Minnesota defensive end Jashon Cornell is considered one of America's most disruptive playmakers off the edge. The 6'4", 270-pound prospect picks apart opposing offensive attacks, earning accolades as a 5-star recruit.
Cornell plays for Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul, where he tallied 70 tackles and 15 sacks as a junior. He's been a consistent threat throughout his high school career, compiling at least 20 tackles for loss during each of the past two seasons.
The 2013 MaxPreps All-American selection has assembled a lengthy list of collegiate options. Cornell claims offers from Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan State, along with dozens of other programs.
His developing physicality and menacing style of play set him apart from a talented pack of linemen in the 2015 recruiting class. He is rated the nation's No. 3 weak-side defensive end and No. 30 overall prospect in 247Sports' composite rankings.
We broke down the game film to develop a better understanding of what makes Cornell such a compelling prospect and where he can still make strides.
|Hometown||St. Paul, Minn.|
|Size||6'4", 270 lbs.|
|Rankings||No. 3 weak-side DE; No. 30 overall prospect; No. 1 player in Minnesota|
|Key Offers||Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, Iowa, Arkansas, Minnesota, Ohio State, UCLA, Wisconsin|
Cornell carries considerable weight at defensive end for his age, but that's clearly not a detriment to his effectiveness. He displays an explosive first step that consistently gives him a substantial angle advantage against outmatched offensive linemen.
He doesn't simply run downfield without surveying the direction of an offensive play. Cornell establishes the outside edge and does an admirable job disengaging from blockers when it's time to extend the defensive perimeter.
Cornell uses a balanced lateral shuffle to make up ground without sacrificing stability in the trenches. This short-area quickness results in absolute dominance along the line of scrimmage, where he identifies ball location and swiftly reacts with impressive burst.
When it comes time to attack the football, Cornell is simply ferocious. Some players waste movement in their pursuit, but he's a true closer as a tackler.
Cornell swallows up ball-carriers with an ideal wingspan. His length also comes in handy while disrupting the pocket, where he regularly closes in on quarterbacks.
His speed translates well along the interior as well, as he beats blockers to the gap, breaks up trap attempts and wreaks havoc. Cornell could certainly hold his own in a 5-technique setting, and is an intriguing 3-technique candidate when coaches look to provide a pass rush up the middle.
Aside from nose tackle, there isn't a position where Cornell doesn't seem qualified to compete on a consistent basis. This versatility enhances his value at the next level.
Cornell implements a highly effective initial punch off the snap but there's more he can do to actively engage and dismantle opponents with his hands. Instead of latching on and using his raw power to bully blockers, he'll need to develop consistent hand placement and understand how to use that asset at the next level.
His reach and strength enable him to get away with a slight lack of technique, but those are the kind of details that ultimately separate situational contributors from every-down defenders in college. Cornell can become a bigger force in pass-rush situations by throwing some finesse moves into his arsenal.
Cornell's balance is outstanding, but he occasionally discards proper pad level fundamentals at the point of impact as a tackler. Continuous knee bend will allow him to maintain the gap, while prepared to surge laterally with more fluidity if a ball-carrier suddenly darts in an unexpected direction.
Standing tall in the backfield is a good way to get burnt by shifty running backs and elusive quarterbacks.
Cornell is a prototypical defensive end in a four-man front but his abilities are not limited to any particular scheme. Regardless of where he ends up in 2015, the coaching staff will have options to assess dependent on particular positional needs within the program.
If his frame continues to expand during the next year, a future at defensive tackle becomes a stronger possibility. Cornell is physical and fundamental enough to earn significant snaps as freshman.
There's plenty to like about this dynamic defender and versatility is always in high demand at any level of football. Expect Cornell to land atop recruiting boards across the country when staffs sit down to prioritize for the final stretch of this recruiting cycle.
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