Dishawn Misa (ILB, 6’3” 220, Eastside Catholic, WA)
Misa is the latest star recruit to come out of Eastside Catholic’s program, and he headlines the 2022 in-state defensive recruiting class. Already earning national hype as a sophomore All-American at LB, Misa will be a highly coveted prospect due to his skills, tools, and potential to become a prototypical ILB.
Right off the bat you can see Misa plays like his hair is on fire (I’ll also note that his flow is top notch). He plays aggressively and with the classic linebacker mentality that sets the defensive tone. Misa has a good first step and comes downhill hard when he’s sniffing out a play to be made in the backfield. He does well using his quickness to slip blocks, knife through the line, and get tackles for loss. He isn’t quite a thumper in the hole just yet, but he has good tackling radius. His long reach, good wrap-up form, and ranginess helped him to consistently get ball carriers on the ground; an underrated trait in many of today’s highlight-driven recruiting circles. I also saw a few plays on his tape where his long arms helped to fend off blocks on the handful of snaps where he was met at the second level by blockers. Added mass and strength will further leverage that advantage. Either way, you can tell that Misa knows how to identify his keys and navigate through the chaos at the LOS. Even in today’s space-based game, these instincts and tackling fundamentals are critical for high-quality LB play.
That being said, Misa has shown some coverage skills and a feel for playing in space that is difficult to develop in some LBs. The sample size for his coverage snaps is somewhat limited, but he has made plays on the ball, and he should be an adequate coverage LB at worst. Another path towards being a high-level contributor in pass defense could be the Eddie U. route of being a good pass rusher. This may be Misa’s best move early in his career as his athleticism and gap-shooting skills could make him an effective blitzer. He probably won’t be a Ben Burr-Kirven level of coverage LB, but he could certainly project as a better version of either Keishawn Bierria or Azeem Victor. Bierria is a pretty good comparison for Misa at this point. Bierria was the more athletic of the Bierria-Victor ILB combination, and he could play sideline-to-sideline as a tackling machine, but he made his impact plays attacking downhill with quickness.
As far as his future growth, Misa has a frame could support a lot more mass than what is already a pretty impressive roster listing. Even if he is a bit lighter than his 220 lb roster weight, Misa could certainly work his way into the Victor-esque 230-240 range and play his physical brand of football effectively. He doesn’t have the pop to match his physicality just yet, but I have a feeling like he’ll get there in due time. The talent is all there for him to be a star, now we just have to go out and bring him into the program.