Film Don't Lie | Landen Bartleson

June 24, 2019
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Get him in and coach him up.

That seems to be a theme with many of the defensive back targets the Irish have been after with players who are a bit raw in certain areas, but have physical and athletic traits that are enticing. It’s the perfect way to describe the strategy behind recruiting a player like Landen Bartleson‍.

He’s a talented athlete with the physical tools to succeed at cornerback, but he’s more accomplished as a running back than on defense at this time. There isn’t much junior film of him on defense to show how he might project to defensive back, but there is more of him as a sophomore that demonstrates his ability.

Height: 6’0”

Weight: 185

Projected Position: Cornerback

ISD Grade: 88 (3-star)

National Average Grade: 85.5 (3-star)

What he does best:

Honestly what he does best is run stretch plays well as a running back and when he gets space, you can see good vision and agility. But since he isn’t playing offense, the agility is really the only thing that translates.

The film of him on defense is limited, but seeing him plant and drive on this ball is exactly what I like to see. The pick was aided by the receiver slipping, but he’s still making a play on this ball regardless.

via GIPHY

He’s an aggressive player versus the run. I don’t know if it’s the running back in him or what, but he recognizes run very quickly and attacks downhill like you don’t see from many corners. Even on this play where it’s so easy to be lazy on a run that is meant to go the other way, he sees the cut back and kills it before there is any chance for a big play.

This is another naturally instinctive play from him where his man is running an incredibly lethargic route (likely because he knows the ball isn’t supposed to be going to him).

via GIPHY

Bartleson didn’t take this play off, though. He saw the quarterback locking in on the target and finish the play with a breakup in the end zone.

via GIPHY

What he needs to improve:

He looks much more natural running with the ball in his hands than in his back pedal. He is very raw with his footwork out of his transitions and needs some technical development.

Though I think he does a great job being aggressive as a tackler, he catches way too often. Wrap and roll is not bad when it’s necessary, but that seems to be his primary way of getting players to the ground. That can’t stay the case and it’s something that he’ll have to work on.

What’s his ceiling?

Based on the success the Irish have had projecting and converting standout offensive skill players to defensive back under Brian Kelly, Bartleson isn’t a bad bet for the staff to take in hopes of finding similar results.

From Bennett Jackson to Matthias Farley to KeiVarae Russell to Julian Love, it’s hard to argue that it hasn’t worked out pretty well for Notre Dame.

We’ll see if the same thing can happen with Bartleson. He’s long and showed enough flashes at defensive back as a sophomore to suggest he has the talent to do so. It might take him some time to refine his game, but he can become a contributor after a couple of years in the program. I see his future at field corner for the Irish.

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