Ronald Triplette, a 6’3, 245 pound strong side defensive end / defensive tackle from Shadow Creek High School (Pearland, TX) committed to Kansas State on June 5th. Triplette is a 247 composite 3-star (85) player with listed offers from numerous group of 5 schools.
What Does Triplette Bring to the Table?
What stands out the most on his film is his ability to turn speed into power. He has a nice burst off the line, and can convert that burst into power when he hits an offensive lineman. This is a foundational skill for defensive linemen. If a player can reliably get off the line and drive his man backwards, he’s got the hard part down.
On top of his ability to turn speed into power (explosiveness if you will), Triplette also has violent hands. When he hits offensive linemen, he stands them up and stuns them. That’s a crucial skill for a guy that could potentially slide inside and play as a 3 technique defensive tackle. When he hits a guy, they know they’ve been hit.
As a defensive end, I don’t see much finesse in his pass rush right now. He gets off the line, gets into the offensive lineman (when the lineman doesn’t whiff), pushes him off balance and tries to find the quarterback or running back in the backfield. He’ll need to diversify his rush at the collegiate level and develop a go to counter move, because he’ll find offensive linemen at the collegiate level with the ability to absorb his initial push and either redirect him out of the play or redirect him to the ground, but that’s common with physically dominant defensive linemen at the high school level.
Think of Triplette as a pitcher with a plus-fastball that needs to work on his off speed pitches. I’d much rather teach a guy that can throw gas how to throw a change and a slider than to try and teach a guy how to throw gas.
In keeping with the theme of K-State’s 2020 class, he has a ton of raw ability and could be special once the staff smooths out some of the rough edges. What you see on film isn’t close to the finished product.
How Does He Fit Into the 2020 Class?
He plays an interesting role on his high school team. As you’ll notice in his highlight film, Shadow Creek plays a 3 man front, and he gets moved inside quite a bit. Most recruiting sites have him listed as a strong side defensive end, but he could also slide inside and play the 3 technique at defensive tackle.
I know you look at a 6’3, 245 pound high school defensive lineman and “oh, that dudes a defensive tackle” isn’t the first thing that pops into your head. He’ll have to get bigger in order to stand up against the run as a defensive tackle but playing inside would allow him to use his burst off the ball to attack guards instead of tackles. He’s got another year to get bigger in high school, and might be a guy that needs a redshirt year of lifting and eating when he gets on campus, but I can see some Grady Jarrett potential in him (I’m sure y’all will get tired of Clemson comparisons, but it’s my best frame of reference) if he can get up into the 280s.
Also, as you may have noticed, with the spate of commitments from Texas based players, the Lone State State is a focus for the new staff. Triplette won’t be making the trip north alone as his Shadow Creek teammate Jeremiah Harris (more on him later) also gave his verbal to the coaching staff recently. I can’t guarantee that K-State doesn’t get Harris without Triplette, but it couldn’t have hurt.
Where Does Defensive Line Recruiting Go From Here?
The Wildcats have a few versatile guys on the defensive line in this class. The ability to play multiple positions appears to be a theme, but a run clogging defensive tackle that allows these guys to go out and be athletic without worrying about getting crushed in the running game should be a priority in this class.
Those guys are tend to be hard to come by but every great defensive has a few on the roster. Fast guys are great, but sometimes you just need a big dude to eat up blocks and dominate at the point of attack.