Anttaj Hawthorne | The War Room | HoustonProFootball.com
Birthday: November 15, 1981
The 3-4 defense is known for its playmaking linebackers, but the secret ingredient to make it all work is the man down low in the middle of the line. Anttaj Hawthorne is one such individual who can be the needed plugger to make stars of his linebacker teammates.
Hawthorne spent much of the 2003 season in the opposition’s backfield. Of his 75 tackles, 20 of them – that’s more than one out of every four – came from behind the line of scrimmage. Using brute strength and aggression, Hawthorne implodes running games before they start. In an upset win over Ohio State last year, he led the way in shutting down a potent Buckeye rushing attack, allowing just 69 yards and tossing in a pair of sacks to boot.
Despite all those tackles for a loss he notches in his headboard, Hawthorne won’t be one of those inside pass rushing tackles that racks up sack totals. While Hawthorne’s agile enough to penetrate the offensive line quite often, he lacks the footspeed to catch most quarterbacks. That lack of pass rushing ability is not as much of a concern for the 3-4 scheme employed by the Texans, but Hawthorne could stand to improve his footwork and hand technique since he won’t be able to bully NFL interior linemen like he does the linemen of the Big Ten Conference.
As a nose tackle prospect, Hawthorne is comparable to a smaller version of Vince Wilfork, even down to a Wilfork-like tendency to disappear for stretches. Wisconsin’s line coach says Hawthorne needs to avoid being lazy at times, but that shouldn’t be confused with Hawthorne’s love of the game and his talent to become a player on Sundays. Hawthorne plugs the middle as good as anyone in college football, and with his physical mindset that no one runs up the middle on him, he will be a dominating nose tackle in the NFL.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
Anttaj Hawthorne’s 2003 Stats G TCK TFL SKS FF FR 13 75 20 4.0 2 0 Anttaj Hawthorne Home
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