Notre Dame LB Darius Fleming: Quicker, Lighter, Stronger as NFL Draft Nears

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Notre Dame LB Darius Fleming: Quicker, Lighter, Stronger as NFL Draft Nears
Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images
Fleming has versatility to play 3-4 or 4-3

Looking back at his career with the Fighting Irish, ex-Notre Dame linebacker Darius Fleming said, “I just think I was a bit oversized. I was a little too heavy."

So when the season concluded, Fleming went to EFT Sports Performance and started to transform into the player that NFL teams are now getting excited about.

Surprisingly, Fleming is generating interest from both 3-4 and 4-3 teams, most likely contributing to him shedding 10 pounds since taking his last snap in an Irish uniform.

“I got there at 254. I was kind of heavy," he said. "As I started to do drills at my workout place (EFT Sports Performance), it was evident that I was kind of overweight. Wasn't moving as fluid as I wanted to, so I actually dropped about 10 pounds.

"I'm moving a lot better. My body feels a lot better and feels more comfortable at this weight," he said, now weighing roughly 245 pounds.

Fleming flashed his versatility, finishing near the top in almost every defensive category in his senior season for the Fighting Irish: fifth in tackles (55), third in tackles-for-loss (seven), third in sacks (three) and second in quarterback hurries (seven).

The Chicago native played 50 games, only missing two (2009) in his entire Notre Dame career. Fleming is confident and excited with his new frame, saying, "It's a different story now if I was to go out and play another season; my stats would be totally different."

Heading to the NFL scouting combine, Fleming knew scouts were wary of his speed, but he delivered, running a 4.77 40 and topping that time at his pro day, running it in 4.54.

Fleming knew that once he was able to show his burst and change of direction, it would really change those opinions, and it has. His versatility and size have drawn interest from such teams as the Pittsburgh Steelers, Jacksonville Jaguars, Philadelphia Eagles, and he has a workout scheduled with the Chicago Bears.

“I most admire James Harrison, and I can definitely drop back in coverage, and James can too," the Chicago, Ill. native said. "But I think at the point of attack and coming off the edge, he's a very powerful player, and that's why I try to overpower players, I think, at the point of attack with tight ends and even bigger tackles.

"They kind of underestimate my strength a little bit," he said before joking, "Obviously I have to get a little bit more anger in my game."

 

Unless otherwise noted, all quotes were obtained first-hand.

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