Scouting a prospect is often compared to putting together a giant piece. That puzzle contains four moving pieces that must be studied and taken into consideration. Those four pieces include statistics, film, athletic testing and character. With statistics and film available online and the NFL Combine being bigger than ever, it is easier than ever for the public to come to their own conclusions on prospects. A prospect’s character is one area that remains very difficult to explore, unless you are a professional scout, but through intensive research, perhaps the task is not as impossible as it seems.
One prospect that would be interesting to take a closer look at and one that the Pittsburgh Steelers have shown a notable amount of interest in is Michigan linebacker Devin Bush. The Steelers sent the house to Michigan’s pro-day with their eyes all over Bush. The inside linebacker has proved he hang with the best of them on the field but the inside linebacker position requires more than just raw talent. Acting as the quarterback of the defense, the inside linebacker is often required to be a leader and a story from the Detroit Free Press from March 2018 gave a peak at the linebacker’s true character.
Last March, Bush was faced with a decision, either head back home to Florida to deal with a personal matter or stay with his teammates in Michigan. After a discussion with his father Devin Bush Sr., who told his son to follow his heart, Bush decided to stay in Michigan. The decision impressed many coaches and teammates who had come to know the linebacker as a leader among men.
“Devin Bush Jr., special guy. That’s all I’m going to say. There’s a private story, but this guy stayed with his team and he could’ve easily checked out for three or four days, and everybody would’ve understood. And he didn’t. I think we’re talking about a guy whose character is completely off the charts,” said defensive coordinator Don Brown.
With the inside linebacker position acting as the quarterback of the defense, building trust with the defensive coordinator is a must for the position. Bush’s character skills helped build a line of respect between himself and Brown. The Michigan defensive coordinator would go on to say that he thinks above and beyond of Bush as he is a player who gives everything he’s got.
The linebacker’s character has also had an effect on his teammates who can feel Bush’s aura from the locker room to the field.
“He’s always that type of guy that you always want to be around because he’s going to push you to be the best that you can be. He knows the expectations that need to be achieved, and he’s making sure everybody’s doing their job to achieve them,” says Michigan defensive end Rashan Gary
Bush recognizes his own commitment to his team mates as that was a major factor in him remaining with his teammates. The linebacker is not just a great leader among the starting 11 either, Bush is committed to helping the next generation of the Michigan defense.
“I feel like I’m needed here, my guys need me. And I need to be there for them, and for the younger guys as well because they’re going to need my help throughout this whole year. So, I just felt like it was a big decision for me to stay here and I feel like I made the right decision,” says Bush.
While Bush’s play is mostly subjective based upon one’s own conclusions from watching his tape, the conclusion of his character is more objective. From all accounts of team mates and coaches, Bush can be counted on as a guy to lead a defense, not just on the field but off the field as well.