Few prospects in the state of Utah have better game tape than Gaige Kartchner. The 2015 outside linebacker racked up 120 total tackles with nearly 20 sacks last year. Kartchner's motor is consistently running at 100%, and he is active on every snap. So what is holding teams back from offering Kartchner?
"I am 'tweener', every coach loves the way I play the game, but my size is a red flag for most schools," Kartchner explained. "I am 5'11 1/2 198 lbs right now, and plan to be 205 for the start of the season. At this point, I'm not too worried about it, the fact that I have no early offers just motivates me to work harder. Every day my focus is to get bigger, faster, and smarter. I know that I have what it takes to be a D1 football player, so I just have to stick to it."
Kartchner is on a lot of schools radar, he is hearing from Colorado, Washington State, Utah State, Utah, Boise State, Nevada, Fresno State, and a few others. Michigan State extended an offer to their elite camp, and Kartchner shined in Lansing.
"I love Michigan State and think I preformed well out there," Kartchner claimed. "During testing I did great, I had a 35" vert, ran a 4.58 40, and had a 10'3 broad jump. When it came time for drills and 7 on 7 I really stepped up. Coach Tressel and Coach Dantonio pulled me aside throughout the camp to give me positive feedback. They said they really like me and brought me up to their office to watch some film. They think I am a great athlete and a smart player, but my size is a question mark. They had a starter around my side, so I think I will be in the mix for an offer, but we'll see."
Kartchner shined at a few Utah State camps this summer and feels like the Mountain West may be an ideal fit.
"I love the Mountain West Conference," Kartchner stated. "I think that is a conference where I could fit in and play against some really good competition. A lot of the schools I like are in the MWC. Boise, USU, Nevada, Fresno, San Jose State, and Hawaii are schools I could see myself playing at. How many guys end up at Mountain West schools and turn into All-American/NFL caliber guys... it happens all the time. Whoever gives me that chance isn't going to regret it."
Kartchner may be a shade under 6 feet, but he is a physically imposing football player. He benches 315 with ease and can nearly squat 500. Whoever rolls the dice on Kartchner is going to get a solid football player. He will standout on special teams and can either be an in the box safety or a sideline to sideline linebacker. Every year the "eye test" is proven to have major flaws and Gaige Karchner could be a prime example of that.