Anzalone is a 4-star outside linebacker recruit and he projects to be very good at the college level. Being able to land his commitment and get him enrolled early is huge for Will Muschamp and the Gators. He looked to be a firm commitment with the Fighting Irish, but according to a tweet from Adam Gorney of Rivals.com, Anzalone flipped because Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly had interviewed with the Philadelphia Eagles:
Gorney (@adamgorney) January 10, 2013
No matter the reasons, Notre Dame's loss will end up being Florida's gain. Anzalone is the No. 7-ranked outside linebacker in the 2013 class according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.
What skill-set is Anzalone bringing to the Gators though?
The first thing you'll notice about Anzalone is that he's extremely athletic. He has the agility and speed to be a true sideline-to-sideline player, and that's going to make him a very valuable outside linebacker for Florida.
When he does get to the point of attack he has the ability to play very strong and he's a fundamental tackler. He'll make a ton of plays on defense because of his fundamentals and ability to read his keys alone. This is something you don't see much in linebackers coming out of high school.
What really impresses me about Anzalone is his natural understanding of angles of pursuit. Some linebackers tend to play almost too aggressive, which opens up running lanes and specifically cutback lanes. Anzalone is very discipline though, and that's what allows him to make a ton of plays.
He excels at scraping over and keeping himself square to the line of scrimmage until he has to commit to make the tackle. You can see an example of this in the pictures below.
In the first picture, you can see the play is moving to Anzalone's right. He has to fill his running lane and not get out of position, but he still needs to be aggressive enough to scrape over and make the play:
Notice his technique as he scrapes over. He keeps his shoulders square to the line of scrimmage so that he can quickly switch direction if the running back decides to cut back.
The most important thing to notice, though, is his angle. A linebacker with less patience might try to shoot the "A' gap, but then he would be going underneath the play. Analone's patience and understanding pays off here, because the runner is trying to get outside of the tackle and run through the "C" gap:
He commits to getting over the double team and his speed allows him to get to the "C" gap to make the play before the tackle could break off the double team and get to the second level to block him:
He then meets the runner strong at the point of attack and makes a great play—causing a fumble:
Overall, this blend of aggressiveness, patience and fundamentals makes Anzalone an elite linebacker recruit. He'll fit in perfectly on Florida's defense and he projects to be a very productive linebacker.
Now that you know what I think of Anzalone, check out this scouting report from Bleacher Report's Full+Ride:
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