Scott Satterfield finally made an admission that a substantial segment of the UofL fanbase has been waiting to hear for a while. He noted that UofL needs to add more size to the defensive line and that it is something they should have addressed before now. While it’s great to hear Satterfield and members of the staff be transparent about possible missteps, action is what fans want to see. Well, the staff getting a visit from one of the best transfers in the country in Jermayne Lole is the type of action you like to see.
If you look at all of the transfer rankings, Lole is currently ranked second among the best available players. Some have viewed him as one of the top-50 players to enter the portal in this cycle altogether. At 6-2/305, he can provide the type of size any team would covet for an interior defensive lineman. Where I think his value lies, however, is his history as a defensive end. At 6-2/284 in 2019, Lole put up 73 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, and 6.5 sacks. When the Arizona State staff moved him inside to play tackle, he improve his per-game tackles and tackles for loss numbers in a four-game Covid-shortened season.
The lack of a dip in production is fascinating to me. Going from a fairly large 4-3 defensive end to a 310-lb 3-technique inside is a big move that not all players can make. Lole went from playing with some space on the edge to beating guards in a much smaller area and he killed it. Louisville will ask him to play nose tackle but Lole’s ability to flex his weight up to 310 will make that a selling point. Lole can play any of the three defensive line positions for Louisville which will only help his draft stock.
I try to avoid serious comparisons but Lole shows similarities to Sheldon Rankins who excelled in UofL’s 3-man front in 2012-2015. Rankins played at 287 in his first two years but bulked up to 305 in year three. He was able to stay at defensive end because DeAngelo Brown was a mainstay inside but the staff used him as a pass rusher at times as a nose tackle because he had the skillset to beat blockers as a pass rusher inside.
I think UofL could reverse this and utilize Lole as a pass rusher on third down packages because he would join this team as the best pass rusher in the defensive line room. Imagine Lole lining up next to Yasir Abdullah. One of those two players is getting a 1-on-1 matchup and Lole has 9.5 sacks in the years that defensive end was his primary position.
For the UofL staff, the sell seems to be easy to me. Lole can spend the first two downs putting the defense in a position to force a long third down. Then he can slide over and get after the quarterback in obvious passing situations and show that he is a three-down lineman with the versatility to play any position in a 3-4 or 4-3.
Below is a quick film breakdown of Lole showing off his skills as well as the versatility I believe he would bring to Louisville.
Watching Jermayne Lole and he is FUN!— Andrew Harbaugh (@MandrewNFL) June 21, 2021
- Solid pass rush ability (as demonstrated)
- Insane Motor
- Plays Smart
May have found my first “my guy” of the summer! #ForksUp #BlueChipSummer pic.twitter.com/Uzns2Ao6cH
Louisville uses twists with the defensive line regularly and while they don’t always get home, it’s a good tool to utilize when you don’t have a numbers advantage. As you can see in the clip, ASU rushes four with Lole and his other inside lineman facing a 2-on3. The other tackle crashes well to pull his guard into the center and Lole is able to get around to make the sack.
What stands out is Lole’s quickness and speed from the moment he starts the twist. He goes from engaging the center to in the quarterback's lap in about a second. That type of closing speed is what this defense has lacked. It’s also unique. You can get 300-pound guys that can push the pile or shed blockers but not many can close like he does here.
Lining up over the LG once again, we see @JermayneLole’s pure getoff speed as he literally runs around the OL. Remarkably, Lole recorded 72 tkls in 2019 — 3rd best in @ASUFootball history and only 1 behind Terrell Suggs!#NFLPABowl pic.twitter.com/m4FV0ES13s— Dane Vandernat (@DVandernat) August 11, 2021
This play is the most exciting aspect of what Lole could bring to Louisville. This is a basic five-man rush with every defensive rusher responsible for beating their man. Lole does so with ease as he gets into the guard's pads and uses a rip move to pull the guard off-balance and then he just goes around him. This is where his skills as an outside pass rusher come in handy.
The other thing to notice is just how fast he closes on the quarterback. We’ve seen quarterbacks avoid rushers multiple times over the last few years but this type of closing speed doesn’t allow for that.
This is also a prime example of how Lole’s addition would help Louisville. UofL rushes five guys a lot with their nickel and dime package. Hypothetically, this package would include Lole, Yasir Abdullah, Monty Montgomery, Ashton Gillotte, and Yaya Diaby. That would allow for a nickel package or dime package behind them full of the other transfers that the staff has brought in.
Lole would face double teams as a nose tackle in UofL’s system so it’s good to see him handle it in this way. Double teams typically require the second offensive lineman to chip the defender and move to the next block. Lole renders this moot by just tossing the guard who is responsible for holding the block on him. You can see that the offensive tackle can’t even get any push on him because his shoulders are turned from discarding the guard. The goal is to “get skinny” but I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a player do so by just throwing the inside guy to the ground.
This is the type of disruption that Louisville has needed for about five years now and Lole can do this consistently. His motor is absurd and he has played a ton of snaps over his career so he isn’t just out there freelancing or trying to figure it out as the play starts.
Lole steps hard to his left at the snap because he has to fill that gap. The linebacker behind him is responsible for the gap to his right. UofL has had issues with consistency in stopping the run. The main reason is gap discipline. If Lole doesn’t fill this gap, you can see where the hole is. A back with a full head of steam is probably scoring here. Sound familiar?
Love seeing the short area quickness and hand use from Jermayne Lole - hoping to see more these plays finished next season... Top 50 potential. @PFF_College #2 iDL coming into 2021 pic.twitter.com/xdJVOSpf3S— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) May 27, 2021
I don’t think I need to say anything about this play. Just look at the quickness and then the strength. One thing that has been obvious to me when watching Lole play is that he understands that he has to discard blockers in all situations. Just getting a step on a lineman isn’t finishing the job. You’re allowing for the possibility of the blocker getting a hand on you and knocking you off your path.
He gets by his man with his initial move here but if he doesn’t move him out of the way as well, the blocker could push him into the center and he could trip or just end up very wide on his rush against a quarterback who obviously can make people miss with ease. The details matter when you’re playing at this level and Lole shows that he understands that.