With many sports fans tuning into LeBron's return to Cleveland or the Eagles-Texans game, an impressive showing by Arizona Wildcats' senior defensive end Ricky Elmore won't get the national attention it deserves.
While the Wildcats suffered a heart-breaking overtime loss to their state rival ASU Sun Devils, Elmore, playing in his final home, posted eight tackles (including six solos) and three sacks.
The Wildcats' duo of Elmore and fellow senior Brooks Reed put constant pressure on Arizona State quarterback Brock Osweiler, who was forced to vacate the pocket and demonstrated much better running skills than one might anticipate given his 6-8, 242 pound frame.
Elmore hasn't generated a great deal of national attention throughout his career despite the fact that he's led the Pac-10 in sacks each of the past two seasons. Last season, Elmore racked up 9.5 sacks. With his three sacks against the Sun Devils, Elmore now has 11 this year with a bowl game still to go.
Elmore, 6-5 and 260 pounds, reminds me in some ways of former Washington Husky defensive end Daniel Te'o-Nesheim. Like Te'o-Nesheim, Elmore has been productive throughout his career and achieves many of his sacks based on a relentless motor and good technique rather than an elite first step.
He is quick enough off the snap, however, to generate consistent pressure. If he's able to impress in post-season all-star games and/or workouts as Te'o-Nesheim did last year, Elmore could see a similar late rise up draft boards.
Te'o-Nesheim was drafted in the third round (No. 86th overall) last April by the Eagles.