Jarvis Jones is the big, powerful v8 that drives the Georgia Defense, but Alec Ogletree is the turbocharger that pushes that defense to the next level.
Ogletree is a former highly-touted safety who has had significant playing time ever since his freshman year. After his first season he appeared to be outgrowing his defensive back-body and the coaches asked him to switch to linebacker. Unfortunately he suffered a foot injury and hasn’t gotten onto the field much until this year.
His physical attributes are quite impressive. At 6’3″ 235 pounds he has ideal linebacker size combined with above-average athleticism stemming from his background as a safety. He was suspended once as a freshman and then missed all but one quarter of last season with a foot injury.
Ogletree’s main opponent for the top inside linebacker spot is Notre Dame’s Manti Te’o. Te’o is bigger, stronger, but less mobile than Ogletree. Te’o could play in the middle of either a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, though he would be best as a 3-4 Mike-backer. Ogletree does not have the strength or frame to take on blockers in a 3-4 would be much better-suited to roam in a 4-3.
There is a good chance Ogletree will return to Georgia because he does have one year of eligibility left and this is his first season of consistent playing time. He is still very raw and needs to improve on his instincts at the linebacker position. His first step tends to be backwards rather than aggressively towards the line of scrimmage. He is good in coverage, but at this point it is probably due to his excellent athleticism and less to do with actual coverage ability.
Ogletree is definitely a player to keep an eye on. His athleticism will jump off the page at the linebacker position, but his raw talents may be better served with another year of polish.
Te’o is still my top inside linebacker due to his versatility and aggressiveness at the line of scrimmage, but Ogletree is an interesting name to keep an eye on.