During the Lake Forest football team’s 40-0 victory over Zion-Benton Friday, the Zee-Bees offensive linemen must have been muttering to themselves, “Where is No. 17 going now?”
That’s the number of Scouts linebacker Ben Audley. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound senior played all three linebacker positions that night, and at one point, he lined up as a defensive lineman.
“He’s a hybrid type of guy who can play a lot of positions,” Lake Forest coach Chuck Spagnoli said. “He was getting to the ball, hitting, wrapping up, shedding blocks. He had a great game. It was fun to watch.”
Audley was all over the field, both figuratively and literally. He had a quarterback sack, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a tackle behind the line of scrimmage. He was constantly harassing the Zee-Bees backfield, helping to limit the Scouts’ opponent to only 97 yards of total offense.
“Ben is a high-energy player who makes a lot of big plays,” senior linebacker Jack Kutschke said. “He’s able to do so many different things.”
“He’s always around the football,” Spagnoli said. “He earns it with his great effort.”
What does Audley think about the various positions he plays?
“I like strong side outside linebacker, or Sam, the best, because you get to blitz the most at that position to get after the quarterback,” Audley said. “The hardest position for me to play would probably be at weak inside middle linebacker, or Will. Playing middle to start is already a tough position being in the middle of the action on every play and having to read and react to your keys very quickly.”
Audley summarized his preference by saying, “wherever coach needs me to play.”
Lake Forest (5-1, 2-1 NSC Lake) has been steady on defense throughout the season, registering two shutouts while allowing 10 points per game.
“We have a solid mix of size and speed that make us really physical and tough to block,” Audley said.
Audley’s versatility doesn’t stop on the offensive side of the ball. He also plays some tight end for Lake Forest, providing a little extra blocking.
As for next fall, Audley is leaning toward attending Wisconsin but said he hasn’t ruled out playing football at a smaller school.
Regardless of a college’s needs, Audley is certain to provide a few options.