Ben Bradley Commits to Auburn: What 4-Star JUCO DT Brings to Tigers' Defense

Andrew KulhaSenior Analyst IIIJanuary 8, 2013

Via 247Sports
Via 247Sports

The Auburn Tigers have received a very big commitment from 4-star JUCO defensive tackle Ben Bradley.

Bradley is an extremely talented JUCO player and he'll be an important part of Auburn's defense moving into the future. He's 6'2'', 302 pounds and is ranked as the No. 5 JUCO defenisve tackle in the nation, according to the 247Sports Composite Rankings.

Bob Przybylo of reported on Bradley's big decision:

Bradley ended a month worth of drama by announcing his commitment to Auburn via Twitter on Monday afternoon. 

Bradley, who is 6-foot-3 and 310 pounds, picked the Tigers over Kentucky, Nebraska and Missouri. He is ranked No. 44 in the ESPN JC 100. 

“I learned a lot over this last month about not worrying about pleasing others but about where the right place is for me to be a champion,” Bradley said. “I know now Auburn is the right place for me.” 

The importance of this commitment can't be overstated for Auburn. Bradley has the potential to be very good, especially with 5-star defensive ends Carl Lawson and Dee Liner on the line with him (assuming Auburn can hold on to their respective commitments), and he has the perfect skill-set to really shine at Auburn.

Where Bradley will really thrive is against the run.

He's a very big defender that displays incredible strength. He's able to get a good push off the line and he could play 1-tech or 3-tech and demand double teams. Bradley is much more than a gap-filler, though. He has incredible athleticism and great quickness as a defender.

Once he engages the blocker he has the uncanny ability to slide off by using his hands or just his natural agility, and he's very good at reading the flow of the blocks, coming down the line, avoiding the wash and making a strong tackle.

Bradley also displays the ability to disengage the blocker and make a play when the run is coming towards him.

In the pictures below you'll get a very good look at his skill set, albeit from his 2010 highlights. He starts off the play in the 3-technique, which means he's lined up on the outside shoulder of the guard. 

Notice how he's able to get a big push at the snap. You can clearly see that he pushes the blocker well off the line of scrimmage.

Next, he realizes that the play is headed to his outside, so he's able to free his outside shoulder which allows him to get into position to make a play.

From there he's able to move down the line of scrimmage laterally and make a good tackle.

In this one play Bradley displays strength, technique, agility and fundamentals, and that's exactly what he'll be bringing to Auburn's defense.

If Gus Malzahn can keep Lawson and Liner committed, those two alone will be able to force the ball inside off the edges, and that will allow Bradley to make a ton of plays.

This may not have been a great year for Auburn football, but the future is very bright.

Bradley is going to be a huge part of that future as an important player on Auburn's defensive front.

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