PLAYER PROFILE: Brandon Ogletree, 6-3, 230, OLB, Senior
When Brandon signed with the Vandals in 2004 out of Persons High School, he had the farthest to travel to Moscow of any recruit in the class, moving from Forsyth, Georgia to the Palouse. At the time the state of Georgia was ranked the #4 football talent hotbed in the country behind California, Florida and Texas. A 6-3, 205-pound 2-way starter as a senior, Brandon was considered the #81 prospect in the state of Georgia, largely because of his 4.5 – 40 time at NIKE camps and exceptional speed on the track. As a senior, his 4x100 meter relay team took 3rd at the Class AAA Georgia State Championships. He would be heading to the University of Idaho
as an "athlete", and would be given an opportunity to play a number of positions.
|Ogletree climbed to the starting SAM position in 2006.|
True to form, he's been an "athlete" in just about every sense of the term, and has played all over the field for the Vandals.
As a true freshman Brandon earned playing time as a backup safety and a fixture on special teams. The jump from high school football to Division 1A collegiate competition is significant (drastic increase is speed, size, sophistication, etc). Despite this fact, Brandon was part of 17 Vandal freshmen who would take their lumps on the gridiron as the rebuilding process began with this class at Idaho under then-head coach Nick Holt
As a sophomore, with Idaho continuing to rebuild the defensive front line and a depleted defensive end depth chart, Brandon moved up to the defensive line where he worked into the weakside defensive end (rush end) rotation. A career defensive back / linebacker and runningback in high school, the move to D-line was challenging. But Brandon is an athlete who has always put his teams first, and he fulfilled the staff's need for help up front. He took his lumps, and learned.
|Ogletree has been a fixture on Idaho's special teams units throughout his career.|
Then, as a junior last season, Brandon moved to outside linebacker – a position that seemed a perfect fit for the physical strength and speed he brings to the field – and had a breakout season for the Vandals. By midseason he climbed to the top of the strongside linebacker (SAM) depth chart, splitting starting duties and playing time with redshirt junior speedster Josh Bousman
. The position utilizes Brandon's speed, range, and exceptional size and strength, and both Bousman and Ogletree combined for an impressive 92 tackles on the year (Ogletree with 48 tackles, Bousman with 44). Ogletree finished the season tied for 3rd on the team in tackles, Bousman finished 4th.
In all Ogletree started seven games for Idaho - five at SAM and two games at WILL when starting weakside linebacker David Vobora moved to middle linebacker against Hawaii and Nevada.
If ever there was a deeper, more talented and experienced SAM depth chart at Idaho (especially considering the redshirt freshmen this spring and new recruits coming in this fall), we have no idea when it would have been.
|Brandon had a breakout 2006 season, finishing with 48 tackles and five tackles for loss in seven starts.|
In 2007 it is quite possible Idaho will utilize four linebackers regularly in a 3-4 alignment, and the prospect of putting Ogletree, Bousman, 2006 1st Team All-WAC selection David Vobora
and hitting machine Joartis Ratti
all on the field at the same time should comfort Vandal fans and make opponents take notice.
We spoke with Brandon following the Silver and Gold game last month, and he had the following to say about his career in Moscow.
PH: Brandon, you've played a number of positions throughout your career. Is outside linebacker the position that you were originally recruited to play here at Idaho?
Ogletree: "Well, I was recruited here as an athlete; so when I first got here I started off as a safety. Then they needed someone to go on the line [at defensive end]; so I went to the line. During my junior year I moved back to linebacker."
PH: Did the staff ever talk about you playing on offense, or were you a defensive guy all the way?
Ogletree: "Defensive guy all the way."
PH: So you've risen to the top of the depth chart as a linebacker. What are your strengths as Idaho's starting strongside linebacker?
|Brandon has played a prominant role on virtually all of Idaho's special teams units throughout his career.|
Ogletree: "I think I can bring a lot of speed to the table. I think I'm an aggressive kind of linebacker. I mean, I feel like I have great strength; so I think I bring all of that to the table."
PH: How does this year's defense under Coach Criner compare to what you've played before under Nick Holt and Jeff Mills? Different? About the same?
Ogletree: "We're a whole lot different. We're using our speed to our advantage this year. We keep working on our cohesiveness with each other and we're together as a team now."
PH: Idaho now has substantial depth at linebacker? How does that help what you guys try to do as a unit?
Ogletree: "You always have fresh legs. You…need to be on top of your game, because through the mismatch of the position [fresh legs] give you an advantage."
PH: Given your speed, are you still going to be playing on special teams or are you going to be focusing on defense?
Ogletree: "I'm on special teams. We focus on special teams."
PH: Last one. This is your first year playing for a new position coach. A lot of other guys on this team have had different coaches. This is your first time you've had a new one. How does Al Genatone compare to Johnny Nansen?
Ogletree: "They compare the same. Coach Genatone, he's a pretty nice, good coach. He teaches a lot. He teaches and tells you what you're doing wrong, that type of thing. Coach Nansen was a great coach also."
PH: Thank you very much and good luck this fall.
Routinely described by the Vandal coaching staff as one of the most "physically talented" of Idaho's deep linebacking corps, senior BRANDON OGLETREE (6-3, 230) finds himself at the top of Idaho's strongside linebacker depth chart. He'll be battling senior Josh Bousman in what may be a repeat of 2006, where the two athletes combined for over 90 tackles and split starting duties last fall.