Northern Illinois – Vinny Labus, Linebacker, Redshirt Junior
After having a rich history of late that has produced talent like Michael Turner and Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch, the Northern Illinois football team saw a slight slip in 2019, going just 5-7. Despite the unusual losing season, the Huskies saw a bright spot on the defense in Vinny Labus. At just 6’1″ 221 on the roster, Labus is another player that could fit into the linebacker-safety hybrid of NFL defenses.
Like Weatherford at Miami, Labus was able to fill the stat sheet for Northern Illinois during the 2019 season and still has plenty of eligibility left to make his case for the NFL. Last season, Labus totaled a career-high 59 tackles, which was second the team. He was also able to get into the backfield, logging 5.5 tackles for loss and two sacks on the year on top of two quarterback hurries and one fumble recovery. Downfield he added a pass defense to his line as well.
If Labus can improve his downfield ability with a couple of interceptions or maybe a few more pass defenses, then he should be a better fit for the linebacker-safety hybrid role at the NFL level. His other option would be to bulk up and commit to the linebacker position. Regardless, his skill set should turn some heads and draw interest as a player with strong potential.