Scott Satterfield and his staff have been hitting the state of GA hard on the recruiting trail. It proved fruitful again as UofL picked up a commit from 2020 DT Dezmond Tell.
— Dezmond Tell9️⃣9️⃣⚔️ (@Dtell_) May 31, 2019
Tell is a 6’2 270 lbs DT that hails from Hampton, GA where he plays for Dutchtown High School. Tell is not currently rated by 247sports. He chose UofL over offers from Central Michigan, Ohio, South Alabama, and Chattanooga, among others. UofL is Tell’s first Power 5 offer. ShaDon Brown was his primary recruiter and Mark Ivey was his secondary recruiter per 247sports.
While Tell is unranked, his highlights show some of what UofL’s coaches saw in the young player and why it was worth offering him. Tell is very strong and powerful yet he has the agility and moves of a pass rushing DE. He is very good at shedding blocks and he is a sure tackler. He has a good motor and is good at pursuing plays beyond his initial responsibility; he never gives up until the play is made.
Now that I’ve given you a broad overview of his skills, let’s break his game down in a little more detail.
Strength and Power
Obviously this skill is something to be expected of a big, burly defensive lineman. Tell possesses it. He has the ability to bull rush offensive linemen and force them into the lap of a RB or QB. This is due to his ability to get low and gain leverage on them. Even when blocked, Tell will disrupt plays by forcing his way into running and passing lanes; sometimes tackling RBs with one arm. What’s scary is Tell’s strength is obviously natural and once he arrives and trains under the hospices of Mike Sigriano, he will likely have a chance to become a true monster.
Agility Quickness Speed
For a DT, Tell has excellent agility and quickness. It shows in highlights when he fakes one direction on a rush and darts the other way; leaving the offensive lineman off balance and him with an open lane into the back field. He uses studder steps and juke moves you would expect to see from a RB, not a DT. They are effective against bigger, less than fleet footed interior linemen. Often times Tell ends up in the backfield untouched by any blocker due to these moves.
Tell also possesses a wonderful swim move that he seems to have perfected. He gets his arm over the offensive lineman’s head to get by him clean. He sometimes hits the opponent’s helmet and pushes them into the grass as well. It’s a really sweet move that potentially could make him a good pass rushing interior DL.
Another element to Tell’s ability to use his quickness and agility to avoid blocks is his burst at the snap. This is an ability UofL seems to covet along the defensive front and Tell is a guy that has it. He’s so good at getting into attack position on the snap of the ball.
When in pursuit, Tell is pretty fast for a guy his size, showing an excellent burst once he disengages blocks to get to whomever has the ball. He’s not a guy that will win many 40 yard dashes, but his functional speed is really good.
Even if an OL gets his hands on Tell, his strength and power are on full display with his block shedding abilities. Multiple instances on tape show Tell has strong hands and arms that allow him to get separation and disengage the block to make plays.
Tackling is not a problem for Tell. He always wraps up ball carriers in a bearhug and either yanks or slings them to the ground. If he is being blocked he is adept at getting one arm free and, with his strength, he is able to make the tackle. Once he gets his hands on a RB or QB, they generally go down.
The one thing I loved most about Tell is his motor. Every highlight he was going all out. You could tell opposing offensive linemen had a hard time matching his energy. In one highlight, he runs down a QB who was rolling towards the sideline and forced a horrible throw. He is constantly pushing and fighting every down against blockers to make plays. Football is a lot about effort and this guy gives a ton of it.
Tell is a DL that I believe can play any of the three positions on the defensive line. He’s big enough and strong enough to be a DT that stuffs up the middle. Yet, he has quickness and agility that could allow him to line up on the end. This allows flexibility for the defensive coaches which is something I believe they value.
While not a glamorous commitment, Dezmond Tell is a quality one. With a coach and staff known for developing players, Tell has some tools that can make him a viable contributor at DT or DE. I believe UofL will primarily use him at DT because he appears to have good strength and size that, coupled with his unique quickness and agility, will make him very hard for slower interior OL to handle.
He reminds me a little of Sheldon Rankins as far as being a player that size with that quickness and agility. Obviously, I’m not saying he’s the second coming of Rankins. All I am saying is his skill set and body type remind me of him. If Coach Satterfield, Coach Brown, and Coach Ivey do what they are known to do, Dezmond Tell can, at the very least, become a productive contributor for the DL with the potential to become even more.