on this one note his ability to watch the ball, but what's noticeable to me here at 0:29 is his core/base strength -- despite the lineman, he doesn't move backward at all, keeps sliding down the line of scrimmage anyway, then rips away to make the tackle without any real effort.
  • Usually on lineman tape, I get a lot more clips of guys chasing the ball halfway around the field or from behind with ridiculous levels of effort. Noticeably, did not get as many from Ude, who looks slow getting after it sometimes. Again, this is based off of what I'm seeing as a junior. It may be harsh, even, but I'm just giving you what I see/think.
  • I'm not giving him credit for the pressure at 0:56. Left tackle and RB come up on a rushing linebacker to leave him open, not because he did anything in particular.
  • Not sure how these things work, but if his frame can support the extra weight, I could see him sliding inside by his later years here. Might even prefer that.
  • Also not entirely sure what's happening here, just schematically. Anyone wanna chime in? Ude's the end on the left of the photo.

Now, let's check out where he is at a camp setting...

I'd recommend watching the whole way through, but I think I had Ude losing one, and winning three in the snaps that he's shown, including a victory over Stanford Cardinal commit Jack Dreyer. (Full disclosure: His one loss also came against Dreyer.) That was probably the most impressive of the reps. Got right under his chin, has his hands a little too far outside, but repositions them as he drives Dreyer back.

In summation, though...