19 Aug Preseason Scouting Notes: Carlo Kemp, DL, Michigan
Redshirt Senior | 6’3” 286 lbs | Boulder, CO
An easy-moving interior defender who generates proactive power with his thick lower half, but needs to improve his anchor and pass rush plan
Carlo Kemp came to Ann Arbor as a 4-star defensive end recruit. He played in just one game as a reserve defensive end as a freshman, which enabled him to maintain eligibility for a fifth year with the program. Kemp has been a starter for the Michigan defense for the last two season, and was the defensive co-captain in 2019. He primarily aligns as the 2i- when the Wolverines come out in an even front, and will slide to the 0-tech spot in odd fronts, though he will occasionally line up as a 3- or 4i-tech. Michigan likes to use Kemp’s quickness to disrupt the interior by stunting him often on slants and loops, and his speed mismatch inside helps him overcome a lack of heft.
– Very quick first step. Closes cushion on OL quickly and makes him dangerous on slants and loops
– Generates good torque on his initial punch and in bull rush situations due to explosive hip roll and proper leverage
– Possesses the short-area burst and agility to knife through tight creases in the defense. Makes him a mismatch against heavy-footed OL
– Great range for his position. Shows good play speed in the open field in chase situations and gets down the LOS quickly to be a pesky backside pursuit defender
– Shows the ability to redirect OL’s momentum while maintaining his gap discipline
– Accurate hand placement complements his strong punch to win in hand-to-hand combat situations with OL
– High motor player with good stamina. Gives full effort consistently and wants to chase down ball carriers even if they’re well past the LOS
– Showed high-end toughness playing multiple games through injury
– Extensive experience moving up and down the DL coupled with his strength and first step quickness will give him some scheme versatility at the next level
Areas to improve:
– Needs to improve his anchor strength. Can get washed out of plays by stronger interior linemen and gets easily displaced by double teams
– Has issues bench pressing OL off him to create extension for a two-way go. Allows OL to stay tight to his chest
– Pass rush plan is rudimentary. Flashes a good bull and pull and swim move, but doesn’t have any counters if his initial move fails and doesn’t consistently come to the LOS with a plan of action
– Much better athlete in proactive situations than reactive ones. Below average ability to process info and adjust on the fly when he’s in attack mode
– Can get hung up on contact and disengage from blocks late as the play goes by him
– (2019) Missed Alabama game due to nagging ankle and foot injuries dealt with for the final few games of the season
Kemp has a smaller stature for an A-gap player, and thus is likely to move into a B-gap role as a 3- or 4i-tech player at the next level, though he will be able to kick inside to the 1- or 2i- spots on passing downs. Due to his lack of anchor strength and inability to be a two-gap player, he will be forced into a pass rushing depth role at the next level early on in his career. With Kemp’s ability to play a gap shooting role in any scheme and align at multiple positions, he will be sought after by an array of teams looking for interior pass rushers on early Day 3.
What to watch in 2020:
With the BIG 10 pushing their season back to the spring (if it happens at all), Kemp may not have the ability to show improvement in 2020. But he needs to work on improving his ability to set an anchor at the POA and perhaps get his bench press numbers up to consistently keep DL off his chest. Additionally, if he can further develop his pass rush plan and his rush arsenal, he will intrigue teams as potentially more than just a rotational pass rusher.