Matt LaPan

Getting Defensive: The Top Defensive Prospects From The American

Created on Oct. 04, 2013 6:00 AM EST

Rutgers: Jamal Merrell, LB

Merrell is an imposing run-stuffer for the Scarlet Knights, but he does much more than that. Merrell also shows an ability to make the big play. In his career, Merrell has two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and five blocked kicks. Merrell uses his great size (6-2, 220) and freakish athletic ability to make these big plays while also being a consistent force in the run game.

As strong as Merrell can be at times, he does need to work on consistently making plays, rather than a chunk of big plays. He also needs some work on his pass coverage as he often is too aggressive and puts himself out of position in both man and zone coverage. He has improved at this but is still a work in progress for coach Matt Ruhle.

Currently, Merrell is fighting off a "fluke" kidney injury, which is always something to monitor, but when he returns he should continue to improve.

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