SoonerScoop – A man of action

Even though Brent Venables is known across the country for his skills as a defensive coordinator. He’s always been with the linebacker, which is where most of the Venables are associated with the people. One of the players who hopes to one day join Venables’ long list of success stories is Monday night’s engagement Phil Picciotti. With his decision behind him to watch the film of Perkasie (Pa.) Pennridge Upper Sr.’s product and see what made Venables and co. so excited.

Josh McCuistion, SoonerScoop.com Recruiting Editor: With most tapes, you might spend a few snaps trying to get a sense of where a player is on the pitch, and from snap to snap it can be difficult to figure out where they are. Picciotti has a highlight role that allays those concerns.

Either find the big guy carrying the ball and get downfield as fast as possible, or figure out where a blocker is moving the wrong way, often mid-air, and you’ll become the Sooners’ newest linebacker engagement Find.

It wouldn’t be too easy to say that Picciotti is a man of action on the field.

What is most striking about Picciotti’s band is his determination. When he reads the play, he quickly triggers and attacks heavily downhill. And along with that aggression comes an explosive playmaking ability that allows him to create tackles for losses and often poor ball handling.

As a runner he shows some of his long pace and overall athleticism, but even as a runner you can see Picciotti’s full football personality come through. He wants to attack, he wants to make contact, and he just wants to impose his will on his opponents.

There will be some who will find that Picciotti is too downhill and perhaps lacks elite lateral movement, but as a central defender the sporting advantage seems more than there to be in a similar role to other linebackers of years past in both Clemson and to be successful in Oklahoma as well.

He’s the guy who could be a good embodiment of the Venables and Oklahoma’s defensive ideals as he roams through the middle of the field. And the bigger and stronger he gets, the more dominant he becomes in the running game.

Basically, Picciotti does a good job on both sides of the ball, playing behind his pads, and as a linebacker, he’s really adept at scraping the line of scrimmage and staying at right angles.

Ultimately, what will determine how big his impact is will be Picciotti evolving with his change of direction and learning more about his pass drops – something he’s rarely asked to do on the available tape.

Player comparison: Picciotti is one of those guys who might not have the most obvious comparison, but one I like is Sooner’s former inside linebacker Tay Evans.