Played mostly on the strong side last season and displayed the instincts to quickly find the football, but lacked range when asked to close from the backside. Isn’t overly powerful at the point of attack when lined up over the tight end, but does a nice job using his hands to work himself free from blocks and shed down the field. Exhibits a real savvy as a blitzer and is patient waiting for blocks to set before quickly closing on the football once his rush lane opens up. However, he isn’t sudden or athletic enough to be considered a pass rusher at the next level; he’s a blitzer only.
Impression: Has battled through injuries over the course of his career and doesn’t really stand out in any area of the game. Is a tough, instinctive guy, but at best is a reserve at the next level."
Over his final two seasons, Lutrus missed eight games with neck stingers, and the resulting hesitancy hampered his effectiveness even when healthy. He managed to rack up 128 total tackles in 2009 and '10, but with his average size, it's impossible to overlook his potential for future injuries. He will likely fit as reserve strong-side or middle linebacker who offers some added value as a special teams contributor.
Positives: Two-time team captain who leads by example and has earned the respect of his teammates and coaches. Has an adequate frame with room to add bulk. Possesses good instincts and finds the ball quickly. Will use his hands when encountering blockers and shows the ability to disengage, shed and work toward the runner. Is a smart blitzer who picks his lanes well and allows blockers to settle in before attacking the opening. Displays nice awareness in coverage and puts himself in position to make a play on the ball. Tough player who has fought through injuries. Willing to take on blockers and never shies away from contact. Exhibits excellent effort and plays to the whistle consistently. Loaded with experience after starting for four seasons.
Negatives: Is undersized and lacks the quickness to compensate. Stiff lower body keeps him from changing directions without losing speed. Overpowered at the point of attack and does not win hand battles with blockers. Lacks the acceleration to consistently pressure the passer as a blitzer. Plays too upright, losing balance when breaking on the ball. Does not win initial leverage battles and allows opponents to control him by getting underneath his pads. Is a drag-down tackler who leaves his feet when wrapping up, allowing runners to pick up extra yards. Has below-average top-end speed and struggles to close on the ball in the air. Has a lengthy history of neck stingers that caused him to miss eight games over his final two seasons. Was arrested prior to his junior year for interfering with police after a fight; charges were dropped when he explained that he was defending his brother from harm."
Positive: Athletic linebacker with physical and mental skills to play at the next level. Effectively diagnoses the action, very instinctive, and quickly locates the ball. Collapses from the outside to defend the run, remains disciplined with assignments, and is effective making plays in space. Gets depth on pass drops, breaks down well, and uses his hands to protect himself. Chases the action hard, keeps the play in front of him, and offers good open-field tackling skills. Plays with a warrior mentality and is very competitive. Sells out on the blitz and sacrifices his body to make the play.
Negative: Does not display great speed in pursuit. Inefficient and occasionally takes improper angles to the action. Has struggled with similar injuries the past two seasons, which will raise red flags.
Analysis: Lutrus possesses the measurables and the mental capacity to be a starter at outside linebacker in the NFL. Proficient defending the run or covering the pass, he has the skills to get consideration at either the weak side or strong side positions. His injuries the past two seasons will adversely affect Lutrus at the next level unless he is completely healthy."
Negatives: A little tall for an inside linebacker, has a high center of gravity and appears to be a little on the thin side despite being listed at 245 pounds... Has dealt with injury issues the last two seasons, including a recurring stinger that sidelined him for several contests in 2009... Not a particularly consistent tackler, tends to wrap at the ankles and fails to secure some tackles against larger backs, will lunge at times and miss tackles in the open field... Looks a bit stiff in coverage, displays choppy footwork and limited range, but has good instincts in zone coverage... Does not limit yards after contact due to tackling technique against players going full speed, tries to drag ball carrier to the ground instead of using legs to reverse their momentum... Is a little slow off the snap, especially when blitzing from three or four yards beyond the line of scrimmage, must do a better job anticipating the snap and reacting more quickly... Plays a little high at times, especially in the backpedal and when changing directions, has some difficulty when changing levels to make a tackle leading to lunging and missed tackles."
He redshirted in Storrs in 2006, but then in 2007, he was named a 1st-team Freshman All-American after starting all 13 games at strongside "Husky" linebacker and ranking third on the team with 107 tackles including 62 solo stops. He also recorded eight TFLs, a sack, 4 interceptions--returning two for touchdowns.
In 2008, he led the Huskies in tackles with 106 (64-42) at the strongside "Husky" linebacker and was named 2nd-team All-BIG East. He also added nine tackles for a loss and an interception with six deflections.
In 2009, Scott struggled with a stinger injury suffered in the opening win over Ohio (Sept. 5) and came back to action briefly in the Pittsburgh game (Oct. 10) before suffering the same injury.
In 2010, he put up a line as follows: 10 games played (missed three) 59 tackles, 3.5 TFLs, .5 sack, 1 int., 1 QBH, 1 FF.
Strengths: Nice size. Versatile. Played a rush DE on passing downs for UConn, and a OLB-hybrid (Husky) spot most of the rest of the time. Teams schemed away from his side much of the time when running the ball. Solid tackler. Moves around a lot within games. Unflappable and confident. Excels dropping in coverage and is a decent coverage LB. Looks like an NFL SAM.
Weaknesses: Never got much better from 2008 on. Part of that was injury-related, but it does also raise the question about pain thresh hold, etc. Average game speed. Doesn't blow through blockers. Gets blocked too much and stays blocked. Seemed to be resting on his laurels at times in 2010. Doesn't have the size or explosiveness to be used at the LOS at the next level, but was used there a lot by UConn. Didn't play every snap even when healthy at UConn.
Projection: 5-6th rounder."
The good times kept rolling in 2008 as Lutrus was once again the starter at the strongside linebacker spot. He led the squad with 106 tackles and was named to the Second-Team All-Big East Conference squad. The expectations were high heading into 2009; and rightfully so. However, Lutrus was injured during the season opener and struggled for quite some time to overcome that injury. On the year he started just six games and tallied 69 tackles. When Lutrus was healthy and playing by the end of the year he was back to his old ways, but when he was again injured early in the 2010 campaign, his overall health became an issue. Yet again Lutrus has been relatively productive when he has been on the field during his senior campaign, but he missed three contests and NFL scouts are starting to wonder if he can stay healthy.
Lutrus' versatility should get him drafted in April. It may be in the late rounds, but somebody should be willing to take a chance on him. Lutrus is not just a linebacker who can come up and tackle people or occasionally blitz and cause some havoc in the backfield. This season Lutrus has stayed on the field when the Huskies would usually replace him and bring in a nickelback. Instead, they trust his pass coverage enough to allow him to stay in and pick up a wide receiver in coverage. At the least, Lutrus should be a versatile linebacker in the NFL who should not have much trouble picking up tight ends or running backs on passing downs.
12/20 Update: The Huskies got the job done by knocking off Cincinnati and South Florida in the final two weeks of the season. The result is a trip to the Fiesta Bowl and a date against perennial powerhouse Oklahoma. UConn are heavy underdogs in the New Year's Day contest, but even in a loss, Lutrus can gain some national exposure. Lutrus came up big in the two must win games for the Huskies to close the season. The Oklahoma offense will provide a much stiffer challenge, but if Connecticut can hang around and keep the game close, it will have to be because of the defense containing Oklahoma's explosive offense."
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