There's an obsession in football prospect evaluation with length and for good reason. Length means getting your hands on the football that someone else might not be able to reach. Length means jamming a receiver that fraction of a second quicker. Length means keeping pass rushers away from an offensive linemen's frame.
On the opposite side of that, defensive linemen use length to control and shed blockers. They also use it to grab a hold of an opponent and counter the length of an offensive lineman when rushing the passer. This is why defensive end Jason Scrempos has so much potential at the next level. He has the length that every defensive line coach wants in a player.
The Milipitas, California native committed to the University of Washington last night and has the kind of measurables that should have Husky fans excited about his future in Seattle.
The scary thing about Scrempos is that he has not even learned how to best use his long arms yet. He is extremely raw as a pass rusher and in disengaging from blocks against the run. He wins in high school with his size and athleticism. He has not yet developed the hand violence that could make him a borderline unblockable player at the next level.
I wish it was as simple as saying that a player needs to develop his hands to be a better player and then they just went out and did it. The reality is that it's a really difficult thing to do and takes time to work on it. It's a big reason why Scrempos is a 3 star player rather than a 4 star.
What makes me believe that Scrempos can develop his hands though is the effort he plays with.
He is relentless in how he fights to get to the football. Here's one example of what I'm talking about.
Scrempos actually starts the play unprepared because he got shuffled over to the other side of the formation just before the snap.
He's nowhere close to the quarterback on the play. He avoided the block, but he essentially should have no business being involved in the play because he took too long to get rid of his blocker. This is a point when a lot of players give up.
Scrempos went from completely out of the play to breathing down the quarterback's neck.
He gets to the quarterback to deliver a hit just as the ball is released. (It went incomplete.) That is all effort and awesome to see.
There is no denying Scrempos is far from a finished product. Like most players 6'6", his pad level is inconsistent and although he has great length, he doesn't quite know how to utilize it yet.
The raw tools are there though and the effort he plays with suggests that he'd be the kind of player willing to work to get better at using those tools. He reminds me a lot of a player that I got the chance to play with in college that had similar measurables and also came from the same league in northern California. I don't know if he'll end up developing the way Jared Allen did, but he has a very similar frame and plays with the same kind of relentless effort that Allen did and still does in the NFL.
The Huskies picked up a really good player to work with in Scrempos.