If a running back bounces outside or catches a swing pass out of the backfield, count on Alec Ogletree to close quickly on the ballcarrier and deliver a jarring, open-field hit.
They call him "Tree," but not because the long-limbed linebacker has a penchant for laying the wood on the gridiron. (Spoiler alert: they call him "Tree" because it’s short for Ogletree)
Ogletree’s roots as an impact safety played a big part in his growth and development as the top inside linebacker of the 2013 NFL Draft class.
Recruited to play safety for the Georgia Bulldogs, he appeared in 12 games, including five starts, at the position as a true freshman. Ogletree flashed big-play ability and lived up to his billing as an elite run-stopping force coming out of high school.
Standing at 6’3”, Ogletree was tall for the safety position, and the Georgia coaching staff asked if he’d be willing to move to linebacker during spring ball before his sophomore season.
“I was kind of hesitant about doing it, but I trusted what my coach asked me to do,” he says. “I made the transition and it was good for me. I was able to pick up on what I needed to do really fast because I had a year under my belt.”
Today Ogletree is a budding star who possesses the natural instincts and superb athleticism to be a game-changing linebacker—inside or out, 4-3 or 3-4—at the next level.
“I consider myself versatile,” Ogletree says. “It’s all about having confidence in your ability to make plays.”
“I’m just ready to play,” he says.