All-22 from the scouting combine: Defensive linemen detail their favorite plays
INDIANAPOLIS — What’s your one defining moment?
Every prospect at the scouting combine has that one play which defines them to a degree — the highlight shot they think about over and over when it’s time to think about their collegiate careers.
As the defensive linemen took the podiums in Indianapolis on Wednesday, I thought it would be interesting to ask a bunch of them for the one play they would show anybody if asked for the real highlight shot. Here are Clemson’s Bryan Bresee, Wisconsin’s Keeanu Benton, Texas’ Keondre Coburn, Florida’s Gervon Dexter, and South Carolina’s Zacch Pickens describing the plays they most remember, with tape examples and further descriptions.
Bryan Bresee, DL, Clemson
(Josh Morgan-USA TODAY Sports)
“Let me think. One play that comes to mind was in my freshman year against Boston College — I had a safety at the end of the game to kind of seal the game. That was me showing relentless effort and athletic ability.”
It’s easy to see why this play stood out in Bresee’s mind, as long ago as it was. Let’s take the Wayback Machine to October 31, 2020. Boston College had first-and-10 from their own four-yard line with 1:25 left in the fourth quarter, and Clemson was up, 32-28. Boston College was faced with a nightmare stunt involving Bresee (No. 11) and Myles Murphy (No. 98), so good luck with THAT. Quarterback Phil Jurkovec had absolutely no shot here.
Keanu Benton, DI, Wisconsin
(Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports)
“Probably the goal-line stand against Minnesota. Just me blowing up and getting through the center, and getting a tackle for loss. Trying to do my best for the team. even though we were down.”
Wisconsin lost this game to Minnesota 23-16, but Benton had five tackles, three quarterback pressures, and this tackle for loss from the Wisconsin five-yard line with 8:43 left in the fourth quarter. And it wasn’t just any center Benton blew up — it was John Michael Schmitz, regarded by many as the best player at his position in his draft class. Schmitz was no match for Benton (No. 95) on this particular play, and running back Mohamed Ibrahim paid the price. Benton did a great job of working quickly through Minnesota’s run slide.
Keondre Coburn, DI, Texas
(Scott Wachter-USA TODAY Sports)
“I’d say the Kansas State play. There was a play before where I almost got through and I almost got him [Kansas State quarterback Adrian Martinez], and I don’t know how he got out of that, but he got out of it. I was tired — I was gassed. That Kansas State game was cold and weird, and I could see myself needing a couple of plays off — like, it’s time to sub. I asked for a sub, because it was weird. And it was the first time ever I asked for a sub. Coach Davis [defensive line coach Bo Davis] said, ‘You’re in that game — you’ve got to play.’ So, I got back in my stance, and I got a strip-fumble, and that ended the game.
“I think it showed that I just got up and went through everything — just played through it, and made a play. Thankful that God put me in a position to make that play,”
This was on November 5, and Texas beat Kansas State, 34-27. With 47 seconds left in the game, Coburn (No. 99) beat a double-team to flush Martinez out of the pocket, but Martinez did indeed make an impressive play out of that pressure — a seven-yard completion on fourth-and-6 to extend the drive.
Gervon Dexter, DI, Florida
(Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports)
“Just one play? It would be hard to choose just one play, but if you turn on the Alabama tape, you’ll see a bunch of those plays I would turn on. I had a goal-line stand — that would be the one.”
The goal-line stand came with 10:50 left in the fourth quarter of Florida’s 31-29 loss to the Crimson Tide in Week 3 of the 2021 season. Alabama had the ball on the Florida two-yard line, and Dexter (No. 9) shot through to prevent running back Brian Robinson Jr. from getting into the end zone.
Zacch Pickens, DI South Carolina
(AP Photo/Hakim Wright Sr.)
“Probably when I got a sack against Kentucky. There was one play where I missed it, and I was so mad about it, and my coach said, ‘You’re good. You’re good. You’ve got it.’ I wound up pointing at him, because I told him I would get a sack, and I got one.”
Pickens had six total pressures in this game against backup quarterback Kaiya Sheron; Will Levis was out with an injury. The missed sack he’s referring to probably came with 6:23 left in the fourth quarter. Pickens (No. 6) worked through the left guard. and was this close to a safety.