When a recruit picks a school, it’s natural for fans to immediately race over to his Hudl page and take a peek at his film to gain a better idea of the player their favorite team just picked up. Ethan Piper’s commitment to the Huskers last week was a big win for the Huskers on and off the field. Nebraska now has received commitments from three of the state’s top-five prospects (Garrett Nelson, Garrett Snodgrass and Piper).
Below is Piper’s highlight film from his junior season, as well as some of my thoughts about what I see from Piper, a 6-4, 275-pound defensive tackle from Norfolk, as a player.
What stood out to me
I absolutely love the first play in this tape. About 99 percent of the time, the first highlight in a prospect’s tape is his best overall play. But what Piper did here was different. Instead, it’s a massive gain for the opponent, as the run goes to the goal line.
Piper has it first because that’s the type of player and kid he is. He’s never going to give up on a play, and that may be his strongest attribute. At 6-foot-4 and 280 pounds, Piper runs well, evidenced by his chase-down of the back. Even more impressive is the effort. The Huskers need guys like him to help turn the program around.
What I like
Other than the effort and toughness that oozes through his film, Piper’s strength is also evident. His ability to take a double team and still arm-tackle a back is nothing to scoff at.
Piper’s versatility immediately jumps out. He can play both sides of the ball, which is a plus, and will give him a better chance to lock down a spot in the rotation on either line. I also like how he gets off the ball, on offense and defense. The fact he goes both ways for entire games at the high school level is a testament to his preparation and conditioning. From speaking to Piper, you get the sense he’s a hard worker. The tape backs up that assumption.
Once again, I’ll harp on Piper’s motor. He plays with purpose and emotion, which is not always apparent when just watching film. It speaks volumes that you’re able to discern that from a video. He has a true passion for the game. Frankly, it’s excellent to see.
When Piper gets his hands on the opposition, there’s often little they can do. The outcome is basically already decided. He has solid footwork, moves well and has the makings of a solid lineman who can contribute on either side of the ball.
What needs work
Piper will need to become stronger obviously, as is the case with all linemen entering college. But it will be especially important for Piper. That way, instead of just eating blocks and relying on his natural strength to drag down the ball-carrier or simply running into a defender, he’ll be able to execute moves or engage defenders in the hole and win those battles.