2019 NFL Draft Prospect Profile: LB Shaquille Quarterman

Player Description:

Name: Shaquille Quarterman

Position:  Linebacker

College: University of Miami (FLA.)

Class: Junior

Height: 6’1

Weight: 242 lbs

This year’s Miami Hurricanes defensive unit is essentially a catalog of NFL-calibre talent. For starters, you have defensive tackle Gerald Willis III, a projected top pick in this year’s draft who is a brick wall in the middle. Then you have interior lineman Joe Jackson, the only thing more intimidating than his stature is the way he plays. Lastly, you have Michael Jackson, though he does not have any interceptions, he is a true shutdown cornerback. This is an incredible unit and one of the best in the nation, yet the heart of it is linebacker Shaquille Quarterman.

In his first year with Miami, Quarterman had established himself as one of the premier freshmen in the college football. Earning Freshman All-American honors that season, he played 13 games and finished with 84 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, and a pass breakup. His 10 tackles for loss ranked him third on his team. In his Sophomore year, he was given All-ACC Second Team honors as he finished with 83 total tackles, 2.5 sacks, and five pass breakups. Already this season, he has already surpassed his best season in sacks and is on pace to surpass his totals in tackles and passes defended. Through it all, Quarterman has been a model of consistency and the quarterback of that talented Hurricanes defense.

Speed:

From what I verified, Quarterman’s projected 40 time was somewhere around 4.68s or higher. From what I have viewed, he plays much faster than his projected time. Though he has a compact build, he has impressive straight-line speed and sideline-to-sideline range. One of his strengths is blitzing. His ability to accelerate from point A to B is impressive to watch; this is the primary reason why I believe his projected speed is inaccurate.

Tackling:

In this area, Quarterman ranks among the elite linebackers in college football. From what I viewed, Quarterman rarely missed a tackle; hence why he’s averaging over 5 tackles a game this season. Firstly, Quarterman shows patience, an attribute that I believe is necessary before making any type of tackle. Secondly, he is good at tracking the play before making his move. Lastly, his height gives him the advantage of changing levels, getting low and finishing a tackle.

This play is textbook. From the beginning, he has his eyes in the backfield tracking the quarterback’s next move. Once he detects the handoff he blitzes inside, yet the part that impressed was the swim he used to evade the Tar Heels guard in order to get to the ball carrier; subtle but sweet. Once in the backfield, he finishes the play. This sequence is what all coaches look for in their linebackers. Worth noting, Quarterman is not the flashiest player, but his fundamentals are sound which enables him to be productive in this manner.

 

Instincts:

Quarterman has good instincts in relation to finding the ball carrier and making tackles, yet when it comes to coverage, that is a different story. In the open field, he seems lost at times and one can get the impression that he is simply not comfortable in coverage situations. The biggest problem with Quarterman is this area is his decision-making skills. Take for instance this sequence against Wisconsin;

This is one of those instances where reading the quarterback is essential. Quarterman, in this case, had no business tracking the Wisconsin halfback coming from the backfield, as he was being tailed by the left inside linebacker. Had Quarterman stayed home on this play, it would have likely forced to the quarterback to make another throw or keep it longer. All it took was that small bit a time he was looking the other way for the quarterback to make the throw.  It is these type of things that Quarterman needs to learn from.

Though I would not place him in the same category as elite-level linebackers such as Mack Wilson out of Alabama or Devin White out of LSU, Quarterman is the type of linebacker I believe can play at the next level. He is in many ways a work in progress but he is worth investing in.

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