November 20, 2010

DePriest caps off strong SR year

The Springfield (OH) Wildcats saw their season come to a close last week with a 0-9 loss in the second round of the playoffs to defending state champion Hilliard Davidson but the loss brings to a close an impressive 9-3 campaign led by star linebacker and Alabama Crimson Tide commitment Trey DePriest. The four-star Rivals100 member earned league defensive player of the year honors and finished with three interceptions on the year, including two that were returned for touchdowns.

"We were a very good team defensively this year and Trey was a huge part of that," said Springfield head coach Rick Robertson. "He's been strong his whole career but this year he played a lot lower, a lot more physical and he was much more of a downhill linebacker. After we moved him insider last year, you could see glimpses of it but he wasn't the kind of full-out downhill linebacker like he became this year."

Robertson said it's DePriest's combination of skills and his exceptional grasp of the game that have made him into one of the Midwest's top prospects for the Class of 2011.

"He understands the position a lot better this year and I think that has been key for him. He's 6-foot-2, 237 pounds. Most high school kids that size play defensive line but he has the speed to get to the outside. He had some pretty good players around him on defense but he still stands out in terms of making plays and finding a way to be around the ball. I also think he plays particularly well as a part of the team. He trusts his teammates to do their jobs and that often puts him in a better position to make a play."

While Alabama's defense is often noted for its complexity, Robertson said DePriest should have at least a basic understanding of many of the concepts and ideas behind Coach Nick Saban's defense.

"Trey's intelligence is way up there. He has a great understanding of the concepts of our defense and what we're trying to do. When you look at what Coach Saban does at Alabama, he's going to run a one-gap responsibility for the most part up front and his linebackers are always going to be multi-gap players. Trey has the same kind of responsibilities in our defense. Alabama also walks their linebackers up a lot and gives a lot of different looks in terms of blitzes and coverages, which is also something Trey will at least be familiar with from his time here. We actually picked up our coverages from one of Coach Saban's clinics when he was at LSU."

DePriest's decision to choose the Crimson Tide over the home state Ohio State Buckeyes surprised many, particularly in DePriest's hometown of Springfield. Robertson said DePriest's decision didn't come as much of a surprise to those who know him well.

"I think Trey all along really wanted to get away from Springfield for college. That's not to say that he dislikes his home but he just wanted to go somewhere that would let him make his own name. Ohio State has a great program, we're certainly all fans here at Springfield and we would have loved to have the opportunity to watch him play down the road. At the same time, we know he chose a quality program with a great tradition in Alabama. I think being away from home will allow him to focus on what he's there to do and not on all the distractions that can sometimes come from having all those friends and family members so close by. I think Trey made the best possible decision for himself and I'm looking forward to seeing him succeed at Alabama."

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