Q&A on new Falcons LB Prince Shembo

My former boss, mentor and close friend Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune is the Notre Dame football beat writer.

Hansen has plenty of insight into new Falcons linebacker Prince Shembo, who brings toughness to the team. But there are off-the-field concerns stemming from an alleged sexual assault.

I asked Hansen three questions related to Shembo:

  1. What are Shembo's greatest strengths as a player?
    "What Prince Shembo does best is pressure the passer. Notre Dame played a base 3-4 defense, but spent almost half the time in a 4-3. Shembo was the outside linebacker who dropped down into the four-man front and rushed the passer. He's better against teams that line up in tight formations than those that spread you out as a defense."

  2. What are some of the aspects that caused the most concern about Shembo's play?
    "He's a tweener. At 6-foot-1, he was out of profile for what ND normally wants in an outside linebacker -- too short, but he made up with it with speed, strength and explosiveness. He is not adept at dropping into coverage."

  3. We are aware of the incident with the young woman who committed suicide after an alleged sexual contact incident. Are there serious concerns about Shembo's character?
    "Prince addressed those issues at the NFL combine, in fact brought them up himself. There were no other incidents that he was involved with while at ND, and no charges were ever filed."