After a freshman year of little playing time, Aaron Brule played huge as a sophomore and could be the next stud linebacker.
Anybody who pays attention to Devy, and follows me, knows that I am a huge fan of Aaron Brule. I started taking notice early last year during the first game of the season. Brule absolutely destroyed the LSU Tigers, putting up 10 tackles, one for a loss, and a sack.
Brule made a significant leap his sophomore season, and I expect him to be the leader of this defense moving forward. Check out what makes Aaron Brule so special, as I break down this young player’s career to date.
The Progression of Aaron Brule
Aaron Brule was the 23rd ranked linebacker coming out of high school, which was impressive considering he spent most of his time at safety for Archbishop Rummel High School. Rivals had him ranked as the #12 overall player coming out of the state of Louisiana and was 17th overall by 247 Sports.
In high school, Brule garnered the nickname “Jackboy” because of the fact that he could, and would, do anything asked of him on defense. Brule had originally committed to the Georgia Bulldogs, though he decided to de-commit and sign a scholarship offer with Mississippi State.
-2018 True Freshman Year
As a true freshman, Aaron Brule played sparingly, only appearing in four games. After that, he decided to redshirt the remainder of the season. He played mostly on special teams during these appearances and accumulated just one tackle. He did field a punt on special teams which, in turn, set the team up in great field position.
-2019 Redshirt Freshman Year
As a redshirt freshman, Brule still appeared on the defense sparingly. He was mainly a special teams player once again. In his final game of the season, he showed the progress the coaching staff was working with him on.
The Mississippi State defense runs an unorthodox 3-3-5 base defense, which may seem tricky for someone, who literally lacked a defined position on defense, to learn. He was labeled a safety by some, linebacker by others, but a playmaker by all.
The coaching staff loved the fact that Brule has linebacker size and coverage ability. They wanted to add another level to his game, though, and his ability to get into the backfield proved highly beneficial. The coaching staff worked with Brule on his pass-rushing technique to fit that hybrid edge/linebacker role. In his final game against Louisville, he only came up with one tackle, though that one tackle was a sack.
-2020 Redshirt Sophomore Year
Aaron Brule showed huge progress as a redshirt sophomore. He showed that, in less than three years, he could thrive at any position he is asked to play. Brule showed a true ability to be a student of the game and apply anything he is coached while having the athletic ability to thrive in all aspects.
Brule finished the 2020 season with 74 tackles (second on the team only to Errol Thompson), eight tackles for a loss (led the team), and four sacks (second on the team).
Brule’s 74 tackles were only behind Errol Thompson who just finished his senior season, leaving Brule to be the leading tackle returning to the team. Outside of pacing the team in tackles as a sophomore, Brule led all FBS linebackers in pass-rush snaps, total pressures generated, and QB hurries.
This shows great dominance in his ability to get off of the edge and rush the passer. Brule is now heading into his junior year where he is the leading returning tackler and is set to be the main focus of this Bulldogs defense.
Brule is a jack of all trades type of linebacker and becoming a master of all trades. Brule spent most of his high school career as an oversized safety playing in the box. He can come downhill like a streak and reads the outside run extremely well. Watch this clip here where he reacts to the read option and makes a terrific play to force a third and long:
Aaron Brule forces a 3rd and Long for gulfport pic.twitter.com/fqOBgG277Z
— Amos Morale III (@Amos_MoraleIII) September 3, 2017
Brule can break off of his coverage to make a play with blazing speed as well. Watch here as the quarterback, Myles Brennan, decides that he does not like what he sees and tries to scramble for the first down. Brule breaks off his assignment and comes downhill like a firecracker and lays a booming hit on the Tiger’s QB forcing the fourth down:
— SEConCBS (@SEConCBS) September 26, 2020
Brule has an incredibly quick first step and great snap timing to add to his speed rush off of the edge, which also aids him in his run defense shooting gaps. His zone coverage skills are near elite and he has shown an innate ability to cover running backs out of the backfield. He also has a very good pedal and hit transition for a linebacker, allowing him to stay with running backs and more athletic tight ends.
The Coaching staff has played Brule closer to the ball than he was used to. Because of this, it allowed him to be in a better position to make plays with his abilities. Brule can drop in coverage during blitzes better than most who play edge in the FBS.
His natural position is safety and he has shown very good ball skills, athleticism, and strong hands when in coverage. He is a natural in zone coverage, as he does a great job reading the quarterback’s eyes. Watch these two clips here where he jumps the route and makes the interception:
Aaron Brule with a pick pic.twitter.com/IjsqYuaJ21
— Amos Morale III (@Amos_MoraleIII) November 4, 2017
Aaron Brule with a pick on the first play coming out of halftime pic.twitter.com/U2mkXDPJ6m
— Amos Morale III (@Amos_MoraleIII) September 3, 2017
Brule has very solid ball tracking skills, which are a reminder of his previous position at safety. The thing I like most about Brule is his motor. He constantly gives is 100% and is a complete student of the game, shown by his ability to play safety, edge, and inside linebacker. He literally does everything for this defense, whatever he is asked to do.
Aaron Brule 2021 Outlook
Aaron Brule will look to improve yet again, though this year he will have a tough time topping his 2020 performance. Brule has taken on more of a leadership style role. He knows this defense better than most on the team and he is helping all of his teammates grasp the 3-3-5 concept. After a full year of pass-rushing under his belt, Brule will look to up his sack totals, as he has a chance to lead the team in sacks.
With this in mind, he is also the lead tackler returning this year. Add in the fact that Brule has terrific cover skills and you have a complete player who can lead his team in several categories, making him an excellent Devy option. He is very rarely talked about among Devy players and rankers, though I think they are overlooking him and his situation.
Brule is a perfect fit for an NFL 4-3 WILL linebacker with his ability in run support and coverage. Add his blitz ability, and he could be used in the same likes that Darius Leonard is used. Keep your eyes on Brule, he could be an absolute stud for the 2021 season and beyond.