Jim Knowles on the Difficulties of Recruiting Linebackers in the Modern Era

first_imgSTILLWATER — Football’s offensive-focused movement over the years has affected more than what’s on the surface.Football in general, but especially in the Big 12, has been all about offense as of late. Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles says that mindset is also in the high school game, and it has made it difficult to project some players as defensive recruits.“Those times where you could look at a high school kid who maybe played running back or played quarterback and you could project him into being a linebacker or safety, we still want to do that, but they just don’t happen a lot anymore,” Knowles said. “The high school kids and the coaches, everything is geared to offense. It’s difficult to find a kid who loves to play defense, knows how to play defense, can react to everything that happens on offense at warp speed. It just becomes harder to find.”Knowles is finding linebackers thus far in his OSU tenure. He had two linebackers sign in his 2019 class in Kamryn Farrar and Na’Drian Dizadare, both listed as outside linebackers. In his 2020 class, Knowles has two inside linebacker pledges from in-state prospects Cole Thompson and Jeff Roberson.On Monday, Knowles said Dizadare will play in 2019 as a true freshman. Out of Evangel Christian Academy in Louisiana, Dizadare is from the same high school program that produced Jarrick Bernard, another defender who played for OSU as a freshman. Farrar is out of Dallas Skyline, where he was ranked the 109th linebacker in the country. Sources have expressed quiet optimism about him having the potential to make an impact as a true freshman like Dizadare.Part of what Knowles said made it difficult is all the things modern linebackers are tasked with. It’s a position that asks players to cover wide receivers and running backs on pass routes in the open field, but it’s also a position that demands help in run support.“I think linebacker in today’s day and age has become an extremely difficult position to recruit because you’re put into so many different situations,” Knowles said. “You’re put into open space against the most athletic players on the field, and then you have to line up and handle a 330-pound offensive lineman. It’s really tricky to recruit linebackers.” While you’re here, we’d like you to consider subscribing to Pistols Firing and becoming a PFB+ member. It’s a big ask from us to you, but it also comes with a load of benefits like ad-free browsing (ads stink!), access to our premium room in The Chamber and monthly giveaways.The other thing it does is help stabilize our business into the future. As it turns out, sending folks on the road to cover games and provide 24/7 Pokes coverage like the excellent article you just read costs money. Because of our subscribers, we’ve been able to improve our work and provide the best OSU news and community anywhere online. Help us keep that up.last_img

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