Damien Proby, Northwestern Wildcats football, No. 46

US PRESSWIRE

Damien Proby might be the most important figure on Northwestern's defense: a two-year starter returning at middle linebacker. He led the team in tackles last year, and should do it again as a senior.

Origin myth

Proby comes from North Las Vegas, which is... how do I put this... North... of Las Vegas. He went to Cheyenne, and was named the co-defensive player of the highest level of high school football in the state, as well as his league's defensive MVP. He managed over 300 tackles in his three years of high school football, which is a lot. He was the fifth best player in the state per 247's composite, but had some differing views of him: that same composite ranked him as the No. 67 outside linebacker in the country, and Scout ranked him as a two-star player, but Rivals ranked him 31st and Tom Lemming ranked him 20th. Schools didn't bite that hard -- he garnered two Pac-12 schools in Oregon State and Washington State, as well as the hometown team at UNLV. He settled on Northwestern a few weeks before signing day.

At Northwestern

Proby first played in 2010, as a redshirt frosh, and got sparing time, mainly on special teams, but earned a start at outside linebacker in place of Bryce McNaul in the Wrigley game. (Not exactly Northwestern's best defensive effort, but we'll forgive him.) He shifted to MLB for the 2011 year, and with Northwestern's defense looking lackluster halfway through the year, replaced David Nwabuisi at middle linebacker with Nwabuisi bumping over to the weak side spot. The team picked up from there, winning four of their last six games, with an improved defensive unit.

This past year, Proby got the start all year long, and was one of the more consistent MLB's in recent memory, and that's at a school that's had some consistent MLB's. 112 tackles, most on the team by a solid margin, and good enough for an honorable mention all-Big Ten slot.

Here, let's get to know Damien:

Career highlight

EDITOR'S NOTE: Totally shoulda been from the Wrigley game, when he hit Illinois' QB on a dumb weird stupid trick play and Brian Peters ran an interception back into the END ZONE OF DEATH for a score. Was Proby's first start, and although it was a bad showing from the D, Proby made a nice play, never giving up pursuit on a flea-flicker type thing.

Really tough to say. As I said up there, dude has been consistent, but I can't think of any mind-altering hits. (Mind-altering is probably not the right word, here, with football nowadays, come to think of it.) By the very nature of his gig, he's more about making sure the guy bursting untouched up the middle gets brought down ASAP rather than getting behind the line of scrimmage and being a game-changer.

The main thing that comes to mind is THAT DAMN TIME HE KNOCKED THE BALL OUTTA SEAN MCEVILLY'S HANDS BY ACCIDENT, breaking up an interception that would've essentially won the Nebraska game for Northwestern. Consider this rare anti-highlight a commendation of how generally good Damien Proby has been.

Anagram of choice

Discovering the Wildcats' true inner selves through spelling

Damien Proby, anagrammed, is

I PRY ABDOMEN

Dude's a hitter. Dude's also liable to rip the chests outta opposing running backs. (Also considered: "Doberman Yip," which is a killer dog making an adorable noise, which also woulda worked well, "My pained bro," which, well, bros have feelings too, "Paid my boner," which is the plot of Deuce Bigalow 2: European Gigolo, "Bone pyramid," which is a triangular structure with a square-shaped base MADE OUTTA BONES, which I'm surprised some ancient people-killin culture didn't make at some point [note: could also be a sex pyramid], "Brainy moped," which is a very Northwestern vehicle, "My rabid peon," which is my minion I infected with rabies to kill y'all, "Dip yo barmen," which is one letter off from what you should to do your barmen.)

Relevant musical selection

"Welcome to Jamrock," Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley

Fun fact: the Vevo video of this edits out the "MUUUUURDAAAAAA" part of the "OUT IN DA STREETS, THEY CALL IT MUUUUURDAAAAAA" part of the hook, which is pretty damn ridiculous if you ask me. (Note to Damian "Jr. Gong" Marley: we also call it murder in parts of the world besides the streets.) Being Bob Marley's son is kinda of a gift and a curse. Gift: Dude, your dad is Bob Marley, so you're going to be famous and rich and possibly able to become a professional musician just cuz. Curse: You aren't nearly as good as your dad -- different styles of music, to be sure, but, still, your dad is practically considered divinity -- and its gotta be tough keeping track of all 42 of your brothers and sisters.

How he can help

Damien Proby is that rarest of beasts at Northwestern: a consistent tackler. Not a huge hitter, but he doesn't let guys go. I don't think you can value that enough. He'salso is athletic enough to get to tackles and can step up and make plays.

Depth chart projection

Proby will start, obviously. As I said in the Timmy Vernon post, he's probably gonna play almost every snap at MLB.

Awards and stuff

Proby was fourth team Phil Steele all-Big Ten, which makes sense -- honorable mention

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