Upon Further Review- Corey Flagg

Upon Further Review- Corey Flagg

Lance Roffers
Miami has a clear need for LB’s in the 2020 class and they recently picked up a commitment from a highly productive player from the state of Texas in the form of LB Corey Flagg. It has fascinated me how a player as productive as he has been, in a state known for their high school football, as the most productive player on the best team could go without offers from the big in-state schools. To find, I decided to put Flagg Under Further Review.

The game I watched was the state championship against 15-0 Duncanville. A nice, clear HD broadcast and against a quality opponent that runs an option offense and requires LB’s to read their keys and play sound football sounded like the perfect one to choose.

Starting the game and you can see that Flagg already carries notoriety for his defense, as he’s named the Impact Player for that side of the ball.

1st down and Flagg aggressively reads his key and comes downfield. He fills quickly, but his DT gets bullied backwards. Flagg runs into his back and blocks himself. Does show a good motor to get out of this and circle around to jump on the pile.

On 2nd down, Flagg over pursues his gap and runs right into his force player, allowing the QB to cut the ball back inside (On the 25-yard line). If Flagg stays in his gap he knifes in and probably tackles the QB for a loss. Instead, this goes for a huge run. At least Flagg hustled down and made the tackle about 35-yards downfield. He gets up yelling at the guy he ran into (42), but I’m not sure what he’s upset about. I don’t see a way that he would be responsible for the outside and the outside guy would supposed to be somewhere else on this play.

On the next play, Flagg is really savvy. He sees the jet sweep, but rather than getting super anxious and jumping outside too early, he stays in his lane in case the QB keeps, then uses his off-arm to leverage off of his DL and keep himself disciplined and still scrape down the line when the runner tries to cutback into his lane (because 42 held his edge nicely). Makes a nice tackle.

Something that any successful ILB possesses is an ability to find ways through traffic efficiently. Here, Flagg picks the perfect angle to cut through and pursue the QB rolling to his left. (Right on 40-yard line) Finds a spot, hits it hard, attacks the QB, forces him to throw early and it’s nearly picked off.

Flagg is undersized, but he definitely isn’t soft. Love to see him being the one to deliver a hit on this OL trying to get to the second level. He stands him straight up and fork lifts a player much bigger than he is. Flagg doesn’t make the tackle here, but by doing his part and blowing up this blocker (rather than trying to dance around him) he allows others to make the play. Right in middle of screen on LOS.

He has active hands when an OL tries to get on him. Avoids the first man trying to get to him quickly (right at 1st down marker). After that, he penetrates right into where the pulling OL is trying to get to his DL in front of Flagg. Essentially, he occupies two OL and allows the edge to stay free and the down lineman to pursue and make a big TFL. A player who will do the dirty work for team to succeed.

My only guess is that the DC called an overload blitz to the field side of the formation because Flagg was standing in this open gap to the left at the start of the play and looped all the way RT while they also sent the edge to that side. That leaves no force player or Mike on the play side and the QB steps right through it and nearly houses this play. If this was Flagg trying to make a play, he made a big mistake leaving that area wide open (he’s getting blocked on the hash mark).

Flagg is definitely a stack-and-shed traditional MLB. Here he takes on the blocker head-up at the 20, steers him away, shucks the blocker, makes the tackle. Nice play.

When talking about players you often hear things like “good football player” or just “plays the game the right way.” Flagg has exhibited those positive superlatives early on, but he’s also shown you some of why he wasn’t more highly recruited as he truly does lack overwhelming physical tools. On this play he does an excellent job of just taking the right angle, knifing through traffic and getting into the backfield but because he is a touch small and a touch slow, he is just one step late getting there and misses the tackle for loss. This ends up going for a 1st down when it should’ve been a loss.

Again, the biggest deficiency I see with Flagg is a lack of foot speed. On this play, Flagg is lined up outside of this RB on the inside give, but the RB has more speed than Flagg and is already outside of him. You see Flagg getting blocked just above the ‘4’ in 40. The result of the play isn’t the point (cutback for nice yards), it’s that Flagg will not be able to simply outrun his mistakes and will need to be a read-and-diagnose type LB.

Flagg is #2 here, I stopped this to show his lack of size. He’s tough and he’s physical, but there are obvious physical limitations.

What Flagg does really is avoid blockers and trash and get through efficiently. This is what they mean when they talk about “playing faster than he is.” You can see the blocker on all-fours here and Flagg avoids him and gets into a tackle outside the numbers on this play.

Another guy on the ground trying-and-failing to block Flagg. You see him falling at the 5-yard line.

Then the lack of athleticism and burst. He can’t close after eluding the blocker and whiffs badly on this tackle. RB walks into end zone.

Something that will need to be coached out of him at the next level is to be more lane-disciplined. Once again he is jumping out of his area with aggression. He’s the arm pushing on #42 right in the middle. The gap between the C/G (A-gaps) is his. #10 is left on the cutback to cover two gaps here and no safety behind him.

He’s head-up on the QB in the hole here. You’d like to see him fill this hole and stop the runner at or behind the LOS. Instead he misses the tackle and the QB falls forward for five yards.

He’s not afraid of contact or taking on bigger players, that’s obvious on film. He’s getting held here or he probably makes a TFL. Does force the QB to go wide due to him holding his ground and filling his gap. Nice play to get through the trash and stay disciplined with the jet sweep motion holding the backside defenders, he read his keys and flowed to the play before anyone else.

It’s a pretty consistent theme that I’ve seen thus far in this film review. He is simply not fast. Here he has a free run at this RB with an angle and he doesn’t get there in time. The RB beats him to this hole (I mean to the inside of the OL) and has to be tackled at the 16-yard line. This can’t happen, that play has to be made by your MLB. (#2 on the ground in second shot)


Read option for the QB and Flagg takes the cheese and closes too hard on the RB. Leaves a lane right behind him. Difficult play because if that is a give to the RB with him running horizontally the LB has to run him down. The lack of speed plays into this in my mind because I believe he’s cheating a bit to be able to run this down. He does get up, trail the play and jump on a football as the QB is fighting for extra yardage. He gets a fumble recovery, but he honestly did nothing on the play to cause it.

The Duncanville offense was a good game to evaluate Flagg with because they really did a nice job of putting him in a position to read keys and try to run. He takes a false step on this play and they have a backside blocker there to take Flagg. Really, he is the backside defender and they used his aggressiveness against him. This play goes for 45.

Very next play he shows his ability to diagnose a play and attack it quickly. He shuts this slip screen down by flowing from the backside, but it’s his anticipation that allows him to see it so quickly. WR is just starting to come back to the ball and he’s already sprinting there. Beats the blocker and helps make the tackle.

I’ve probably come across as critical of Flagg in this review, but you can see that he is the focal point of the Duncanville offense. Here, they release out to Flagg immediately and leave the down lineman and Edge players unblocked. 42 is a reckless player in this game and he back pedals and gives up the edge. The QB for Duncanville has serious speed and gets that edge. Trips himself or he would’ve scored.

Look at Flagg here. Immediately reads his keys and is not letting the eye candy in the backfield influence him from his job. That puller is his key. When that guy goes across and pulls like he is, Flagg is immediately at his hip (Stand up LB on other side of LOS, just behind C).

Because he read his keys and didn’t hesitate or watch the ball, he is there to make this tackle right where he should be. Excellent job of reading your keys young man. Unfortunately, he missed the tackle and RB nearly scores.

This is the best play that Flagg has made the entire game thus far. He’s on the 8-yard line. He flowed under control with the QB who is rolling in a single-wing type look. As soon as the OL flows down, he sticks his foot in the ground and explodes through this hole. He meets that QB in the backfield and makes a huge TFL.

Flagg reads this play well, streaks in to the hole, has the QB dead-to-rights here. He actually doesn’t touch this QB on this play he was juked so cleanly.

Reads it well, diagnoses it, closes on the hole, just doesn’t have the speed here. Doesn’t touch this RB. Flagg is on the blue line. The man behind makes the tackle after the RB gets the edge.

At least on this missed tackle, Flagg did technically lay a hand on him. This is a 3rd & 3 play. You’ve got to make this stop if you have this position on the edge.

Flagg’s lack of speed and/or mass shows up often in this game. Here, he has the RB in the backfield. He reads it. He sees it. He fires his gun. He just doesn’t have the athleticism to finish the play. This goes for a TD.

Doesn’t touch him.

The biggest strength I’ve seen from Flagg is his ability to maneuver his way through traffic. He has an innate ability to work around blockers and through trash to find the ball. Takes on the block, finds a lane, meets the RB perfectly at the spot he took an angle for.

Takes on the block right in the middle of the field at about the 23-yard line, comes off of him, finds the ball, makes the tackle. Definitely an emotional leader, as he is the one celebrating and pumping up his teammates after the play.

Plays this read-option much better than earlier in the game. Here, he puts himself in-between the RB and QB so that he can then re-trace and make the tackle down on the QB. He reduces the space and makes the play. (Standing just off blue-line in the hole, head-up on QB)

Way too aggressive here. Flagg is the last white shirt there. He has to understand this is overrunning the play. This allows the ball carrier to cut back into that huge lane you see there. He needs to be trailing that play and looking to close that hole if the ballcarrier reverses field. Not a good play at all and he nearly scores.

Why he will be good:
  • Ability to diagnose and see plays before they happen
  • Works through trash well
  • Finds the ball on most plays
  • Leader on the field who is competitive and wants to win
Where it could go wrong:
  • The lack of foot speed was glaring at times
  • Not only did a lack of speed show up, the lack of athleticism in movement skills were apparent with his missed tackles
  • Is not overly large so he lacks the mass to finish plays that he gets to
  • Has already been coached at a major HS level, how much upside is remaining
There were a lot of good things on film for Flagg in this game, but there were clear deficiencies as well. His speed is going to need to improve to make a mark at the college level. He tries hard, works to compete on all plays, makes the calls for the defense. In order to succeed at this level he will need to gain mass as well.

At this point, he looks like a three-star player who has plus instincts and understands what is asked of him. He will most likely start out as a special teams player and he really reminds me of Mike Smith, another LB who worked extremely hard, understood football, but at times his lack of foot speed, movement skills, and overall mass led to missed tackles in games.

You see the allure of Flagg, as he is a true LB who fits the aggressive mold of this defense and he looks to seek-and-destroy on every play. Once the coaches get him into this system they will have the chance to maximize his many strengths while also looking to mask his deficiencies.

Comments (79)

Good write up. Can't coach speed. Don't remember Zach Thomas or that LB from Clemson (short white dude) couple years back being fast, so hope is instincts prevail.
  • Has already been coached at a major HS level, how much upside is remaining
One of the real challenges with evaluating some of those Texas HS players is that they are really close to finished products. It is not just the coaching, but some have advanced S&C and nutrition, too. IMO, that is one of the things that burned the University of Texas for a longtime. They tried to lock down instate guys early, largely ignored senior year change and performance, and wound up with a bunch of HS studs who never became anything more.
Everyone we recruit can't all be starters. This is a depth take that fits the defense.

It's obvious that Manny is taking the Clemson route instead of Alabama. Instead of taking the more talented player that doesn't fit your scheme, he's taking the player that fits the scheme even if he's lower rated. Clemson won a natty with like a 11th ranked recruiting average bc they got a QB and filled the roster with their type of players. Alabama and UGA, more often than not, take the highest rated player on their board even if he doesn't fit.
You guys needed Lance to tell you that a small guy who runs a 5 flat 40 is slow?

This dude is a good football player at the HS level, but so was the MLB on my HS team. He averaged about 20 tackles per game. He ran like he was carrying a piano and never got anything done at the collegiate level.

I hope we stole a gem from Texas and Texas AM, but there might be a reason they didn’t want him despite having a lot more exposure to him than we’ve had.
Like i said. Dudes try to act like a Lb that runs a 5.0 isnt a problem. I watched this dude film and he was late on a lot of plays and just jumped on the pile. I'm sure he got credit for a lot of those tackles.
Good write up. Can't coach speed. Don't remember Zach Thomas or that LB from Clemson (short white dude) couple years back being fast, so hope is instincts prevail.
They weren't fast but they were faster than flagg.
But...but..but... he plays faster on film. Shaq got a lot of hate for looking slow this season and posters are largely ignoring the slow recruits Manny is getting.