This reputation was well earned by the likes of Kenny Easley, Eric Turner, Carnell Lake and Shaun Williams, among others. It was reinforced this past year with Rahim Moore being selected in the second round by the Denver Broncos. Dye, who was a more consistent player last year than the more heavily hyped Moore, enters his senior campaign as one of the more established prospects of the deep patrol. Last season it was Dye, not Moore, who earned Co-MVP honors (shared with Akeem Ayers) on the defensive side of the ball after leading the Bruins with 96 tackles and nine pass breakups.
Having started 26 games at strong safety over his first three seasons with the Bruins, Dye is expected to replace Moore at free safety in 2011. A reliable open field tackler whose physicality belies his lack of prototype size, if Dye can prove to be a more consistent playmaker in his senior season (only one career INT), he could warrant Top 100 consideration.
Read & React: Good key and diagnosis skills. Quick to attack the line of scrimmage when he reads run, making him a little vulnerable to play-action. At his best when he can read the eyes of the quarterback and shows a nice break on the ball (USC). Good recognition for zone coverage, efficiently getting to the ball. Takes proper angles in pursuit.
Man Coverage: Only occasionally asked to drop down and cover receivers out of the slot. High and choppy in his back pedal (like most safeties) and can be a bit grabby. Allows too much cushion and has only average speed and agility, overall.
Zone Coverage: Better in zone coverage than man due to his recognition and aggression. Keeps his head on a swivel and understands route combinations so he's often near the ball. Can plant and drive so he can close quickly.
Ball Skills: Has to do a better job of turning pass breakup opportunities into interceptions. Only has one interception (USC, 2011) despite 11 career passes defended (including nine last year). Shows a burst to close on the ball, but has only average speed, and agility, overall. Competes for jump balls, showing a good vertical jump, timing and strength to rip the ball away as the receiver attempts to secure it.
Run Support: Arguably his best trait. Reacts quickly to the run and isn't afraid of attacking the line of scrimmage. Slips past offensive linemen and either makes the tackle himself or forces the ball-carrier to alter their plans, leaving easy tackle opportunities for teammates.
Tackling: A more reliable open-field tackler than former teammate Rahim Moore was last year. Breaks down well to make the secure stop against bigger or more athletic ball-carriers. Isn't an intimidator but shows some hitting ability. Will lower his shoulder occasionally into the ball-carrier. Generally a wrap-up tackler who doesn't give up much yardage after contact. Takes good angles in pursuit, masking a lack of top-end speed.
Intangibles: Has emerged as a team leader for the Bruins. Viewed as a potentially interchangeable safety capable of playing well at either free or strong safety. Missed some time during the 2011 spring with a left knee sprain. Lists Champ Bailey and NHL star Mike Modano as the athletes he admires most. Almost gave up football to play hockey while going to high school in Minnesota."
At times in pursuit will be content to just launch himself at ball carriers instead of wrapping up and will slip off some tackles. Lacks elite speed in pursuit, but works hard, has a good motor and will make plays off his frame because of solid straight-line speed and hustle. Reads and reacts quickly from the deep half, keep his pad level down, can cleanly drive downhill and takes consistent angles toward the football.
Does only an average job of avoiding blocks in tight areas, which at times will cause him to get hung up. But does a nice job fighting through contact, working toward the football and setting the edge vs. the outside run. Has a real passion for the game and takes pride in stopping the run game. Is coordinated vs. the pass game as well.
Has the ability to sit into his drop, keep his feet under him and click and close underneath. Doesn’t get leggy when asked to re-direct, stays low and creates a burst out of his breaks. Again, lacks elite straight-line speed, but reads and reacts quickly and routinely gets good jumps on the football. Displays solid ball skills when asked to drive on the throw, adjust his body well and can create interceptions coming forward.
Possesses good enough fluidity in the hips for his size. Can stay low when asked to turn and run, keeps his feet under him and gets back up to speed quickly. Is a three-year starter who led the team in tackles last season and has been overall very productive in all areas of the game.
Impression: Isn’t an elite athlete, but plays faster than he times. Will tackle consistently and is coordinated in coverage. Looks like a potential special teams stud who with some time could fight his way into a starting line-up as a strong safety."
Exhibits poor eyes, instincts and diagnostic skills and has pedestrian athletic traits — average buildup speed, limited twitch and shoddy tackling ability.
Has made few impact plays in two years as a starter and might have been pushed out of the starting lineup by sophomore Dietrich Riley had Denver Broncos 2011 second-rounder Rahim Moore stayed for his senior season."
Was originally recruited as a CB, but played the last two seasons at SS and moves to FS this fall where he will replace Rahim Moore, a second round pick at this spring’s 2011 draft whom he outplayed much of the 2010 season when he posted 96 tackles and picked off one pass and broke up 8 others;
Not all that big or physical, but is a solid wrap-up tackler who seldom misses in the open field; effective in both zone and man coverage schemes; has good speed and quickness for a safety;
Also has fluid hips and turn and run with most receivers; also breaks well on the ball, but doesn’t have the best hands; hyper-extended a knee this past spring, but is expected to be fine this fall."