Scott McKillop drafted at 146
Playing alongside his brother, Chris, a starting defensive end, Scott helped lead Panthers defense in 2007 that ranked fifth in the nation, allowing the opposition just 297.67 yards in total offense per game.
Taking over for departed 2006 Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year, H.B. Blades, McKillop repeated as the conference Defensive Player of the Year (by The NFL Draft Report and College Football News), en route to leading the nation with an average of 12.58 tackles per game.
McKillop’s 151 total tackles in 2007 rank fourth on the school single-season record list and are the most by a Panther defender since the inception of the Big East Conference in 1991. Only Steve Apke (168 in 1984 and 162 in 1985) and Troy Benson (162 in 1983) have recorded more tackles in a season at Pittsburgh.
Proving his 2007 season was no fluke, he again led the Big East Conference and ranked tied for 10th in the nation with 137 tackles (10.54 tpg) in 2008. His 82 solo tackles (6.31 tpg) were good for third in the major college ranks, earning Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year honors.
At Kiski Area High School, McKillop earned Associated Press Pennsylvania Class AAAA All-State first-team honors. He was a member of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette “Fabulous 22″ and Pittsburgh Tribune-Review “Terrific 25″ teams, in addition to receiving Harrisburg Patriot-News “Platinum 33″ and Valley News All-Star accolades.
McKillop was rated the 20th-best overall prospect in Pennsylvania by Rivals.com and rated the nation’s 31st-best outside linebacker prospect by that recruiting service. He was rated the 24th-best prospect in Pennsylvania by Super Prep, as that service also named him to their All-Northeast team. He added Prep Star All-East Region honors and was selected to play in the Big 33 Football Classic.
McKillop’s 161 solo stops and 332 total tackles are Kiski Area High career records. As an outside linebacker and fullback, he recorded 132 tackles as a senior and rushed for 1,121 yards with 14 touchdowns over his final two seasons. He led the team to three consecutive WPIAL Class AAAA playoff berths, earning three letters in football, three in wrestling and two in track and field.
McKillop enjoyed an exceptional wrestling career at Kiski Area, as he finished his senior season as the state runner-up (215-pound division) with a 38-1 record. He went 79-2 his last two years and had a career mark of 109-10. His record of 41-1 as a junior was the winningest season ever by a Kiski wrestler. He advanced to the WPIAL track and field championships in the shot and discus. Academically, he was an Honor Roll and National Science Merit Award winner, along with being a member of the Pride Club, German Club and Wrestling Club.
As a true freshman at Pittsburgh, McKillop spent the 2004 season on the scout team. In 2005, he played in 11 games behind H.B. Blades at middle linebacker. He recorded 28 tackles (13 solos) with three quarterback pressures. He also added five tackles on the kickoff coverage unit. Six of his tackles came on third-down plays, with another on fourth-down action.
In 2006, McKillop again backed up Blades. He tallied 29 tackles (18 solos), a sack and two stops behind the line of scrimmage. He batted away two passes and posted a pressure. He led the Big East Conference with 18 special team tackles, totaling 14 of those hits on the kickoff coverage squad. Six of his stops came on fourth-down snaps, as he stopped opposing ball carriers three times for no gains on nine running plays directed at him.
The All-American and All-Big East Conference first-team selection led the NCAA Division 1-A ranks with a career-high 151 tackles (98 solos) in his first season as a starter in 2007. Most middle linebackers compile most of their tackles via assists, but McKillop’s average of 8.17 solo tackles per game was the second-best average of any major college defender during his junior campaign.
McKillop had seven double-digit tackle performances. He added three hits on special teams, three sacks, nine stops for losses and three pressures. He recovered three fumbles and caused two others, as he deflected seven passes and had his first career interception.
McKillop’s numbers were even more impressive when it was revealed that 27 of his stops came inside the red zone, including 12 on goal-line plays. He delivered 23 third-down tackles and eight more on fourth down. Even though he was dominant vs. the run, as teams averaged just 2.56 yards per carry vs. him, he was even more impressive in pass coverage. The opposition completed just 21 of 56 passes (37.5 percent) vs. him, averaging just 3.41 yards per pass attempt, the lowest figure of any Division 1-A linebacker in 2007.
As a senior, the Big East Conference Defensive Player of the Year and All-American choice led the league with 137 tackles (82 solos), adding four sacks, as his 17.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage was also a league-high mark. He picked off two passes, returning one for a touchdown and also deflected four tosses.
Positives: Productive, instinctual player who sorts through the trash to get to the ballcarrier, seems to have an innate sense of how and when to slide through oncoming blockers. … Very good backfield awareness, always seems to know where the ball is. … Recognizes tight ends going out on delayed routes. … Breaks down well in space and makes secure tackles in the open field. … Can get to the outside to meet the back at the edge. … Drops quickly and hustles to meet receivers in intermediate routes. … Gets a good hit on slot receivers to knock them off their route. … Knows where the sticks are and tries his best to keep underneath receivers from getting there. …
Negatives: Only adequately developed in the upper and lower body. … Does not have great speed to chase plays from behind, but generally makes up for it by taking good angles. … Lacks physicality and runs around blocks instead of taking them on. … Unable to get off blocks when engaged and is more of a catcher than a hard-hitter or fierce tackler. … Is not explosive off the snap when blitzing.
Compares To: ZACH THOMAS, Kansas City — McKillop is slightly bigger than Thomas, but both rely on their field vision, intelligence and quickness to gain advantage on the blocker in order to compensate for a lack of ideal size. The Pitt linebacker is a classic knee bender who plays in good football position, as he always seems to be on his feet working through trash. He a smart playmaker who reacts decisively and can step up, stay square and take on/shed the bigger blockers with good force. He has that quick reactionary ability to fill holes and make plays in-line and even at his size, blockers struggle in attempts to contain him at the point of attack.
No injuries reported.