Seahawks workout LB who led NCAA in tackles
Will Seattle add USFL Defensive Player of the Year?: Seaside Joe 1605
The Seattle Seahawks report to training camp on Tuesday and begin practicing on Wednesday, but have only 89 players signed to the 90-man roster. Could Frank Ginda, the reigning Defensive Player of the Year in the USFL, be the last man in?
Ginda seems to have found a knack for being the best defensive player on the field for anything other than regular season NFL football.
Born May 26, 1997 in San Jose, California, Ginda committed to local San Jose State in 2014 following a successful high school career as a running back (Ginda was the first 1,000-yard rusher in Pacheco High history) and linebacker because he couldn’t stomach the idea of being on the sidelines.
“I really enjoyed it,” Ginda said. “They told me I had a good chance to start. That played a huge role. I hate sitting on the bench, first of all, and second, I want to pursue my dream of playing in the NFL.”
Ginda’s biggest assets, according to (coach David) Snapp, are his speed and tenacity.
“You watch some of the film, and he’s all over – he arrives angry and with some physicality. I feel sorry for some of the guys,” Snapp said before the Panthers played Central Valley a few weeks back. “I was looking at some of our games, and he hit some guys that … wow. I don’t really see it in the game. Against Buhach he hit a kid on their sideline, and I didn’t really notice how hard he hit him. He put a whack on him.”
A 0-star recruit in the 2015 class, Ginda’s only other listed offer came from Air Force, which probably also helped him decide on nearby San Jose State. Here was his own personal statement from NCSASports.org:
I am a Middle linebacker at Pacheco High School. My dreams is to play division 1 college football. I achieve a 3.93 overall GPA.
Can Ginda next proudly say, “I achieve a Seahawks contract”?
Ginda got his wish (did Ginda ask Glinda?) and made 12 starts as a true freshman, recording 80 tackles and a forced fumble en route to being named the team’s freshman of the year. As a sophomore, he improved to 99 tackles and 11.5 tackles for a loss, adding his first career interception and a fumble recovery returned 19 yards for a touchdown.
But it was his junior season in 2017 that was probably the best and worst thing for Glinda’s dreams of playing professional football.
Glinda had 13 tackles and two tackles for a loss in Week 1 of that season. Then 17 tackles. Then 12. Then 15. Then 16. Then 14. Then 19… By the end of 2017, Frank Glinda posted 173 tackles, 13 for a loss, two sacks, three forced fumbles, and three pass deflections. Though San Jose State was arguably the worst FBS program in the country, they are still an FBS program. Ginda led the nation in tackles and 173 ranks as the eighth-most by any player since 2000.
It was not just a school record, but a Mountain West Conference record.
It is perhaps because of how much better he was than his average opponent in the Mountain West—and how much better he was than his teammates on a 2-11 team—that Ginda decided to forego his final year of eligiblity and enter the 2018 NFL Draft. But for the last five years, Ginda has only found out that even if he’s a lot better than football players not suited for the NFL, he’s not good enough to be an NFL football player.
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You might assume Ginda’s testing numbers were the issue, but at 6’, 235 lbs with a 4.72 40-yard dash and 29 reps on the bench at his San Jose State pro day, I could compare him to some day two picks at linebacker. In fact, 29 reps on the bench press is not just good, in some ways it is historic…
I looked at every linebacker test from the combine dating back to 2000, and among those of similar size to Ginda (between 5’11-6’1, between 230-240), nobody did more than 28 reps.
And while I admit that most linebackers like Ginda are at best “replaceable”, there are names like Denzel Perryman, D’Qwell Jackson, and as a matter of fact he’s bigger and faster than….Lofa Tatupu, who was 6’, 238, 4.83, 23 reps coming out of USC in 2005.
But Ginda wasn’t rated much higher as an NFL prospect than he was as a high school recruit three years earlier. Lance Zierlein said he was “on the low-end of what teams are looking for at inside linebacker” and that he would be a priority free agent, which was the case after he went undrafted. Ginda signed with the Cardinals, but didn’t even make it to training camp as Arizona released him in June despite not having to make a corresponding move. He signed with the Dolphins over a month later and ended up starring for Miami in the preseason.
Ginda posted four tackles for a loss and a forced fumble, leading the team with 10 tackles in the preseason finale in a dominant exhibition performance. His Wiki says he was signed to the Dolphins practice squad, but I can’t actually find a record of that happening or any release other than at final cuts in 2018.
The next year, Ginda popped up in the AAF with the San Diego Fleet and may have been en route to some awards that year (he played next to former Seahawks John Lotulelei and Eric Pinkins) but the entire league lasted barely more than a year before shutting down in the middle of their inaugural season. His Wikipedia says that Ginda signed with the Saints in 2019 and was waived at final cuts that year, but I again struggled to find a record of anything other than a rookie minicamp tryout. I don’t see his name on final cuts or having any preseason stats with New Orleans.
Instead, Ginda became one of the last additions to the New York Guardians roster in the XFL, where he was named as a team captain and posting 31 tackles prior to the league suspending the season due to the pandemic. There would be no football news about Ginda again for TWO YEARS, until the Michigan Panthers drafted him in the 30th round of the 2022 USFL Draft.
There were only a few more picks to be made after Ginda, but he finished the season as the top defensive player in the entire league.
In 2023, Ginda posted a USFL-best 104 tackles with a sack, three interceptions, and three tackles for a loss. (Michigan quarterback Josh Love was also the QB at San Jose State when Ginda broke the MWC record for tackles.) Ginda was named the Defensive Player of the Year with the season ending in June. In his final game, a loss to the Pittsburgh Maulers, Ginda posted 11 tackles, two tackloes for a loss, and a sack.
There are a number of consistent themes with Frank Ginda through his football career:
He’s often a team captain
He’s an insanely productive tackler
He can finish plays behind the line of scrimmage
He’s way too good to be with mediocre players, but apparently not good enough to be with Power 5 or NFL players
His Wikipedia page needs more verification
He’s always underestimated
This is a lot of information about a player who has not yet signed with the Seahawks as of this newsletter, but Seattle does have a need at the position and an available spot on the roster. The Seahawks have also worked out another linebacker, Kyahva Tezino, as well as Ginda’s USFL teammate Levi Bell, a defensive tackle. Aaron Wilson went even further, adding that there were workouts for QB Reid Sinnett and WR Lee Morris.
Taking a look at two inside linebackers suggests that Pete Carroll isn’t entirely satisfied with the depth behind Bobby Wagner and Devin Bush (Jordyn Brooks should be on PUP when camp starts), including Vi Jones, Jon Rhattigan, Patrick O’Connell, and Cam Bright. Wagner may need more camp rest than usual and Bush could be protected from playing in preseason games because of how important he could be as insurance.
If we know anything of Ginda, it’s that he could excel in exhibition opportunities against players who probably won’t make a final roster. If we know anything of Wikipedia, it’s…to double check your facts.
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