DBU is not a brand. It’s a lifestyle. There’s a lot of schools which are proud of their defensive back tradition. They generate awards and production and NFL draft picks. And everyone quietly golf claps and nods, knowing there is but one true DBU: LSU.
As of this moment, 14 different LSU defensive backs dot NFL rosters. Texas alums still laughably hashtag #DBU, despite having only 5 pros. Hell, at least Florida and Ohio State have the dignity of hitting double-digits, each with 12, while making the claim.
While it’s true that all of these schools have phenomenal track records when it comes to defensive backs, perhaps no school in history matches LSU’s current run. On a near yearly basis LSU is sending first round caliber talents to the NFL. A player like Jalen Collins, that struggled to find his footing early in his LSU career, turned into a bonafide stud as a Junior, declared early and was subsequently drafted 42nd overall.
Corey Raymond’s resume of recruiting and developing top flight talent seems to grow by the season, and each new year, after one set of studs are ushered out of the program and onto the professional field... another set of studs step right into their place. Rinse, lather, repeat.
Grant Delpit may continue that cycle, but he’s certainly no repeat.
Back of the Card
110 - 101 = Franchise Player. One of the best players to come along in years, if not decades. Odds of having a player in this category every year is slim. This prospect has "can’t miss" talent.
100 - 98 = Five-star prospect. One of the top 30 players in the nation. This player has excellent pro-potential and should emerge as one of the best in the country before the end of his career. There will be 32 prospects ranked in this range in every football class to mirror the first round of the NFL Draft.
97 - 90 = Four-star prospect. One of the top 300 players in the nation. This prospect will be an impact-player for his college team. He is an All-American candidate who is projected to play professionally.
89 - 80 = Three-star prospect. One of the top 10% players in the nation. This player will develop into a reliable starter for his college team and is among the best players in his region of the country. Many three-stars have significant pro potential.
79 - below = Two-star prospect. This player makes up the bulk of Division I rosters. He may have little pro-potential, but is likely to become a role player for his respective school.
247 Composite Ranking: ****
247 Composite Rating: .9679
Delpit finished ranked 66th overall in the 247 composite and somehow the 9th overall Safety, in an exceptionally loaded class. His rating illustrates he sits right atop the 4-star category, and at one point, he did hold the coveted 5th star. Delpit was an Under Armour All-American and invited to the Opening. Originally from the Houston area, Delpit transferred to IMG Academy in Bradenton, FL for his senior season.
At 6’3”, Delpit is taller than most DBs. His size should lend him extra versatility and despite the length, he still exhibits exceptional fluidity. Delpit graduated early and enrolled at LSU for Spring. In recent weeks, Orgeron has already taken to referring to him as a starter and he’s drawn praise from his teammates, so it’s fairly clear what direction his career is headed.
On The Field
Already There: Length, Aggression, Fluidity, Instincts
Working On It: Coverage Technique, Filling Out
Doesn’t Have It:
Length: At 6’3”, Delpit is long and lanky. His long arms immediately pop on tape and you can see he’s got a nice frame to grow into. He’s currently listed at 201, though I imagine he could easily add another 10-15 pounds of muscle before he finishes his eligibility.
Aggression: The unique aspect to Delpit is that he’s a deep safety playing in a box safety’s body. By that I mean, fully formed, he’ll be a 6’3”, 215-220 pound animal, but he’s got legitimate turn and run cover skills. His aggressive nature shows both in how he attacks the ball in the air, but also in his willingness to come up and lay a blow. :05 in and you can see a guy that likes to punish receivers, without being dirty. Just a clean, powerful hit. The play at 1:43 is the type of enforcement you see from the best of safeties, letting receivers know that even if they find open territory, you have a very special set of skills and you will find them and you will kill them. There’s no freebies with Grant Delpit... he’s going to hit you in the mouth. 3:10 you can see his fearlessness to play in the run game.
Fluidity: Right on at :15, you can see how smoothly he’s able to drop back into his deep zone. He falls out of frame for a moment, but he tracks the football, cuts underneath the route and makes the pick. Those are corner or coverage safety type skills that you would expect from a player that is 5’10”, 195, but not necessarily from one that’s 6’3”. Love the way he plays the back half of the bump and run at 4:39, though not the most effective hand check. He’s able to flip open his hips so easily, which is really from where flexibility in coverage comes.
Instincts: Delpit has a natural feel for the game, which makes him a lethal force in coverage. 3:05 you can see how quickly he’s able to suss out a play and cause havoc. He’s sitting on that slot route but after taking that away he dives into the QBs passing lane for a breakup that’s nearly an INT.
Range: I’d wager that up against a stopwatch, Delpit isn’t posting anything jaw dropping. But his long legs allow him to cover a lot ground on the football field. He eats up space in a hurry, which allows him to be a disruptive force in the passing game, but also a major boon to run defense.
Working On It
Coverage Technique: Delpit has do-it-all safety potential, but he’ll need to further refine his coverage technique if he hops to be an all-purpose threat. The bump and run at 4:09 is a good example of not getting a good jam, but having athletic traits that takeover.
Filling Out: HS photos of Delpit make him look exceptionally thin. At 6’3”, he’s got a long frame to add mass to and is probably another full year in the strength program from being at a more ideal playing weight. Nevertheless, he put in a lot of work to get up to 200 pound range, which should work for his Freshman season.
Poseur’s 80 Movie Comparison
Other pretenders try and claim the throne, but the absolute king of 80s movie horror is John Carpenter. I know it, you know it, and your little sister hiding under the covers knows it. This isn’t to say Clive Barker couldn’t make a scary movie, he could. But when you’re talking the greatest, there’s only one choice: John f’n Carpenter.
That’s DBU. We’re not going to make the silly argument that other schools don’t have great players in the secondary. They do. They just aren’t as great as LSU’s run of dominance. Grant Delpit is the latest in a line of unspeakable horrors for opposing quarterbacks. He is the greatest horror movie from the greatest horror movie director, starring his personal muse and manliest of men, Kurt Russell. That’s right. I’m busting out the biggest of guns here. Grant Delpit is The Thing.
The Thing is the greatest horror movie ever made for a lot of reasons, but first and foremost is the competence of the victims. This isn’t the dumb kid running from the ax murderer by running into the deep, dark forest. These are scientists who continually make smart, rational decisions even as they descend into complete paranoia. That’s what it’s like to play against DBU. You can make all the good decisions and it won’t matter, because the Thing will not stop until you are sitting in the freezing cold, sharing whiskey with Keith Charles, waiting for the fires to go out so you can embrace the sweet release of death.
What the Future Holds
10 days ago, Orgeron stated the following:
Orgeron says Grant Delpit (safety) and Kary Vincent (nickel) are "considered starters" in our mind.— Ross Dellenger (@RossDellenger) August 13, 2017
They are freshmen. #LSU
He’s still in an ongoing competition with Ed Paris for the starting position, something I suspect will continue until Delpit really gets some game experience under his belt. That said, the fact that he’s been on campus about seven months and is currently challenging a senior for a starting role is pretty impressive stuff.
Delpit is a guy that can do just about anything you can ask. At 6’3”, 201, Aranda can easily shift him up and have him stack the box as a competent run defender. But he’s also gifted enough to cover the deep half of the field, if called upon. He’s an aggressive player and he likes to hit and mix it up. There’s definitely some dog to him.
His size/athleticism combo make him a player with an unlimited ceiling. In one breath, he could be a Kam Chancellor run enforcer and in the next, perhaps he’s Brandon Taylor erasing errors on the backend.
Delpit has the unenviable task of following in the footsteps of one of the best safeties in LSU history, Jamal Adams. Adams had a bit of a do-it-all nature to his game as well, and I loved his versatility coming out. Adams never emerged as a serious threat in the passing game. He won by being solid and competent, minimizing mistakes. Adams played rush defense like a 3rd grader on the playground and pass defense like Bill from accounting.
I think Delpit is more of a risk taker. He’s a big-play magnet that wants to do something of impact. That may occasionally mean exposing himself, or the defense, unnecessarily. He’s gonna try and jump the passing lane to steal an INT. He’s going to go for nasty, punishing hits trying to jar the ball loose. He’ll go for strips and turnover creation. That’s the type of game I see him playing.
High End: Multi-year starter, All-American, top 15 NFL Draft pick
Low End: Multi-year rotational DB and ST player
Realistic: Multi-year starter and All-Conference Safety