Home IMPACT Blog Bachie strives to be “The Smartest Player in America”

Bachie strives to be “The Smartest Player in America”

by Grace DeWitt

One could argue that leading a team’s defense in solo, assisted and total tackles might be the result of talent alone. But ranking among the best tacklers in a conference season after season? That only happens with intention. Michigan State senior linebacker Joe Bachie credits “so much film study” to his success on the gridiron.

“I always pride myself on trying to be the smartest player in America pre-snap,” the Week 4 Player of the Week co-winner told Ronnie Lott. Lott called this week to congratulate Bachie on the honors and find out what makes him tick.

“Everyone’s good now, so you’ve got to try and find ways to be better than them,” Bachie explained. “I prepare the same way every week. People probably think I’m a psycho when I’m in [the film room]. I look at the littlest things, like we’re playing the New England Patriots.”

Bachie said he owes his hunger for finding an edge over opponents to his father, Joe Bachie Sr. His father told The Athletic last fall that he remembers, as a high school football coach, having his son watch film alongside him as just a five or six year old boy.

Lott then asked which NFL player the Spartan linebacker models his game after. His answer was none other than 2011 Lott IMPACT Trophy winner, Luke Kuechly, linebacker for the Carolina Panthers. Bachie said he watches Kuechly’s games intensely in the off season to study his technique. “He just does everything the right way, and that’s kind of how I want to model my game,” said Bachie. Lott agreed, adding that the former Boston College star is an incredible leader in addition to being an incredible athlete.

Lott ended the conversation by sharing a memory of Kuechly, and a prediction for the future.

“I remember when I first met Luke, he was on a recruiting trip to Stanford and I was like “Man, who is this dude?,” Lott recalled. “The next thing I know, I’ve been watching him ever since. And now I can the same thing about you,” he told Bachie.

Bachie and the No. 25-ranked Michigan State Spartans host the Indiana Hoosiers this Saturday at 12:30pm PST.


Press play to listen to the full conversation between Ronnie Lott and Joe Bachie.

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