It's easy to follow the Power 5's, the Alabama's, Clemson's, and Ohio State's of the world. You'll hear about Heisman candidates, they'll all come from those schools, they're the poster boys for college football. But college football is more than the syndicate that is the Power 5. It's also full of great, talented players with great stories. At the Roundup we want to introduce you to under the radar Texas players that if you don't know, you should. We'd like you to meet La'Kel Bass, linebacker UTSA.
6'1, 225 Senior
St. Louis, Missouri/New Mexico Military/ Hutchinson C.C.
Awards and Stats
- Finished 2nd on team with 87 tackles in 2016.
- Fifth most tackles in a single season in UTSA history.
- Led UTSA with 11 tackles for loss.
- Finished 3rd on the team with 5 sacks.
- Credited with 3 quarterback hurries in 2016.
La'Kel Bass took a circuitous and determined route to San Antonio. Originally from St. Louis, Bass started his prep career at Christian Brothers College High School where he was a strong safety and a receiver. After his senior year, though he had an FBS offer, Bass failed to qualify. From that point Bass has been doggedly determined to find a plan B. It led him to Niagara Academy where he sat out a year of football in order to pull his grades up. But Bass stayed in shape and landed at New Mexico Military, where he finished second on the team in tackles as a freshman.
From there he got a call from his high school quarterback, Dalton Demos, who had signed with Coastal Carolina out of Christian Brothers but was looking for a new start, he found it at Hutchinson Community College in Hutchinson, Kansas. When he found out one of his old high school teammates was also at a JC, he called Bass to see if he'd like to join him at Hutch. Bass and Demos signed with Hutchinson and once there, Bass was once again a tackling machine. He led the Blue Dragons with 101 tackles, four picks, nine tackles for loss and three fumble recoveries.
Bass brought his grades up and looked for a four year landing spot, he found it in UTSA. After redshirting in 2015, Bass moved into the starting lineup as a junior in 2016.
Why you should know him
You've heard of Josiah Tauaefa of course, the Freshman All-American who set UTSA's single season tackling mark in his first year starting. Tauaefa who jumps over people or pile drives them all with the magnificent flowing locks of an eighties rock God. On the off chance you haven't heard of Tauaefa, go google him. He's big time. You probably haven't heard of Bass, Butch Cassidy to Tauaefa's Sundance. But you should get to know him because he makes up one half of one of the best linebacking duos in CUSA and the state. Plus he's a real thumper.
We hate sounding cliche or redundant but we'll risk it here because it's the truth: La'Kel Bass is a football player. Yes, we know, but there aren't many other phrases that can describe Bass other than: Football Player. Everywhere Bass has played, from Missouri, to New Mexico, to Kansas and now in Texas, he's been at or near the top of the stat sheet. Nothing flashy, just consistent and efficient. You win with guys like that.
On film he's not off the charts athletic, he doesn't run blindingly fast sideline to sideline, doesn't jump over guys, his hair doesn't belong in a Selsun Blue commercial, but he's a physical, inside the box tackler. Bass' 87 stops were second best on the team and good enough for the fifth best single season number in UTSA's brief history. As teams started to gameplan for Tauaefa, there was Bass, jumping in and making plays.
When Bass gets going downhill he's hard to deal with. Bass consistently made plays or disrupted opponent backfields to the tune of a team best eleven tackles for loss. Though playing in space isn't his strong suit, Bass is a good open field tackler. He's also effective in zone drops where he gets his hands into passing lanes. An instinctive linebacker, taking his college career as a whole, Bass has been responsible for ten turnovers in three seasons.
Bass' strength is going north/south. He's an old school between the tackles linebacker who's solid in run fits and pursuit to the football. All that led Phil Steele to name Bass All-Conference USA last season.
The Roadrunners should be in store for big things in 2017. La'Kel Bass will be there, as always, leading the defense, that's why you should get to know him.