Isn't real instinctive in the deep half reading his run/pass keys and routinely is late getting jumps on the football. Keeps his eyes in the backfield, but even then fails to start moving before the football is thrown and isn't real proactive when asked to jump routes. Displays only average range and fluidity when asked to play sideline-to-sideline. Possesses decent footwork when asked to get out of his breaks, but he is a bit stiff in the hips and there is a hitch when asked to redirect and change directions that takes away from his ability to quickly reach top-end speed.
Impression: It's tough to give a safety a good grade who struggles as a tackler, isn't real instinctive and lacks the type of fluidity and range to make up for it."
Positive: Solid run-defending safety who is best between the numbers. Aggressive, quick up the field, and willingly throws his pads into the pile. Hits hard at the point of attack, works well with cornerbacks, and shows skill in zone coverage. Above-average sideline-to-sideline range.
Negative: Does not consistently take proper angles to the action. Lacks great closing speed. Does not do a good job using his hands to protect himself. Not a strong wrap-up tackler.
Analysis: Etheridge was solid on the college level but lacks the athleticism and ball skills to be anything other than a backup strong safety or zone safety in the NFL."
Negatives: Suffered a serious neck injury in 2009, tore ligaments and cracked a vertebrae in neck after colliding with his own player on a tackle, durability and effects from that collision may be a concern for some NFL teams... Is not especially quick or fast, fluidity in coverage is a big question mark at this point, may be limited to deep zone coverage because of lack of ability to turn and run in man coverage... Not a ball-hawking safety, does not have great ball skills or playmaking ability... Postseason workouts will be key for Etheridge, needs to show scouts some speed and quickness to go along with size and intangibles."
2009 -- SEC Academic Honor Roll ... Started 33 consecutive games before suffering season-ending neck injury vs. Ole Miss ... 31st in SEC in tackles per game, 5.8 tpg ... Appeared in nine games, all starts, before injury ... Totaled 52 tackles ... Tied for team lead with eight tackles in season opener vs. Louisiana Tech ... Six tackles were solo ... Also had one QBH and half a TFL (minus 2 yards) ... Tied for team lead with eight tackles, six solo, vs. Mississippi State ... Recorded 1.0 TFL for minus 7 yards to go with three total tackles vs. West Virginia ... Against Ball State, forced and recovered fumble to go with three total tackles ... Tallied six tackles, with five solo stops, in win over Tennessee ... Broke up one pass and registered seven tackles, all solo, vs. Arkansas ... Against Kentucky, totaled seven tackles, five solo, with career-best 1.5 TFL's ... Against LSU, forced one fumble, had half a TFL (minus 1 yard) and totaled seven tackles ... Totaled three tackles vs. Ole Miss before leaving with injury ... Of 52 total tackles, 36 were solo.
2008 -- Finished 17th in SEC in tackles per game (6.2) ... Started all 12 game at strong safety ... Finished with team-high 75 tackles to go with one interception, three pass break-ups and one QB hurry ... Started season opener vs. Louisiana-Monroe and recorded three tackles, two solo ... Snagged first career interception, coming in fourth quarter vs. Southern Miss ... Also had five tackles, two solo, vs. Golden Eagles ... Broke up one pass and had one solo tackle vs. Mississippi State ... Matched career high and tied for team best with eight tackles, three solo, vs. LSU ... Had six tackles, two solo, with 1.0 TFL for minus 6 yards vs. Tennessee ... Tied career high and finished second on team with eight tackles, five solo, against Vanderbilt ... Broke up one pass and had three tackles, one solo, vs. Arkansas ... Registered five tackles, four solo, vs. West Virginia ... Led the team with a career-best 10 tackles, five solo, vs. Ole Miss ... Broke up a pass and had six tackles, four solo, vs. UT Martin ... Against Georgia, led team with nine tackles, five solo, and had half a TFL and one QB hurry ... Against Alabama, led team with a career-high 11 tackles, with four solo stops.
2007 -- Sporting News Second Team Freshman All-America ... Collegefootballnews.com's Freshman All-America Third Team ... Coaches' All-SEC Freshman Team ... Rivals.com Second team Freshman All-America Team and Scout.com Honorable Mention Freshman All-America ... Started 12 of 13 games at safety position ... Tied for second on team with five PBUs ... Second on team in tackles with 65 stops ... Had 32 tackles including 20 solo in last six games played ... Had at least five tackles in nine of 13 games ... Made the most of first career start at Auburn by leading team with eight tackles, including six solo stops against Kansas State ... Six tackles, half TFL and a pass break up against South Florida ... Finished with four tackles and a fumble recovery against Mississippi State ... Fumble recovery came on kickoff coverage, which set up an Auburn touchdown late in the first half ... Five stops against New Mexico State, including a forced fumble that resulted in a Pat Sims 21-yard touchdown run ... Named Coaches' Co-Defensive Player of the Game for his efforts against New Mexico State ... Second on team with six tackles at Florida ... Four stops at home against Vanderbilt along with first-career sack (-6) ... Had six tackles in loss at LSU ... Registered five tackles, three solo, with one PBU vs. Georgia ... Totaled six tackles, three solo, vs. Alabama... Led the team with eight tackles, six solo, in the Chick-fil-A Bowl versus Clemson.
2006 -- Appeared in three games ... Saw action against Washington State, Mississippi State and LSU.
HIGH SCHOOL -- High School Coach: Hugh Fountain ... As a senior, totaled 89 tackles, including 65 solo stops, and 14 pass breakups, three interceptions, six forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries ... Also had 325 rushing yards and five touchdowns, 225 receiving yards with three scores and 175 total return yards ... Named All-State and a member of the 2006 Super 12 by the Dothan Eagle as a senior ... As a junior, tallied 65 tackles and seven interceptions, returning one for a touchdown while also hauling in a 30-yard touchdown ... Ranked No. 31 nationally among cornerbacks and as the No. 15 player in the state of Alabama by Rivals.com ... Ranked No. 27 in Rivals.com Preseason Alabama Top 40 ...Ranked No. 49 nationally at the safety position by ESPN.com.
PERSONAL -- Born July 6, 1988 ... Son of Donald and Cassandra Kelly ... Graduated in December `09 with degree in public administration ... Major: Graduate.
Strengths: Instinctive player who recognizes routes quickly and recognizes between run/pass quickly. Takes good angles to the ball. A physical player who breaks down in space well and wraps up. Can dish out big hits as well.
Weaknesses: Does not possess the quick burst and explosiveness out of his breaks to consistently make plays on the ball. Limited range as a result. Doesn't have the deep speed to run with receivers down the field or catch up if he makes a mistake. Stiff in the hips and will struggle to and run with receivers.