Film Study: Notre Dame LB commit Bo Bauer

Tyler James
South Bend Tribune

LB Bo Bauer, 6-3, 220; Erie (Pa.) Cathedral Prep.

The numbers: Bauer totaled 114 tackles (72 solo), 22 tackles for a loss, 12 sacks, two safeties and returned a fumble for a touchdown in his junior season. He also rushed 28 times for 214 yards and three touchdowns for Cathedral Prep. The Ramblers (14-0) won the PIAA Class AAAA state championship.

The rankings: Rivals – Four stars, No. 6 inside linebacker. 247Sports – Three stars, No. 18 inside linebacker.

FILM BREAKDOWN

Film link here.

First impression: Bauer is a hard-nosed linebacker with a propensity for wrecking plays in the backfield. He’s a downhill run-stopper with a knack for rushing quarterbacks. Bauer has the traits of a traditional inside linebacker with room to expand his game.

Strengths: If Bauer has a ball carrier lined up, odds are he’s going to end up on the ground. When he gets rolling downhill, Bauer usually delivers quite the collision. He explodes through his tackles, keeps his legs churning and wraps up well. Bauer knifes through the offensive line by finding gaps to expose and quickly emerges into the backfield. He has a knack for tracking down the ball — whether it’s a running back or quarterback — once he penetrates. Given some carries as a running back, Bauer plays like he does at linebacker: full speed ahead.

Proof of prowess: (:47) Bauer sneaks around the right edge on a blitz and avoids all blockers by running tight behind the defensive end. As soon as the running back makes the mistake of blocking another blitzer, Bauer unleashes his wrath on the quarterback … (3:12) Bauer comes on another blitz, but this time he takes down the running back. He beats the offensive guard to the inside and keeps him disengaged to allow himself to sell out and tether the ball carrier … (4:35) Bauer finishes the film with authority. After diagnosing the play, Bauer accelerates to his left to cut off the sweeping running back. Bauer gets to the ball quickly enough that the running back doesn’t see him until it’s too late and he gets leveled.

Competition level: Cathedral Prep doesn’t play in the top classification in Pennsylvania (Class AAAAAA), but the Ramblers did face some of the state’s top teams in 2016. Imhotep Charter (No. 8) and Thomas Jefferson (No. 11) were both ranked highly in the MaxPreps state rankings, but both lost to Cathedral Prep. The Ramblers also defeated Canisius, the No. 6 team in New York. Bauer didn’t have to play against many FBS-level recruits. The top exceptions include Marshall running back signee DeCavilon Reese, three-star offensive guard Justin Johnson and three-star wide receiver Paul Woods, both 2018 recruits.

Left to prove: Bauer has the makings of a great linebacker in the 1990s. While many of those traits can still be applied to modern college football, it does leave some questions about his versatility. Bauer will need to become more well-rounded than what’s shown on his highlight reel. At times, Bauer appears to run stiff, and you’d like to see him look more fluid in changing directions. Can Bauer hold up in coverage? How well does he maneuver laterally? Those are tests Bauer will need to pass to maximize his potential.

tjames@ndinsider.com

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Twitter: @TJamesNDI

Notre Dame linebacker commit Bo Bauer plays against McDowell on Sept. 9, 2016 at Veterans Stadium, in Erie, Pa. (Photo courtesy of Erie Times-News/Jack Hanrahan)