Listed at 6’1 255lbs Dan Kottman anchored a stingy run defense for his Denton squad and wrecked havoc on opposing Offensive lines from his Defensive Tackle spot. Although Kottman enjoyed great success playing DT in High School his 4.68 speed will most likely afford him the opportunity to make better use of his pass rush skills and foot speed via a Linebacker role. As a ’12 signee for Coach Rocky Long and the San Diego State Aztecs the comparisons to recent Aztec great Miles Burris are not unexpected. Similar to Burris it appears Kottman has the ability to maintain an eye towards the ball while shedding and/or avoiding would be blockers. There’s an explosiveness to his tackling form and his speed/strength combination could force Coach Long and staff to find early playing time for the Freshman. Most notable from game film is how quick Kottman is off the snap. Larger blockers struggle coping with his quick first step and foot speed, and smaller more agile blockers struggle combating his strength. When asked as to a preferred position within the Aztecs 3-3-5- scheme Kottman replied ” I am not exactly sure as to the position, (but) I will be ready to perform in whatever spot they see fit for me”. Expect that opportunity “to perform” early in the ’12 season.
Given his 6’1 stature my guess is Kottman settles into a LB role. If this is the case his biggest challenge(s) may come in pass coverage and in transitioning out of a 3-point stance. A college weight/conditioning program may lead to increased foot-speed without compromising strength. If that’s the case Kottman could look to take over the SDSU LB to NFL torch previously held by Kirk Morrison, Freddie Keiaho, and the aforementioned Miles Burris. If Coach Long and staff value Kottman more on the DL my guess is his 6’1 stature will be better-suited for DT and Strength and Conditioning Coach Adam Hall will look to get Kottman up to the 275-285lb range. Not lacking for confidence Kottman appears ready for either challenge, ” I’ve been up against the All-State, All-American, and some of the up and coming top performing college athletes, and was able to be a threat against their teams”.
Kottman appears to carry many of the physical attributes necessary for success at the D1 level. His ceiling may depend upon his ability to assimilate Coach Longs hyper-aggressive 3-3-5 scheme and to grow adapt to the increased speed and physicality of the college game. The move from Texas to Southern California is of significance and certainly adds to the upcoming transition. Having replaced future Texas Longhorns Defensive Lineman Taylor Bible, Kottman’s play led his Coaches to label him every bit as dominant as the HS All-American Bible. Although his 3-star ranking doesn’t speak to that claim, his productivity (107 Tackles, 11 Sacks, 26 Tackles for Loss) in the ultra-competitive and talented Texas HS football scene gives the impression he’s coming a bit under-ranked. Playing a bit out of position (given his frame) may have caused some recruiters and talent evaluators to lose track of the Denton product or to under-project his potential impact at the D1 level.
Based solely on tangible attributes Kottman projects as a productive D1 player. Mix in his high-level motor and the mean streak with which he appears to play, he may prove a stalwart in the SDSU defensive scheme. Early playing time will most likely come the Special Teams route, but strong practice efforts and a quick grasp of the scheme could land Kottman significant ’12 playing time. Granted highlight reels are edited so as to “highlight” the best the player has to offer, no doubt they are to be taken with multiple grains of salt. Striking however, in watching Kottman’s reel, the editor’s decision to “circle” the DT prior to the start of each play is all but wasted effort. Without prompting or foreshadowing Kottman’s play highlights itself. Blockers appear more distraction than obstacle and ball carriers more target than elusive. Plenty of work/development need to transpire and there will undoubtedly be bumps along the way, but on paper, the Kottman-Long-SDSU combination appears a good fit. Early prediction; Kottman is a full-time starter no later than the beginning of his Junior season, and garnering All-Conference attention soon there after. In securing the services of the Denton,Texas star the San Diego State squad may have also secured the future tip of their Aztec spear.
Special thanks to Dan Kottman for agreeing to contribute to this piece. To follow Dan via twitter @DKottman