Prospect Interview: Kyle Dugger
Location: Hickory, North Carolina
Overview: Kyle Dugger is a D2 safety prospect, with astonishing athletic ability, tools, and refinement that translates into dominant on field performance. He was just a recent member of Bruce Feldman’s CFB freaks list, which brought to light his incredible testing numbers and overall intrigue to him as a prospect.
40: Verified 4.41
Vertical: 40 Inches
Broad Jump: 11 feet
Reps of 225: 20
3 Cone: 6.7
He’s an explosive prospect with impressive short area burst, yet he also has the necessary long speed to keep up with routes that break past his zones and the intermediate levels of the field. The lower body fluidity he exhibits allows for the successful utilization of speed turns, quick transitions, and sudden breaks on the football, which accentuates his playmaking abilities in the back end of the defense. He can be utilized in multiple alignments also, as he demonstrates the explosiveness, range, and physicality necessary to thrive as a box safety, or with a deep alignment that asks him to cover ground. Kyle plays with fire and profound aggression while unleashing critical physicality at the point of contact, and the tackle point as a whole. He’s an impressive football player, and I truly think he’s going to have a great career in the league.
First off, thank you for taking the time to talk to me. Fall camp is here, and I know you’re a busy guy. Happy to have this opportunity to get to know you!
In sports, we all have the people and things that we play for every time we step out and compete. What is your “Why” as a football player, and how do you try to channel that on gameday?
Kyle: My why is definitely my family. I love them all to death and every time I think of them it makes me want to go harder and be better. I also play because I have the opportunity to. Being sidelined by injury as a sophomore made me realize every time I have the opportunity to step on the field it’s a blessing.
You’re a really talented football player, with a lot of really impressive traits and overall technical refinement. With that being said, what would YOU say your biggest strengths are as a football player?
Kyle: I’d say my biggest strengths are my tackling and my football IQ.
The offseason is always big when it comes to trying to improve in a variety of areas in order to maximize your efforts the next season. What have you chosen to emphasize in your game, and what parts of your skillset are you looking to improve throughout the rest of fall camp?
Kyle: My middle of the field play and my man coverage are what I am looking to put the most emphasis on in my game. I’m looking to improve my pre-snap keys and eyes throughout camp.
Explosiveness, and lower body fluidity are all areas in which you thrive. They also are important qualities to have as a defensive back. How do you go about accentuating those strengths in the offseason? What do you think are the best ways to improve those areas overall?
Kyle: I have been put on to a lot of different types of stretches and rolling techniques that help loosen my hips and legs. Also I have been able to take a couple yoga classes here and there. The best ways I feel to improve those areas would be yoga and stretching.
As a safety, there really are a lot of nuances to the position that need to be perfected in order to be successful. To every safety trying to develop and play football at a high level, what do you think are the most important things to emphasize in there maturation as football players?
Kyle: I would have to highlight eyes and vision first. I feel like those are necessary to have success at any level at this position. Next, I would have to emphasize fearlessness and instincts.
I for one think you can have a great, successful career at the next level. You have all the tools, athletic traits, and technique to truly thrive. However, in 15 years when it’s all said and done, how do you want to be remembered as a football player, and as a person?
Kyle: I want to be remembered as one of the greatest to ever do it. Known as an animal on the field and well respected off the field.
Film is an integral part of the game of football, and as a player, it’s necessary to spend tons of hours weekly to scout your opponent. As a DB, you obviously have to take note of offensive sets, and personnel. However in detail, how do you break down opposing film? How do you take what you gain from the film room, and use that to your advantage on game day?
Kyle: I first look at player tendencies. The QB and receivers are what I play closest attention too. Then I go on to look at favorite plays, what formations they are ran out of, and what areas of the field they are ran the most in. I often can get a jump on what routes or play are coming based on the situation and area on the field we are in. Studying all of these keys allow me to play faster and with more instinct.
Who is the best player you’ve ever faced, and what were the main challenges he posed to you and your defense as a whole?
Kyle: The best player I faced was a QB from Valdosta State. His ability to run and make smart decisions with the football caused difficulty for our defense.
Lastly, explain the nuances of zone coverage. As a safety, in certain coverages you have to be a center fielder of sorts by playing with range, and covering a wide surface area. What’s the key to doing that effectively?
Kyle: When playing zone as a top safety depth and positioning are huge. Putting yourself in a position to react to multiple actions from the offense is essential. Also having depth allows you to be more patient and have big vision as routes develop. It is key to read the QB’s shoulders when in the middle of the field as they will often tell the story even when the eyes lie.
Personal Film Breakdown: Kyle took the time to breakdown a clip of his choice, and he does a great job of examining the nuances of his keys, assignment, and techniques used.
I appreciate Kyle taking the time to talk to me! He’s a really special talent on the field, and he’s an incredibly kind, passionate person off of it. His drive, passion and football IQ were vastly apparent during every single conversation we had. Even though he’s a small school prospect, this is just another example that talent comes in all places, and at all division levels. I have a feeling that with another strong season, Kyle Dugger can firmly place himself on NFL radars, and solidify his name as a 2020 NFL Draft pick. I wish Kyle the best of luck for this upcoming season, and you all should make sure to remember his name throughout this fall.
Kyle’s Twitter: KingDugg_3
Interview by Nathan Papandrea