JUCO linebacker Luke Arciniega could be one of Syracuse's most important members of their 2013 class. The Orange have a hole at the middle linebacker spot next season and are looking to Arciniega to fill that roll.
Jumping off the screen when watching film on the 6-foot-4 prospect are his instincts. He is patient, examines the play, and attacks. Arciniega appears to have a keen knowledge of his assignment, and lets his natural instincts guide him.
When blitzing, he explodes through the hole to put instant pressure on the quarterback. His speed and quickness is most evident when attacking the quarterback either on a designed blitz or tracking him down outside of the pocket.
The most impressive thing about Arciniega is his ability to read the play. He is able to quickly determine who has the ball and where the play is going. This allows him to fill the hole, attack the ball carrier and shut the play down. The Sierra College product patiently waits for a seam to explode through and bring down the runner. He fills the running lanes well, and is lays the lumber at the point of attack.
At 245 pounds, Arciniega is a big, strong linebacker. He plays a physical brand of defense, and utilizes his strength when tackling. He punishes his opponent with a combination of powerful hits and solid tackling technique.
Arciniega also stands out with his explosiveness. After dissecting the play, he attacks his assignment with a great combination of speed and power. His instincts allow him to quickly analyze the offense, and he appears able to correctly attack the zone-read. Strong foot work allows him to be in the right position to make the play.
Frequently playing on the opponent's side of the line of scrimmage, Arciniega is at his best attacking down hill. While he is still solid roaming sideline to sideline, his strength is clearly exploding straight ahead. Once he gets there, his upper body strength and technique allow him to wrap up properly.
The one concern will be in pass coverage. There was not a lot of film of Arciniega covering tight ends, and that will be something he will need to work on when he arrives at Syracuse. Given his instincts, intelligence, and speed, it should be something he picks up quickly with the proper coaching.
Arciniega appears to have all of the skills necessary to be a solid, playmaking middle linebacker at the college level. The combination of size, speed, and strength is something Syracuse has not had at that position in the Marrone era. If the NCAA approves his medical waiver, it should be a productive three years for the Sparks (NV) native.