With his Nunley’s recent commitment, you folks get a bonus recruiting profile this week.
Vincent Nunley (DB, 6’1” 180, Oakley HS, CA)
Nunley is a versatile and ball hawking DB prospect that best projects as a safety at UW. Unlike some of our recent star safeties (like Rapp & Baker), Nunley might be better suited as Robin to their Batman. The key here is the rather diverse jack-of-all-trades master-of-none skill set that he’s developed. While Nunley might not be dynamic in any one area of safety play, he i has played as a conventional deep safety (both Cover 2 and centerfield alignments), in the underneath zone, and even a little man-to-man. He is a sound and physical tackler, and he isn’t afraid to trigger downhill in run support when asked. That well-rounded versatility lets our staff be more creative when featuring our best athletes as they will know that there won’t be a deficiency in the back end. A good comparison for Nunley could be Cameron Williams.
Like Williams, Nunley is also a good-but-not-great athlete. However, they have the instincts and versatility to be handle the multitude of roles that we ask our safeties to play. They are probably most effective in split safety (Cover 2 or 4) or in robber coverages, where they can sit back or lurk underneath and make plays on the ball with their combination of instincts and burst. Those types of safety coverages are more instinctive than technical, so it is a good sign that he already has a grasp of the less easily taught aspects of the game. Starting out, we also probably won’t ask Nunley to play a lot of man-to-man in the slot until we get him coached up on his coverage techniques, and we probably won’t ask him to play in the box or blitz off the edge as much as we did with Rapp & Baker. However, I do expect him to be adequate in those areas in 2-3 years.
His aforementioned physicality and tackling skills are good indicators of future box safety play, but tackling in space is also an underrated skill when assessing the success of our safeties when playing deep centerfield coverages. If/when Nunley gets paired up with another safety like Turner & Covington, who may be more talented around the LOS, being able to move over to deep safety will be valuable. Our schemes allow for less athletic safeties to be successful deep by limiting the scope of their coverage responsibilities and by playing in an extra deep alignment. Jojo McIntosh was effective playing with Baker and Rapp because he was able to be a tackling enforcer who could clean up busted coverages. Instead of needing to cover between the hashes, we locked up offenses across the board in man coverage, thus allowing him to play to his instincts. Nunley could be used in a similar fashion.
Like Stockton with Malone, and many other dynamic sports duos, there are guys whose skill set in a vacuum might not stand out, but in conjunction with others, can unlock the talents of those around them. Nunley has the skill set to be that type of perfect scheme fit. Our staff knows how valuable this type of versatility can be at safety, and this is a solid addition.