SOLON, Iowa — In theory, scout team work isn’t too demanding for a starting defense. It’s a chance to get a look at what an opponent runs.
In practice, it’s anything but for the Solon (Iowa) High School defensive backs when 6-foot-2, 255-pound Tyler Linderbaum lines up out wide. The defensive tackle runs around like a cross between Rob Gronkowski and Randy Moss.
“He just bulls everybody,” Solon teammate and Iowa signee Jacob Coons said. “He throws those small corners out of the way. He just tries to make a play.”
The fact Linderbaum plays — and thrives — at scout team wide receiver highlights what makes the Iowa Class of 2018 commit so unique: his athleticism.
“He is the freak of freaks,” Coons said.
— Tyler Linderbaum (@TLinderbaum) May 1, 2017
Linderbaum, a 3-star 247Sports Composite prospect, wasn’t always in the trenches. He grew up playing quarterback, even lining up as a signal caller in middle school. As Linderbaum grew into his body, he moved from putting his hands under center to placing them in the dirt.
“He is a prototype D-lineman,” Solon football coach Kevin Miller said. “From the mental and physical standpoint, that’s him. He’s got the right mindset to play on the D-line. He’s tough and nasty. That’s what you got to be.”
It allowed him to record 42.5 tackles, 7 tackles for loss and 3 sacks last season. He maintained the athleticism from his days as a skill position player. He placed fifth in the state as a Class 2A heavyweight wrestler this winter. Linderbaum finished 11th in the shot put at the Drake Relays this spring. He spends his summers on the baseball field, pitching as well as playing first and third base.
His athleticism shows up in his ability to stay low while fending off offensive linemen. It impresses Coons, though not nearly as much as Linderbaum’s ability to run away from an offense. He intercepted a pass in the backfield against Washington High School last season and took it 70 yards for a touchdown.
“He can do everything,” Coons said.
Including giving cornerbacks a look in practice they’d otherwise never see.
“He can run a go-route, and you throw it up to him and he goes up and gets it over the corner,” Miller said. “He has really good hand-eye coordination, ball skills. For a defensive line, that won’t serve him, but that is the kind of athlete he is.”
But it does show why Linderbaum is different from a typical defensive tackle recruit.
“That is very uncommon for a kid that size to have those skills,” Miller said. “His skill set is unique to play interior line.”