West Virginia RUSH EDGE Jared Bartlett was a cruicial piece to the West Virginia win over Virginia Tech last week. NFL Draft analyst John Vogel looks inside his week three performance.

Jared Bartlett just played the breakout game of his college career in a crucial setting against an AP-Top 15 ranked Virginia Tech squad. Mainly playing through the second half and appearing in just 33 snaps, Bartlett made three sacks, 3.5 tackles for loss, five tackles, and forced a fumble that ultimately won West Virginia the matchup.

The performance comes just months removed from the tragic death of Bartlett’s brother, Richard, who was killed in a hit-and-run accident in June at the age of 23. β€œIt put a lot of things into perspective,” Bartlett told the Dominion Post. β€œI didn’t want to take every day for granted. I just wanted to live up to his legacy and use everything he taught me while I was here.”

Defensive coordinator Jordan Lesley has also credited Bartlett for tremendous growth over the last year. β€œJared has grown so much as a player over the last year,” Lesley said. β€œHe came over to me on the sideline early in the second quarter and he says, β€˜Coach, we’ve got a mismatch with these guys on the edge.’ So I trusted him out there.”

Speed off of the perimeter

Indeed, West Virginia had a mismatch on the edge. Bartlett won all three of his sacks off the perimeter, utilizing a speed rush to gain superiority over the offensive tackle. He won on both sides of the line, not just one.

He has a lightning quick first step and just the right size (6’2″ 220 lbs) to get under the offensive tackle and win with his speed. Left tackle Luke Tenuta stands at 6’8″ and 320 lbs and couldn’t get low enough to stop him. Lateral quickness is very important with an offensive tackle and Tenuta had no answer for his speed and bend.

Clinching the game for West Virginia

Bartlett’s third sack of the day came in the red zone working off of right tackle Brock Hoffman, who normally starts at center. Hoffman, too, was simply overwhelmed with Bartlett’s speed and couldn’t get into position to slow him down. Again, Bartlett’s bend allowed him to work around the framework of the right tackle and he rode him into the backfield.

Hoffman is considered a late round/UDFA NFL Draft prospect while playing inside.

This critical play came at a turning point of the game while Virginia Tech attempted to mount a comeback. His performance was critical in West Virginia holding onto the 27-21 victory.

Jared Bartlett has a long way to go for NFL dreams

In this series, I like to discuss the players who win the Nagurski Player of the Week as NFL Draft prospects. We will continue that with Jared Bartlett, who has three years remaining of college eligibility.

Bartlett plays the “Bandit” position in the West Virginia scheme which is basically a RUSH EDGE. However, his lack of frame (6’2″ 220 lbs estimated) will leave him more as an off-ball linebacker prospect who best fits a 3-4 defense.

He has tremendous speed for the position and his role doesn’t give him many opportunities in coverage. This is something we will want to continue to monitor through Bartlett’s career. He played in 33 snaps against the Hokies, only one snap did he play pass coverage.

I think he’s two years away from declaring, so we’re looking for him to attempt his NFL entry in 2024. Regardless, he has plenty of time to grow into his frame and continue to improve. I certainly look forward to studying his growth.

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By John Vogel

NFL Draft Analyst. Dad.

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