The following scouting report on Lancaster, Texas, defender Larry Dibbles was compiled following Lancaster’s first game of the year against Huntsville, Texas, a game which was played in Huntsville on August 31, 2001.
When scouting a defensive line prospect, college coaches look for a number of key attributes. But the five key areas are: quickness; agility; frame and strength; tenacity; and playmaking ability.
Being superior in a single area doesn’t necessarily make a defensive lineman a Division I prospect. However, if the player has more than one of the cherished traits, it certainly gives them a better likelihood of becoming a Division I player.
For the first scouting report of this year, we decided to view one of the nation’s better defensive linemen, Larry Dibbles of Lancaster, Texas. Dibbles has more than 30 scholarship offers from schools across the country. His top choices are Oklahoma, Texas and Notre Dame.
10 – As good as it gets
7.5 – Blue Chip level
5 – Division I player level
2.5 – Needs significant improvement
Quickness: The most promising aspect of Dibbles’ total package is his initial quickness off of the snap of the ball. It is eerily reminiscent of some great defensive linemen, and that hard-charging first step is something that coaches can’t teach. When he lines up in a down stance and makes his move off of the ball, it is as quick, if not quicker, than anybody you’ll see. In the first half of the game, every time Dibbles lined up as a true defensive end and Huntsville attempted a pass from the pocket, Dibbles at least registered quarterback hurry. Grade: 9.5
Agility: Dibbles played quite a bit at middle linebacker and showed adequate side-to-side mobility. But all-out agility is not his strongest point. He’s certainly more dominating when he’s locked up with someone than when he’s in open space. This means that despite Dibbles’ desire to play defensive end in college, he may eventually wind up being an absolute warrior at defensive tackle. Grade: 6
Frame and strength: Dibbles has an extremely well developed and powerful lower body. He made a play on the goal line, shirking one blocker and exploding low into the ball-carrier that showed just how much strength he has in his lower body. And he has the frame to continue to get bigger and bigger, both in his upper body and his lower body. He’s not 6-foot-4 or 6-5. If he was that tall, then he’d be just about perfect in this category. However, he definitely has the frame and strength to be a real player on the college level. Grade: 8.5
Tenacity and toughness: Tenacity is a hard trait to describe yet everyone knows it when they see it on the football field. Think of Warren Sapp and Zach Thomas and their always-running motors and all-out effort on every single play and the picture of what tenacity is should be clearer. Outstanding high school players routinely receive poor marks in this category because a lot of the blue-chip types tend to rely more on their overall size and athletic ability than on their 100-percent effort on every play. While Dibbles displays relentless pursuit at times, he does take a few plays off. But the ability for him to be consistent is there. Even when he was tired, his hands were on his hips and he was grasping for air late in the first half of the first game of the season, he still made a play on the opposite sideline that took all of his energy to make. While he’s not perfect here, he definitely has the ability to reach down for a little more than most others do. Grade: 7.5
Playmaking ability (football savvy): Savvy and playmaking are hard traits to quantify. But Dibbles makes more than his fair share of plays, even though he is very much out of position as a middle linebacker in high school. The reason he plays the spot is because it puts him in a position to make plays on both sides of the field and he generally takes advantage of it. However, after watching him play defensive end, it’s obvious that he has even better ball recognition skills as a defensive lineman. He simply makes plays when he’s playing along the line of scrimmage. The mention of all of the quarterback hurries in the first half is a good indication. Grade: 8.5
Final Grade: 40 out of 50.
Final Comments: Will he play end or tackle in college? If he plays tackle, Dibbles has everything a player needs to be a great one. If he plays end, then he needs to work on his agility. He is definitely a blue chip prospect. There won’t be 10 defensive linemen in the country that have more upside than Dibbles, especially with his quickness off of the ball.