ESPN West Palm's "coach", Chris Kokell, gives a comprehesive film breakdown of high school football prospects across Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast.
Position: Linebacker/Tight End
School: Jensen Beach (Class of 2015)
Top 5 Offers: Colgate, Southern Illinois, Central Connecticut, FAU, USF
Note: Also participates in track & field.
WHERE HE EXCELS:
Nico Sawtelle is exactly what a defensive coordinator looks for in a middle linebacker. Tough, full of energy and an emotional spark for his teammates. Reads plays and attacks. Sure tackler that doesn't just tackle ball carrier, he explodes through them. Moves well for a linebacker his size. Puts it in another gear when chasing down QBs. Good job scraping down the line finding his attack lane on run plays. Shows good hands and athleticism when playing tight end on offense. This will help him in pass coverage. That fact that he can long snap makes him that much more valuable. Don't undervalue that skill.
WHAT TO WORK ON:
While I love the energy and excitement Nico Sawtelle plays with, I don't love pre-rehearsed celebrations. Let the raw emotion come out and direct that energy towards celebrating with teammates. Gives them increased confidence even when they didn't make the play. Become one as a unit. Would like to see Sawtelle in more drop coverages. Need to see how he is opening up his hips. As with almost all high school football players, he needs to use his hands better when fighting off block.
KOKELL FILM ANALYSIS:
Have to give credit to The Duse, Wells Dusenbury, for finding the gem of Jensen Beach. Nick Sawtelle is in my Top 5 of a very talented group of linebackers in Palm Beach County and the Treasure Coast. I love his game and have watched his tape over a dozen times since Duse showed me it yesterday. Sawtelle is one of those special players that is a true game-changer on the defensive end of the ball. His game reminds me so much of a former player of mine at Pope John Paul II named Joe Grosso. Grosso was first team all-state and went on to win some Ivy league rings at Penn. I see Sawtelle having similar success but at a higher level of football. Expect his name to explode through recruiting circles this fall. Sawtelle can play at most schools in the country but can be a blue chip prospect for a mid-major school. I'd love to see him go that direction and continue to be the leader of a defense somewhere. Sawtelle has that "it" factor that great players need. Go somewhere and shine.
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Chris Kokell covers high school football for ESPN 106.3 and is the color analyst for "Football Night in South Florida". He has served as head coach at both Pope John Paul II and Forest Hill. To recommend an athlete for Kokell to feature in a future "Film Room", please send player info and a film link to him on Twitter at @REALCOACHK, or e-mail email@example.com.