Yannick Ngakoue: Breaking Down What 4-Star Linebacker Brings to Maryland

Joseph ZuckerFeatured ColumnistFebruary 6, 2013

Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com
Photo courtesy of 247Sports.com

The Maryland Terrapins defense has been bolstered by securing 4-star linebacker Yannick Ngakoue.

Ngakoue is now the fourth player from Friendship Collegiate Academy to sign with the Terrapins, with Derwin Gray, Cavon Walker and Jermaine Carter coming before him.

It was the allure of home that enticed Ngakoue to choose Maryland. Roman Stubbs of The Washington Post quoted Ngakoue as saying:

“My mother. . . I wanted her to see me play,” Ngakoue said of the decision to stay close to home. “And also I wanted to ball for my city, because Maryland has been the underdog for a long time, and I know if all my teammates stay, and the next class stayed, 2014, 2013 and so on, we would have a national championship team.”

It's a pretty big get for third-year head coach Randy Edsall. Ngakoue is ranked as the 315th-best prospect in the country and 18th-best inside linebacker, according to 247Sports.com's composite rankings.

Despite being listed as an inside linebacker, Ngakoue has the kind of game that can adapt to various positions on the field. During his senior season, there wasn't a position in the front seven he didn't play at some point during the year.

A lot of his position in college will depend on how he grows. At 6'2" and 240 lbs, Ngakoue has the size of a linebacker but could easily fit on the defensive line should he bulk up a little bit.

According to The Washington Post, Ngakoue racked up 17 sacks and took two fumbles to the house in his senior season at Friendship. With those numbers in mind, you could easily see him move out a bit more to the edge and become a pass-rusher.

He has the speed to be able to fly around the field, and Ngakoue's physicality will be a huge asset with the Terrapins. He isn't afraid to get down and dirty with offensive players.

Ngakoue will need to add some strength. Otherwise, he'll get bullied around by stronger blockers and running backs and won't be able to fully progress as a player.

In addition, the linebacker has a tendency to fly around the field with a bit of reckless abandon. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but his on-field awareness isn't the best, so he can be caught out of position a little bit.

While he could compensate for that a bit in high school, it's something that won't serve him very well in college.

Overall, it's a very good fit for Ngakoue. Although the Terrapins are losing some players on defense, the unit that ranked 21st in the nation will allow Ngakoue to get used to college football before he's asked to make an impact.