Wade Keliikipi – Nose tackle
Like Hart, Keliikipi is a fifth year senior, and a three year starter. He looks and plays bigger than his listed size (6’3 – 306). He is a big, wide body who looks like he is 315+ and is very strong. Like most nose tackles, Keliikipi is not an elite athlete. He does have very good balance, plays with an excellent base, and is rarely off his feet. Because of his size and strength, he can occupy blockers at the point of attack and doesn’t give ground. He shows good hand use to shed and does a good job stuffing inside running plays. He can get some penetration and be disruptive. He is mainly a tackle-to-tackle type player but will occasionally make a pursuit play. While I wouldn’t call him fast, he has good short area quickness and a burst. His change of direction is good for a big guy. Interestingly, Oregon will sometimes play him on his feet and even drop him into coverage, but they give him a very limited area to cover.
On the first few tapes I looked at, I saw Wade as only a run down player. Then, in the Washington game, he got two sacks, showing very good initial quickness as well as some counter moves. He flashes a short burst off blocks to the QB.
Nose tackles have to have a special mentality because they are constantly getting double teamed. Keliikipi seems to have that mentality. I can see him as an eventual starter in the NFL and getting lots of playing time as a rotational player his rookie year. He looks like he can easily play at 320, which would be perfect for a nose in the NFL. He is probably more of a third round pick, but I wouldn’t be shocked if he went late in the second round.