Drue Tranquill: The Redemptive Renaissance Man

With the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine having come and gone, draftniks are left to make sense of the updated football landscape. These times symbolize meteoric falls, climbs and rumors; seemingly coming from every direction. You can call the NFL Scouting Combine what you’d like but we all know what it really is, a seperator.

Aside for separating the good athletes from the bad (perhaps underwhelming might be a little more reasonable), the prospects’ character is also intently put under the microscope. Of course as media members, we are drawn to the negative much more than the positive. It usually makes for a better story.

One player who shined in all the right ways, was former Notre Dame linebacker and two year captain Drue Tranquill.

Drue had a outstanding combine performance athletically, which should quiet any concerns NFL evaluators had concerning the converted safety/rover. And in what appears to be a linebacker class with a lot of questions outside of Devin White (LSU) and Devin Bush (Michigan), such a performance may vault the fifth year senior into day two territory.

 

 

Size

40 Time

Bench Press

Vertical

Broad Jump

3 Cone

20 yard shuttle

60 yard shuttle

Drue Tranquill

6’2” 234 lbs

4.57

31 reps

37.5 inches

10’2”

6.94

4.14

11.64

 

What can not be captured in any excel spread sheet, is just what type of person, leader and ambassador to the University of Notre Dame Drue Tranquill is.

Once upon a time, Tranquill was a four star high school safety recruit who was previously committed to continuing his education at the University of Purdue. On November 19, 2013, Tranquill made a decision that would forever alter his life forever; he chose the University of Notre Dame.

The 6’2” 234 pounder began his Irish career as a strong safety, quickly asserting himself as a player that could not be kept off the field.

Much of Tranquill’s first two season on campus were lost to two separate ACL injuries to the same leg. After the 2015  season, it was questionable whether Tranquill would ever make a lasting impact on the field.

That all changed in 2016, when the then redshirt sophomore was able to finish the first of three full consecutive seasons to end his career.

2016 saw him start every game at the safety position. While he made some great strides as a football player, specifically running the alley and coming down into the box like a bat out of hell, he never truly seemed to fit the mold of a traditional full time safety.

With the hiring of former Wake Forest defensive coordinator Mike Elko in the same capacity for the Irish, for the first time, Drue seemed to have a role that fit his skill set perfectly. That position of course is Elko’s rover spot in his 4-2-5 base defense. This role of half linebacker, half slot defender seemed to fit his skill set perfectly.

But then, necessity hit. 2017 senior starting inside linebacker Nyles Morgan exhausted his eligibility, creating a rather large hole next to rising senior and fellow 2019 NFL Draft prospect Te’von Coney.

Instead of taking a gamble on one of the younger linebackers in the program, Brian Kelly and first year defensive coordinator Clark Lea decided on moving the two time captain to the BUCK position to combat the loss of Nyles, and in result, creating an incredible pairing inside at linebacker with Drue and Te’von.

Now here we are, almost a full year since that decision was made. Due to that decision, Mr. Tranquill is in line to have a huge pay day. On film, Tranquill’s former life in the secondary shows up big time. He has a great feel and solid hips in the pass game, showing the ability to settle into zone responsibilities or even carry tight ends/backs in man to man coverage.

There is room to grow as far as run fits are concerned, mostly due to lack of experience. Everything is clearly still new, showing an inconsistency in angles when attacking run plays off tackle and coming far too shallow when sifting through trash against zone concepts. However, the two time captain is super physical and intelligent enough to continue to adapt and grow at the new position.

At one time it was questionable what you would get out of Tranqill in the long run. Back to back ACL tears would surely test even the bravest of soldiers, but the young man’s faith never wavered.

And now as he exits the Fighting Irish program, he leaves as my favorite player of all time. At times, his character almost felt too good to be true. He is everything a program would choose to represent them onto the field. That confidence exudes and goes beyond even what the most extremists would expect.

And while most would have lived up their final year on campus, Drue remained the same ambassador he always was, while even adding a couple new soldiers to the troop (his newly wed wife Jackie and first born on the way).

When we all look back on Drue Tranquill’s combine performance, the numbers will pop off the page, but that is not what I will remember most. I will reminisce about the Irish legend clapping in between drills. Establishing himself, even amongst the best peers across the country, as a spokesperson for what everyone would hope in a half football player, half hero.





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