LOOKING AT THE 2010 NFL DRAFT SLEEPERS
BATTEN IS ONE JACKRABBIT WHO ROARS LIKE A LION
By Dave-Te’ Thomas, The NFL Draft Report
For those that have read my scouting reports on NFLdraftscout.com, Cbssportsline.com and NFL.com, you know I pull no punches when it comes to evaluating talent. While the NFL Draft has become the second-biggest media event by the league, outside the Super Bowl, draftniks are always on the lookout for the “hidden talents” in the collegiate ranks. Over the next few months, I will take you on a trip through the NCAA to introduce you to the Rip Van Winkles, the Super Sleepers, the players that may not be well-known to the “draft nation,” but are sure to make their marks in the NFL training camps next year.
With the speed of defensive linemen starting to rival that of wide receivers, teams are clamoring for not only an elite pass rusher, but are also looking for those that have great run stuffing ability. With the 3-4 alignments becoming the new “vogue” in the NFL, finding cat-quick defenders has become a premium.
The small college ranks have provided the league with some very impressive Pro Bowl caliber talent over the years, from Deacon Jones-South Carolina State, Mark Gastineau-East Central (Okla.), Charles Haley-James Madison, Hugh Douglas-Central State (Oh.), Michael Strahan-Texas Southern from previous generations to Robert Mathis-Alabama A&M and Jared Allen-Idaho State, to name just a few, they all burst on to the NFL fields and flourished at their task at hand – harass the quarterback and stop the run.
This year, South Dakota State boasts one of the most consistent down linemen eligible for the 2010 Draft – Danny Batten, a model of consistency who has dominated in the trenches, despite playing against offensive tackles that have averaged more that 67 pounds more than the Arizona native packs on his frame. Yet, by the end of every game, that offensive lineman is the one packing himself in ice, licking his wounds and knowing he lost the “Davey vs. Goliath” battle to this relentless Jackrabbit.
Below is my overview, scouting report and some season highlights on a player that just may one day join the elite class of small college turned superstars mentioned above;
DANIEL “Danny” BATTEN Defensive End/Outside Linebacker South Dakota State University Jackrabbits #54 6:02.7-254 Gilbert, Arizona Mesquite High School
The talented senior enters his fourth season as a starter, but he has also been the “heart and soul” of the Jackrabbits’ defense since stepping on the field as a freshman, going on to start 35 of the 36 games he appeared in for the university. A relentless pass rusher, he has registered 15.5 quarterback sacks, 40.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and 23 pressures for South Dakota State. Ten of his pressures caused interceptions, while two others produced fumbles and two resulted in safeties. To date, he has produced twenty turnovers on the field, as the Jackrabbits converted twelve them into scores (eight touch-down drives, two more that ended with field goals and two safeties).
But, there is much more to Batten’s game that just getting to the quarterback. Few defensive linemen boast the pass coverage ability that #54 has. With his superb quickness and change of direction agility, he has prevented receivers from getting to 80-of-100 passes targeted into his area (20.00 pass completion percentage). The opposition managed just 132 yards on the 20 receptions made vs. the weak-side defensive end, an average of 6.6 yards per pass completion and 1.32 yards per pass attempt (latter figure is the lowest for any active Football Championship Subdivision player).
The well-rounded Batten has also been a dominant force vs. the run. To date, he has made 188 plays vs. the ground game, holding the opposing ball carriers to only 173 yards, an average of 0.92 yards per rushing attempt. He registered 28 third-down stops and eight more on fourth-down plays vs. the running attack, making 53 total tackles for loss (solos/assists) while stopping runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain 38 times. Just 20 of those 188 running plays he was involved in resulted in first downs for the opposition (10.64%).
At Mesquite High School, Batten excelled on the football field as a defensive end and tight end. He earned All-Conference and All-Fiesta League Class 5A first-team accolades, in addition to receiving All-State honorable mention. As a senior, he recorded 144 tackles with seven quarterback sacks. On offense, he scored four times on nine receptions for 222 yards, as he led the league with a receiving average of 24.67 yards (Hamilton High’s Zack Hanneman was second in the league with a 19.74-yard average in 2004). He also carried five times for 57 yards (11.4 avg) and registered 55 knockdown blocks.
In his final prep campaign, the Wildcats managed to win just three of ten games, but Batten provided the fan base with some memorable moments. He opened that season with nine solo tackles and a sack, adding a 28-yard reception and three carries for 121 yards vs. North (Phoenix) High. In that game, he also brought the crowds to its feet with a bone-jarring block on defensive end Luis Villarreal that allowed QB Aaron Mendoza to find Kevin Gallas with an 80-yard touchdown toss.
Batten scored on a 7-yard grab and delivered eleven tackles (8 solos) that included a sack and three stops for loss in a 49-0 rout of San Luis High. In the Desert Vista High clash, he posted twelve tackles to go with 45 yards on two carries, including a third-down run where he broke four tackles en route to a 35-yard gain that led to a Wildcats touchdown.
Perhaps his finest game came in a tough 28-19 loss to Chandler High School. Batten ran over safety Taylor Spears for a 5-yard catch-&-run into the end zone in the second quarter. In the third stanza, he beat linebacker Ricky Moore and cornerback Kevin Good to snatch a career-long 80-yard touchdown pass from Aaron Mendoza, as the tight end also came up with ten tackles and a sack to finish his day’s work. In addition to his exploits on the gridiron, he also competed for the school’s rugby team, garnering All-State first-team recognition.
Batten enrolled at South Dakota State in 2005. He entered fall camp listed third on the depth chart at weak-side defensive end, but it was obvious to former head coach John Stiegelmeier and his staff that the youngster was by far better than Jason Nobiling and Brad Herman. By the time the season opener rolled around, Batten was in the starting lineup, answering the opening gun for 10-of-11 games that year.
He was a member of The Gridiron Report’s Division 1-AA Freshman All-American third-team and their Freshman All-Great West Football Conference first-team squads. Batten ranked eighth on the team with 46 tackles (15 solos), as he finished third on the unit with nine stops for loss that included 1.5 sacks. He added four pressures and also recovered a fumble. Opponents averaged 154.6 yards per game rushing vs. the Jackrabbits, but vs. Batten, the defensive end allowed just 55 yards on 46 carries (1.2 ypc) into his area.
Batten’s freshman campaign garnered him the media attention he needed entering 2007. He was an All-American honorable mention and All-Great West Football Conference first-team pick, as he totaled 67 tackles (25 solos) with 4.5 sacks, finishing second on the squad with twelve stops behind the line of scrimmage to go with six pressures. He recovered two fumbles, caused another and broke up two passes.
The Jackrabbits gave up 176.2 yards per game on the ground that year, but against Batten, the opposition managed a miniscule 54 yards on 65 carries (0.83 ypc). The defensive end made eight third-down stops and three more on fourth-down vs. the run and against the pass, teams would complete only 19.35% of the passes thrown into his area (6-of-31) for 37 yards.
As a junior, Batten was a second-team All-American choice by The NFL Draft Report, receiving national honorable mention from College Sporting News. He recorded a career-high 75 tackles (36 solos), the fourth-best total on the team, as the Doug Miller Award recipient (team’s defensive MVP) was also a first-team All-Missouri Valley Conference selection. He led the squad with eight sacks and ranked second in the conference with 16.0 stops for loss, adding eleven pressures, two forced fumbles and an interception.
Against the run, Batten made 71 plays, as the opposition totaled 79 yards (1.11 ypc) on the ground. In pass coverage, he allowed just 7-of-43 passes into his area to be completed (16.28%) for 64 yards, an average of 1.19 yards per pass attempt, the lowest total of any defensive player in the FCS ranks for 2008.
Batten continued his stellar performances into the 2009 season. He led a swarming defense that registered nine sacks vs. Georgia Southern and then limited Indiana State to 90 yards in total offense. The defensive end was credited with 1.5 sacks and 3.5 stops for loss to go with a pair of pressures, including one that caused an interception. He added eleven tackles, as he caused a fumble and broke up a pass.
Batten appeared in 36 games for the Jackrabbits, starting all but the 2006 McNeese State contest…Recorded 201 tackles (80 solos) with 15.5 sacks for minus 90 yards, 40.5 stops for losses of 151 yards and 23 quarterback pressures…Among the team’s annual leaders, his eight sacks in 2008 are surpassed by only Mark Dunbar (21.0 in 1978), Eric Cohen (10.0 in 1979), Jim Remme (10.5 in 1992) and Jeff Wolgamott (11.5 in 1997)…Batten added three fumble recoveries, four forced fumbles and a blocked kick, as he deflected four passes, intercepted another for a 24-yard return and had an 11-yard kickoff return…Produced 20 turnovers, as the Jackrabbits converted twelve of them into scores (eight touchdown drives and two more that ended with field goals, along with two safeties)…On 188 plays vs. the ground game, he allowed his opponents to gain just 173 yards (0.92 ypc), as he registered 28 third-down hits, eight more on fourth-down snaps and stopped opposing ball carriers 38 times at the line of scrimmage for no gain…On 100 plays vs. passes in his area, he rerouted receivers away from 51 of those throws, as the opposition completed 20 passes (20.00%) for 131 yards, an average of 6.6 yards per pass completion and 1.32 yards per pass attempt (pass attempt average is the lowest of any active FCS player). Only six of those receptions produced first downs, as he registered 32 third-down plays and one more on fourth-down vs. the aerial game…Collected 33 of his tackles inside the red zone, with 14 coming on goal-line plays.
2009 Best Games Georgia Southern, Indiana State
2009 Worst Games None
2008 Best Games Youngstown State, Western Illinois, Northern Iowa, Stephen F. Austin, McNeese State, Indiana State, Illinois State
2008 Worst Games Cal Poly, Missouri State
2007 Best Games Western Illinois, Texas State, Stephen F. Austin, Georgia Southern, Cal Poly, Southern Utah State, North Dakota State
2007 Worst Games Youngstown State, Cal-Davis
Body Structure Batten has a well-built frame with good chest thickness and defined arms and legs. He could stand to add at least another fifteen pounds of bulk, if he is to play on the defensive line at the next level, but he does not have the big bubble and wide hips you look for in a down lineman, making a move to linebacker more likely. He shows above average lower body agility with straight, muscled calves and thighs. He is proportionately built in his upper body, with good hand size and strength to shed blocks vs. bigger offensive linemen.
Athletic Ability Batten shows above average change of direction skills, making a more to linebacker a better fit for a player of his size, athleticism and lack of bulk that you look for in a down lineman. He has that sudden burst to surprise a lethargic offensive lineman and plays at full speed all the time, yet he has the balance and recovery quickness to get right back into the play if he over-pursues. He runs with a quick, easy stride and knows how to put on the “afterburners” and accelerate when he sees he has a chance to get to the quarter-back (see 2008 Western Illinois and Illinois State games). He shows the flexibility needed to bend and flatten to the QB, as he uses his hands well, combining them with his speed and shake to defeat blocks at the point of attack. He displays very good agility working through traffic and down the line of scrimmage, using his hands effectively to avoid the low leg blocks. He is sudden bending the corner and covers ground in an instant vs. the outside run, taking proper angles to pinch the action back inside…GRADE-6.6
Football Sense Batten is a smart, alert player who is very capable of taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field. He is combative in the trenches, yet knows it is better to “out smart” the bigger blockers and avoid them rather than get into one-on-one battles (see Indiana State and Illinois State games). He has a good feel for the flow of the game and it is rare to see him bite on play action or misdirection. With his keen vision, he is quick to locate the ball, evident by the fact that no runner or receiver has scored on him through 35 games. He plays with his head on a swivel and shows good instincts closing on the ball and the QB, thanks to his keen knowledge for angling…GRADE-7.2
Character Batten is a classic blue chip player with a blue collar work ethic. He is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave practices and puts in the extra effort in the film room to prepare for his upcoming opponent. He has no known off-field issues and is used as an example by the coaching staff when it comes to showing younger players what is expected from a South Dakota State football player…GRADE-6.5
Competitiveness Batten plays with a non-stop motor that the Detroit car manufacturers wish they had in their automobiles. He is constantly on the move, evident by the fact that more than 30% (30.66%) of his tackles made in 2008 came out of his territory. He plays hard until the whistle and can be feisty and nasty when trying to shed blockers. He is a collision-type tackler who is not afraid to stick his “hat” into the action. Football is very important to him and any professional staff needs to realize that he is a player who will never back down and does his best to give all that he has on the field… GRADE-6.8
Work Habits Batten is a tireless worker who can be a verbal leader, but will generally let his actions speak volumes for his character. He needs to continue increasing his weight room totals in order to compete with the more physical blockers inside the box that he will face next year in the NFL, but he is a self-motivated sort who does not hesitate to put in the extra hours needed to refine his craft…GRADE-6.5
Explosion/Pursuit To say that Batten is explosive off the snap would be an understatement. He can get on the edge and keep advantage with the best in the 2010 draft class and while he is sudden coming out of his stance, he also has a good feel for knowing when he needs to burst and close on the QB (see 2008 Iowa State, Youngstown State, Northern Iowa, Indiana State and North Dakota State games). With the suddenness in his initial step, he is able to get up field and turn his shoulders to bring pressure off the edge. He also shows good short area quickness, relishing jamming or rerouting tight ends, slot receivers and backs working the underneath passing game (see 2008 Western Illinois and Illinois State games). With his change of direction agility and balance, he looks at ease when having to redirect and take on opponents in the short area passing game… GRADE-7.0
Strength at Point Batten is a savvy player who hits with a thud and is an efficient wrap-up tackler, but he lacks the “sand in his pants” to take on bigger offensive linemen in one-on-one battles, as he relies more on his suddenness to defeat blocks than raw power. Despite being out-weighed by more than 50 pounds to his opponent, Batten might lack the mass to stall a double team at the next level, but he will use his hands swipes with good efficiency to split some of that coverage and he always competes until the whistle. He knows how to use his upper body strength and leverage at his level of play, but because of a lack of bulk, he will be much more effective standing up as a linebacker than playing a down line position…GRADE-5.8
Use of Hands Batten compensates for a lack of bulk with great hand usage. He looks natural keeping them inside his frame, knowing how to keep blockers off his feet. He uses and keeps his hands very active in attempts to shed and will surprise a lethargic blocker with the thud he puts behind his arm swipes and hand punch. That is why he is able to compete well vs. bigger people, thanks to his leverage and proper use of his hands and feet. He has a “no quit” attitude combating blocks on the move and shows above average hand placement to get off second level blockers to make tackles in pursuit (see 2008 Indiana State and Illinois State games and 2009 Georgia Southern clash). With those active hands, he’s had good success shedding and falling underneath, as he has that natural chop and swipe off the line to get a blocker reeling back on his heels…GRADE-7.3
Lateral Pursuit/Effort Moving Batten to linebacker would be a natural, thanks to his change of direction agility. He plays with a relentless motor and constantly is in the backfield to apply pressure or run down plays from behind the line (see 2008 Indiana State and 2009 Georgia Southern games). He is very effective when needed to bend down the line and shows no hesitation when laying out to make plays on the move. He has good chase speed to get downfield and deliver impact hits from the backside. His balance is evident by the way he keeps going through traffic to close on the ball with urgency… GRADE-6.6
Tackling Ability Batten is showing marked improvement as a wrap-up tackler since his sophomore year. He is a physical striker who does not soften when colliding and plays with good intensity, knowing how to take the outside leg of the ball carrier out to prevent the runner from picking up additional yards falling forward after the initial hit. He works hard to finish when chasing down the quarterback and gives 100% to make plays all over the field. The only time he gets in trouble is when he lunges in attempts to drag and grab, as he tends to slide off those hits, at times (see 2008 Cal Poly and 2007 Cal-Davis games)…GRADE-6.2
Run Defense Batten shows good hand usage and the ability to cross the face of an offensive lineman or lead blocker, as he plays with leverage, showing good engagement and shedding ability when he does not try to stand in the trenches and simply battle it out with a bigger opponent. Because of his active hands and decent arm extension, it is hard for blockers to reach him, as he always does a nice job of keeping his feet free, especially when taking on double teams. To date, he has made 184 plays vs. the ground game, limiting those runners to 174 yards (0.95 ypc), as just 20 of those runs produced first downs and only six of those attempts resulted in gains of 10 yards or longer. Evidence of his impact hitting ability is the fact that he has made 51 plays for loss and stopped ball carriers for no gain on 35 other carries. You can see on film the quickness in his hands when shedding one-on-one blocks. He can beat the tight end in time to make plays on the move and likes to swim at the five-tech vs. turn-out blocks. When he gets his hands inside and gets his shoulders turned up field, he has great success utilizing his rip moves to stay active at the point of attack…GRADE-7.5
Pass Rush Batten is developing good pass rush moves, but must rely more on avoiding blockers to generate the backside pursuit he enjoys on the way to the QB. He shows very good dip and body lean coming off the edge and has the flexibility and sudden burst to leave the bigger offensive tackles grabbing at air while he arrives “home” with a big sack on the passer (see 2007 and 2009 Georgia Southern games and 2008 Western Illinois and Southern Illinois contests). His feet and hands are generally active in pursuit, as he shows the flexibility to flatten. The thing I see most on film is his shake and counter ability, along with the shoulder dip that makes it difficult for a blocker to telegraph his moves…GRADE-6.3
Closing on the QB Batten seems to relish his ability to get into the backfield, as ten of his 22 QB pressures have resulted in turnovers (see 2007 Northern Iowa and Southern Utah games, 2008 Youngstown State, Indiana State and North Dakota contests and 2009 Georgia Southern clash). He is very creative working the offensive lineman and has that burst to consistently finish when he gets a lane to the passer. There is no hesitation in his back-side charge and he does a good job of changing speeds when he sets himself free in attempts to close. He has the balance and feet to close well down field and with his short area burst, he would be an ideal blitzer from the strong-side linebacker position…GRADE-7.0
Instincts/Recognition Batten is instinctive to backfield movement and shows good eyes recognizing blocking schemes. He is quick to react when he sees the plays develop and uses his hands well to work the blocker or accelerate off the edge. He is quick to play off the block and spill inside, displaying the instincts to find the quarterback in a hurry. The only thing lacking a bit is that he does not seem to be always alert to chances for batting down the ball at the line of scrimmage. He works his feet effectively to get down the line of scrimmage and when he recognizes the outside threat, he is good at holding the edge vs. the perimeter run…GRADE-6.4
A consensus preseason All-American and All-Missouri Valley Conference first-team choice, Batten was rated the best defensive athlete in the Football Championship Sub-division ranks by The NFL Draft Report…Among the first group of four players to be named to the preseason watch list for the Buck Buchanan Award, which is presented by the Sports Network to the Division I FCS's top defensive player…Named one of the team’s five captains for the season…The weak-side defensive end guides a unit that ranks second in the nation in pass efficiency defense (77.18 rating), sacks registered (5.0 spg) and total defense (166.5 ypg) and leads the FCS in rush defense (18.0 ypg) and scoring defense (3.00 ppg)…Recorded 11 tackles (4 solos) with two sacks for minus 10 yards, 3.5 stops for losses of 20 yards and two QB pressures, as one of those hurries caused an interception…Caused one fumble and deflected one pass…Stopped opposing ball carriers for minus 15 yards (-2.5 ypc) on six running plays, as he tackled runners at the line of scrimmage for no gain three times…Against the pass, the opposition completed 7-of-15 throws into his area (46.67%) for 31 yards, an average of 4.43 yards per pass completion and 2.07 yards per pass attempt, as he rerouted receivers away from six tosses and made eight third-down stops vs. the aerial game.
2009 GAME ANALYSIS
Georgia Southern…Batten led a swarming defense that registered nine sacks in a 44-6 victory, as the senior defensive end was in on six tackles (4 solos) that included 1.5 sacks for minus 10 yards, 2.5 stops for losses of 18 yards, a QB pressure that caused an interception, a forced fumble that set up a Jackrabbits touchdown drive and a pass break-up, helping hold GSU to 21 yards on the ground and 243 total yards…Batten sniffed out the screen on the Eagles’ game opening drive, making his first tackle for the season when he brought down Adam Urbano on a 1-yard catch…Later in the first stanza, his stunts up front saw his coverage assignment, offensive tackle Daniel Few get called for false starts twice on that series, including on a third-down snap, as Batten also caused Garryon Taylor to drop a certain pass reception and on third-&-12, the defensive end rerouted Mitch Williford away from a Lee Chapple swing pass, forcing GSU to settle for a 46-yard field goal to salvage some points from that 11-play, 53-yard possession…Tailback Darreion Robinson was clobbered in the backfield by Batten for an 8-yard loss on a second quarter pass play. On the next snap, the defensive end raced past offensive tackle William Maxwell, pressuring Chapple out of the pocket, as the QB’s ill-advised pass was picked off by the Jackrabbits’ General Parnell for a 6-yard return…On GSU’s next drive, Batten again attacked Chapple, sacking the passer for an 8-yard loss, causing a fumble on the play that was recovered by SDSU’s Derek Domino at the GSU 16, setting up a 2-yard touchdown run by the Jackrabbits’ Kyle Minett that gave the team a 10-3 lead they would not relinquish…With time about to expire in the first half, Batten gave Chapple something to remember in the locker room, flipping the QB to the ground on a 6-yard sack…In the third quarter, the defensive end went up and over Mitch Williford to knock a Chapple pass out of the slot receiver’s hands. On the next play, third-&-9, he prevented Garryon Taylor from getting into his route, thus causing an incomplete toss and making GSU settle for a 36-yard field goal to end a 61-yard, 13-play series…Record Watch-Batten’s forced fumble marked the 20th time in his career that he caused a turnover in a game (three via caused fumbles, ten on pressures that caused interceptions, one on a pressure that caused a fumble, two on pressures that resulted in safeties, one on an interception and three on fumble recoveries) and also marked the 12th time his turnover led to an SDSU score two safeties, two field goals and eight touchdown drives)…Head to Head Competition-OT#51-William Maxwell (6:02-294) and #73-Daniel Few (6:04-273)…Batten Defensive Impact-The defensive end made two of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to minus 14 yards (-7.00 ypc), adding 1.5 sacks and 2.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he posted two tackles inside the red zone…Against the pass, the opposition completed 4-of-8 passes (50.00%) targeted into his area for 17 yards, as he had one stop for a loss, made three third-down plays and prevented his assignment from getting to three pass attempts…The defense allowed 11 yards and no touchdowns on 21 carries (0.52 ypc), and 243 total yards on 75 plays (3.24 yards per attempt).
Indiana State…The Sycamores could not handle Batten, who led a swarming defense that held ISU to 90 total yards, as the defensive captain posted seven tackles with a pressure and assisted on a pair of stops behind the line of scrimmage…Midway through the first quarter, he sent Darrius Gates to the sidelines after flattening the runner at the line of scrimmage for no gain…Gates would pull down a third-down toss for 9 yards before the defensive end tackled him, as Batten would then force ISU to punt on that seven-play series when he pressured QB Travis Johnson on a third-&-8 pass intended for tight end Michael Mardis…Batten caused ISU to punt again late in the first half, as he sniffed out the screen, taking down Antoine Brown for a 2-yard loss on a third-&-4 lob from Johnson. The ensuing punt was blocked and the Jackrabbits then converted that possession into a 17-yard touchdown play on a pass from QB Ryan Crawford to Mike Steffen…On the final play of the second quarter, Gates tried an end around, only to be captured by Batten at the line of scrimmage for no gain…The Sycamores’ first series of the second half came to an end with another punt, as Batten tackled Michael Mardis a yard short of a first down on the tight end’s third-&-8 catch…Antoine Brown tried to turn the corner on a third quarter run, only to see Batten zero in on him with a crunching shot at the line of scrimmage, marking the third time in the game an ISU runner failed to gain yardage on the defensive end. Batten would then end that drive by jamming Tanner Riley on a third-&-10 incomplete pass from Johnson, as ISU again punted…Another ISU punt came in the fourth quarter after Batten brought down Brown in the backfield for a 1-yard loss on a rushing attempt…The defensive captain would be penalized for roughing up Johnson on ISU’s next drive, but made up for that miscue by rerouting Ryan Roberts away from Johnson’s third-&-9 sideline toss…Head to Head Competition-OT#73-Mike Smith (6:03-310)…Batten Defensive Impact-The defensive end made four of his stops vs. the run, holding the opposition to minus one yard, adding two assisted stops behind the line of scrimmage and a QB pressure, as he made one third-down stop vs. the run…Against the pass, the opposition completed 3-of-7 passes (42.86%) targeted into his area for 14 yards, as he had one stop for a loss of 2 yards, made five third-down plays and prevented his assignment from getting to three pass attempts…The defense allowed 25 yards and no touchdowns on 24 carries (1.04 ypc), and 90 total yards on 49 plays (1.84 yards per attempt).
All-American second-team selection by The NFL Draft Report, earning honorable mention from College Sporting News…First-team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference choice and the recipient of the Doug Miller Award, given to the team’s Defensive Most Valuable Player…Named MVP of the Beef Bowl vs. Western Illinois…Started all twelve games at weak-side defensive end, as he was part of a unit that allowed the opposition to gain 132.42 rushing yards and 344.92 yards in total offense per game…Ranked fourth on the team with a career-high 75 tackles (36 solos)…Led the squad and ranked second in the conference with 8.0 sacks for minus 42 yards…His eight sacks were the most by a Jack-rabbit in a season since Jeff Wolgamott had 11.5 sacks in 1997…Led the team and placed second in the MVC with 16.0 stops for losses of 61 yards (1.33 tfl per game, tied for 29th in the nation)…Produced a team-high eleven quarterback pressures and had two forced fumbles…Three of his pressures caused interceptions, as two others resulted in safeties… Both of his forced fumbles were recovered by SDSU and his first career interception led to a SDSU touchdown drive…For the year, he was responsible for nine turnovers…Against the run, Batten made 71 plays that saw the opposition gain just 79 yards (1.11 ypc), as he posted 19 tackles for loss and stopped opposing ball carriers for no gain at the line of scrimmage 15 times…Only eight of those carries resulted in first downs, as Batten posted ten third-down stops and two more on fourth-down vs. the running attack…In pass defense, the opposition threw the ball into Batten’s area 43 times, completing just seven of those attempts (16.28%) for 64 yards and three first downs, as the defensive end rerouted/ jammed his opponent on 23 incomplete passes and made eleven third-down hits while limiting the opposition to 9.14 yards per completion and 1.49 yards per pass attempt (attempt average was the lowest against any FCS defensive player)…Registered eleven of his plays inside the red zone, including four on goal-line plays.
Earned All-American honorable mention from The Sports Network…First-team All-Great West Football Conference choice…Started all eleven games at weak-side defensive end, as he was part of a unit that gave up 176.2 yards rushing and 378.9 yards in total offense per game…Registered 67 tackles (25 solos), finishing sixth on the team…Ranked fourth on the squad with 4.5 sacks for minus 32 yards, as his 12.0 stops for losses of 48 yards was the second-best total by the Jackrabbits and ranked third in the league…Added six QB pressures, as he caused one fumble, recovered two others and blocked one kick…Four of his pressures caused interceptions, as he had a hand in a total of six turnovers that the Jackrabbits converted five scoring drives (four touchdowns, one field goal)… Returned a short kickoff 11 yards…Made 65 plays vs. the run, holding the opposition to 54 yards (0.83 ypc) and six first downs, delivering eight third-down hits, three more on fourth-down, sixteen tackles behind the line of scrimmage and fourteen hits that stopped ball carriers for no gain…In pass protection, the opposition completed only 6-of-31 passes (19.35%) targeted into his area, gaining 37 yards with one first down, as he limited those receivers to 6.17 yards per completion and a nation-low 1.19 yards per pass attempt, coming up with ten third-down stops vs. the aerial attack while rerouting/jamming his pass coverage assignments away from 16 incomplete tosses… Collected fifteen of his tackles inside the red zone, with six coming on goal-line plays.
Member of The Gridiron Report’s Division 1-AA Freshman All-American third-team and their Fresh-man All-Great West Football Conference first-team squads…Earned Player of the Game honors vs. William Penn and shared those accolades vs. Nicholls State…Began fall camp third on the depth chart behind Jason Nobiling and Brad Herman at weak-side defensive end, but went on to start ten games, coming off the bench vs. McNeese State…Ranked eighth on the team with 46 tackles (15 solos) that included 1.5 sacks for minus 6 yards… Finished third on the team with 9.0 stops for losses of 22 yards and credited with four QB pressures…Also recovered a fumble for a team that allowed an average of 154.6 yards rushing and 320.07 yards in total offense per game…Two of his pressures caused interceptions, leading to one SDSU touchdown drive and another series that ended with a field goal…Registered 46 plays vs. the run, holding his opponent to 55 yards (1.20 ypc), as he made thirteen hits for loss and stopped ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on six other attempts…Allowed just six first downs on the ground, coming up with nine third-down stops and three more on fourth down…Against the pass, the opposition completed a miniscule 9.09% of the passes targeted into his area (11 attempts), as the only reception he allowed was good for a 1-yard loss (only Division 1-AA player to have the opposition average negative yards per attempt vs. him – minus 0.09 ypa)…Made three third-down stops and one more on fourth down vs. the pass, as he jammed/rerouted his coverage assignment away from six incomplete tosses…Collected five tackles inside the red zone, with four coming on goal-line plays.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
4.63 in the 40-yard dash…1.58 10-yard dash…2.68 20-yard dash…4.19 20-yard shuttle…
6.93 three-cone drill…33-inch vertical jump…9’5” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 21 times.