25 Nov Scouting Notes: Christian Uphoff, SAF, Illinois State
Redshirt Senior | 6’3” | 213 lbs | Peoria, IL
Christian Uphoff is an excellent athlete with very good speed for his size, allowing for sideline-to-sideline range. Shows very good burst coming downhill and closing in coverage but can struggle with controlled deceleration. Has solid balance to recover and pursue.
Good awareness allows Uphoff to feel routes and quickly identify threats to his zone. Though he can be sucked in by play-action, he recovers well with solid footwork and smooth hips and can track the ball well in the air. Operates well in underneath zones with good closing speed and shows the play recognition to bottle up screens and vision to pick through traffic.
Was occasionally asked to play man coverage in the slot, where he showed the physicality to press and jam receivers and TEs at the top of the route. He can anticipate breaks well and has the change of direction ability and foot speed to carry receivers and stay in phase with hands on.
Times his break on the ball well, with the ability to bait the QB and use his burst to come up with the interception using solid hands. Reads the hands of the receiver well when out of phase and can close quickly to knock the ball away.
Against the Run:
Can fly into the backfield and make plays off the edge. Though his slight frame did not allow him to shed blocks very effectively, he has bulked up over the past season. Has the gap discipline to set the edge and peak in holes to force the runner to the sideline. Breaks down well in the hole with good bend to tackle but can lunge when coming downhill quickly which can result in missed tackles. Has a good overall motor to make plays on the edge and pursue.
Uphoff is a rangy safety with the foot speed to play single high, the awareness to be effective as a zone player, and mirror ability to play man in the slot. He can make an impact coming off the edge against the run or as a blitzer when unimpeded by blocks but lacks the play strength to shed. His explosiveness may allow him to contribute as a returner at the next level and his NFL level speed will intrigue many teams despite some tackling concerns.
Projects as a high-ceiling FS at the next level, who will likely take some time to acclimate to the speed of the game. May not be a day one contributor, but the tools are there for a coverage safety who can make plays all over the field. Due to his athletic upside, he may be taken as a late day 2 player, and will not stick around past the 4th round.