I was watching film from the 2016 Kentucky 3A championship between Belfry and Central. Belfrey had the ball on their own 36-yard line and they came out in their traditional double wing-T formation. They run off-tackle to the field side, Central middle linebacker Jonathan Dooley (one of the toughest downhill thumpers in the state) fights off two blockers and gets a solid hit on the ballcarrier's thigh pads but the runner bounces off the hit. The back then breaks the arm tackle attempt by Yellow Jacket corner Quincy Baines and outruns the defense to the boundary side pylon for a 64-yard touchdown.
I thought to myself, who is this fullback breaking off runs like that against Ty Scroggins' defense? So I did the research and found out his name is Derek Wellman.
My assessment of Wellman is stereotypical but I feel it's accurate and fair. I see a hard-nosed kid who has good "want to." He's not the greatest athlete on the field but he's smart and has enough speed to get sideline to sideline as an inside linebacker. He's a tweener at 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, but forces the action with his eye discipline and quick decision making. He's always around the ball and comes up quick to occupy and stymie blockers then uses his hands to keep his head alive and disrupt running lanes by shooting off his blockers' hips into running lanes. If he gets a free run into a lane he's making the tackle. He also finishes with some pop. Here, watch this:
— Dave Lackford (@RivalsDave) March 25, 2017
Wellman put up good numbers in Belfry's double wing-T offense rushing for 970 rushing yards, 11 TDs and racked up 93 tackles, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and an interception in 2016. Oh, and in that 3A title game against Central, he ran for 200 yards and two touchdowns on 26 carries.
The 2018 ironman also carries a 3.3 GPA. I reached out to one of his coaches and asked for some measurables and I was told Wellman has a 36 waist size and wears a size 13 shoe. That typically means he has the athletic base to potentially add another 15 or 20 pounds by the time he's a freshman in college which would put him around 220-225. I wanted to label him a tweener but if he can start his Senior season at 6-foot-2, 215-pounds he's got the size of the typical MAC level freshman linebacker. Right now I see him as an FCS-level player but he has the growth potential to land an FBS offer if he eats weights for a living in the offseason and can keep the weight on after the 2017 campaign.
I asked for a quote from one of his coach's who asked to remain anonymous and I was told, "we all brag on his toughness, work ethic, leadership, and passion for the game and program."
I was also told by that coach that he communicates with EKU and Navy, as well as Kentucky and Ball State to a lesser degree.
Check out his Hudl highlights and see if you agree with my assessment.