The Gophers have received a commitment from Texas safety Abner Dubar. He chose Minnesota over offers from Colorado, Texas Tech, Baylor, Kansas, Washington State, Houston and others. At safety, Dubar posted 68 tackles (53 solo), three tackles for loss and two pass breakups in 2018. He recently took official visits to both Minnesota and Colorado, but ultimately decided he fit best in the Twin Cities.
The 6-foot-1, 180-pound safety is the sixth defensive back to join the 2020 class. It’s clear Minnesota is prioritizing adding athletes, team speed and versatility to its secondary. In the past couple cycles, the Gophers have injected offensive line, wide receiver and defensive line depth. Now, they are shifting their attention to the secondary. When the coaching staff arrived they identified areas that needed talent injections the most. They have slowly started to move down the list and are clearly addressing the secondary in this cycle. Dubar checks the boxes in terms of developmental players the coaching staff have valued in the past.
Dubar is above average in many of the testing metrics among players at his position. He posted a 38.9-inch vertical at The Opening Regional, which showcases his pure athletic ability and explosiveness. This is the type of trait to look for within safeties because it often signals positional flexibility, explosiveness and short-range quickness. Dubar also posted a 4.21 shuttle and 4.51 40-yard dash, which are strong testing metrics among safeties. When evaluating the testing of these type of athletes, it’s important to balance the results with what you see on tape and in person. The fundamentals and technique of these workout drills often skew the results, producing metrics that don’t truly reflect a player’s pure performance ability. In this case, Dubar could indeed have better straight line speed than the current results indicate.
When checking out Dubar’s tape, you see his athletic skills on display when he’s at running back. His agility, balance and open field speed, made him really difficult to tackle in space. On defense, Dubar can change direction, drive off his back foot and react quickly to a play in the flat. He lined up in the box occasionally and can be used as a blitzer because of his quickness and physicality. As noted above, those testing metrics support a player who has versatility to flex all over the field. In the tape below, you’ll see several of his hard hits across the middle when wide receivers catch crossing routes.
He’ll be tested more in coverage at the next level, but his physicality as a tackler is easily his best trait. There are some plays where he is across the field and has the closing speed to still make an impact. With his size, Minnesota could easily move him into the slot occasionally to take advantage of larger third wide receivers or tight ends that are flexed out wide. This type of versatility is critical and speaks to the potential upside available for a player who has these traits.
This staff has consistently prioritized players with developmental upside and pure athletic traits. They bring these players to campus and the coaching staff works on polishing technique and capitalizing upon the athletic skills. Not only that, but they may consider moving players to a new position if it suits their skill set better. It’s hard to know the trajectory at which these players will develop, but by building depth over time, the coaches don’t need to rush their developmental pace. In the past, many recruits Minnesota has prioritized are on peak of their breakouts, may earn a ratings bump or have the skills to acclimate quickly with coaching. When looking at the current depth of the secondary, the coaching staff could be asking several of these young defensive back recruits to help quickly.
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