Braxten Croteau is a 6’5”, 245 pound defender from Liberty High School in Grand Peoria, Arizona. He is rated as a consensus 3-star recruit.
Croteau was a Cal guy all the way, despite getting a few other decent offers and even taking an unofficial visit to UCLA back in April of 2018. A week later Croteau took an unofficial to Cal and committed just a day later. He then took an official visit in December before signing on Early Signing Day.
Croteau was a three-year varsity player who put himself on the map with a great junior year before cementing his prospect status with a fantastic senior season. In that season, he compiled 68 total tackles (18 TFL) with 8 sacks, 14 quarterback hits, two forced fumbles, and one fumble recovery in 12 games. His efforts on the season allowed him to rack up all-state honors as being a nominee for Arizona player of the year.
One disappointing thing about Croteau is that he wasn’t all that active on Hudl, so we only have full highlight tape from his junior year to look at. However, his numbers between his junior and senior year were very similar and his junior tape should definitely provide a solid look into the player that we are getting.
It looks as if Croteau played both outside linebacker and defensive end in high school, and there is no doubt it my mind that he will be a linebacker at the next level. He has a very skinny frame and would need to put on a lot of weight if he wants to be a defensive end.
With that said, he has some pretty good traits for an outside linebacker. For a linebacker, he has a picture perfect frame that the coaches will absolutely love to work with. He shows decent speed and quickness, solid tackling ability, and promise as a straight-line rusher. He also had enough strength to play inside in high school, and while that won’t be the case in college, it does say that he could have decent strength for a linebacker.
It will definitely be interesting to see how Cal uses him. Since he spent a lot of time on the defensive line in high school, I expect his linebacker abilities to be pretty raw. He will need to learn the fundementals of rushing the passer as well as how to play in coverage.
That isn’t to say that he is a purely raw prospect; it is just that he will need to hone in on his skills at linebacker from having split time in high school where he could use his athleticism to overpower blockers.
Overall, Croteau isn’t someone who I see playing for Cal very early in his career, but he has all the physical traits that you are looking for at the next level and could definitely become a contributor down the road.