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KEATON KRISTICK Outside Linebacker Oregon State Beavers #32 6:03.0-230-4.74 Fountain Hills, AZ St. Mary's High School
A self-made prospect who exploded onto the Pac-10 scene in 2008, Kristick is following in the footsteps of former OSU Beavers James Allen, Nick Barnett and Al Afalava as an instinctive, athletic, big-hitting defender capable of moving up draft boards with strong workouts.
The Beavers couldn't have expected much out of Kristick heading into his junior season, as he'd only contributed 15 tackles as a sophomore. Instead, Kristick started all 13 games and finished second on the squad with 82 tackles, including an eye-popping 14 tackles for loss on his way to earning second-team all-conference honors.
A year later, despite opposing coaches now fully knowing of him, Kristick proved his breakout 2008 campaign was no fluke, leading the Beavers with 95 stops and registering another 7.5 tackles for loss -- good enough to earn first-team all-Pac-10 accolades from league coaches.
Kristick will need to develop more strength and prove to be a more reliable open field tackler if he is to earn consistent playing time at linebacker in the NFL, but the exuberance with which he play the game makes him a natural for special teams and a likely fan favorite.
Read & React: Aggressively attacks the line of scrimmage and, as such, is susceptible to play-action. Shows good recognition of the draw and screen, however. Accelerates quickly to the ball once he locates it.
Run defense: Quick to recognize the run. Takes good angles to the ball, accelerating through gaps to make tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Good vision and lateral agility to elude blockers in the open field. Recognizes the cut block coming and sprawls to protect his legs. Willing to take on blockers. Good, aggressive initial pop to disengage, but can be engulfed when blockers get into his chest due to only marginal overall upper body strength and hand technique. Good hustle to pursue laterally and downfield. Good straight-line speed is made faster due to his angles and effort in pursuit.
Pass defense: Susceptible to play-action due to his aggressive nature. Doesn't consistently enough get his hands on the tight end to slow him off the snap. Gains at least adequate depth on his drops for coverage, High in his backpedal, but has the balance to change direction and has a nice burst to close to stay close to the tight end. Reads the eyes of the quarterback and attempts to gain an early break on the ball. His aggression can be taken advantage of in this area, as well, as savvy passers will move him with their eyes and pass to the area he's vacated.
Tackling: A bit out of control as a tackler. Flashes the ability to break down in space and make the reliable open field stop against elusive athletes, but is too often willing to lunge to make the flashy hit, resulting in some missed arm tackles and occasional face-mask penalties. Likes to lower his shoulder into the ballcarrier, but will have to do a better job wrapping up in the NFL. Provides a good pop -- enough to knock down most ballcarriers at this level -- but could struggle with broken tackles at the next level.
Pass Rush/Blitz: Often lined up close to the line of scrimmage and is an experienced blitzer. Times the snap well and has the short area burst to get past the tight end. Good flexibility to bend and scrape inside. Has the initial pop to separate, but his lack of bulk and strength allow him to be engulfed when going against bigger blockers, seeing most of his success against backs. Relies too much on speed or a simple bull rush, rather than technique to beat blocks.
Intangibles: Frequently experienced "stingers" throughout his career at Oregon State. Voted a team captain in 2009. Enjoyed a solid week of practice at the East-West Shrine Game.
Kristick is one of the top linebackers in the Pac-10 this season ... physical player who appears to have a future at the next level judging from football experts ... Ted Miller of ESPN.com ranks him the 28th best player in the league ... one of 41 players on the Lott Trophy Watch List ... co-team captain.
Selected First Team All-Pac-10 Conference for the 2009 college football season as voted on by the Pac-10 head football coaches. Kristick, a senior linebacker, is fourth in the Pac-10 with 87 tackles. Kristick was a second team selection last season.
Second team All-Pac-10. Keaton started all 13 games ... second on the team for tackles with 82, 14th in the Pac-10 ... career-high 10 tackles in the upset of No. 1 USC, including two TFLs and one sack ... 14 TFLs, second on the team and eighth in conference ... 3.5 sacks ... four pass breakups.
Made 15 tackles for the season, playing all 13 games...season-high and career-high matching four tackles against Washington State.
A major contributor as a true-freshman on special teams and as a reserve at linebacker...one of six true-freshmen to play...made 17 tackles for the season, including a season-high four at Hawai’i...forced Hawaii’s QB Colt Brennan to fumble...recovered Stanford QB T.C. Ostrander’s fumble at the Cardinal 3-yard line, leading to a Beaver touchdown.
ST. MARY’S: Keaton lettered three years as a running back and linebacker...was the team’s leading rusher and tackler for three years...Rivals.com rated him the seventh best prospect in Arizona as a senior...scored 18 touchdowns on the ground his senior year and one receiving – led the Desert Valley Conference with his 19 scores...first team All-Arizona Republic and 5A All-State as a senior...first team all-region on both offense and defense as a senior...2005 team MVP...defensive player of the year for the region...set the state record with a 99-yard touchdown run as a junior.
Born in Naperville, Illinois – the hometown of teammate Timi Oshinowo...son of Kevin and Karie Kristick...Kevin played football (CB) at Northern Illinois University (1977-78) and is currently the VP for a finance group...his brother, Kyle, was a backup quarterback at New Mexico (2001-02)...his uncle, David Kristick, was a linebacker at Army in the mid-70s...president of the school’s Young Republicans organization...chose OSU because of the “relationships with the coaches and the chance to play in the Pac-10 Conference”...majoring in business.
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