Up next in our Freshman Focus series is Toledo linebacker Dallas Gant. Gant (6-3 225) played linebacker and receiver/tight end for his St. John’s high school team. The clips below were all taken from his senior season and you can see the entire highlight package at his HUDL page.
Gant should begin his career as an outside linebacker, but will eventually have the size to play any of the three linebacker spots. Ranked a 4-star prospect and the No. 10 outside linebacker in the nation, Gant is an athletic linebacker with size and range.
Gant is already enrolled, so he will take part in spring football. He will get a crash course in linebacker play at Ohio State and it should lead to a role on special teams as a true freshman.
What To Like
At 6-foot-3 and 225 pounds, Dallas Gant already has good size, and he’s only going to get bigger and stronger. He plays on both sides of the ball and doesn’t even look a little out of place on offense. As a linebacker, he covers ground faster than a rumor, but when he arrives, he’s only bringing the truth.
In order to give you an idea of Gant as an athlete, let’s start out by watching him on offense. It’s sort of like how coaches like to watch linemen play basketball. It gives you a unique vantage point to their abilities.
Gant isn’t just playing receiver above, he is also carrying the ball and basically showing that he is the best athlete on the field. That will change now at Ohio State, but that doesn’t mean he can’t still be the most athletic linebacker on the field.
Of course, being athletic is nice, but it doesn’t make anybody a run stopper, and that’s what every Ohio State linebacker needs to be.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, Gant shows an ability to get off of blocks and stay aggressive in finding the football. He can also slice through blockers — or at least he could in high school.
Gant can find his way through traffic without a GPS, and he’s a long-range traveler. He can run from the hash to the opposite numbers, but displays a mindful awareness to not lose leverage.
There is plenty to like with Dallas Gant, and his skill set should be well-utilized down the road with the Buckeyes.
As mentioned above, Gant could end up at any of the three linebacker spots, but he seems like a candidate to start out at Sam. With his range, being further away from the ball doesn’t put him at a disadvantage. And he also shows potential as a pass defender, which includes rushing the passer.
I don’t know how much more weight he can put on his frame, but Mickey Marotti has already gotten all of that figured out.
His versatility and athleticism is reminiscent of a taller Chris Worley.
Dallas Gant will be one of 10 scholarship linebackers on the roster this season, so it is going to be difficult for him to get on the field. Both freshmen last season — Pete Werner and Baron Browning — played on special teams, which is where Gant’s career will begin as well.
The Sam linebacker spot is still mired in a bit of mystery. Will the starter be Malik Harrison or Dante Booker? Does Booker move to the Will where he began his career? Werner will also be involved here, so it’s going to be a crowded position. If Gant begins his career as a Will, it won’t be much different there either, because OSU will have Keandre Jones, Justin Hilliard, and possibly K’Vaughan Pope and others.
There are many questions here, but Gant should still be able to see the field as a freshman on special teams.
The Bottom Line
Gant is likely a year or two away from finding a way to contribute on defense, and by that time he may have finally grown into his eventual position.
The bottom line is that he is a linebacker who can run from one side of the field to the other, but is just as comfortable sticking his nose in between the tackles. He stays in control on the field and remains patient when he needs to be. He finds his gap and fills it well.