Tag:Slippery Rock
Posted on: November 24, 2010 1:13 pm

A true Diamond in the Rough - Humboldt St C Boggs

Each week in this space I try to provide readers with a breakdown of a small school prospect who I believe has a shot at the NFL. In a perfect world the game breakdown comes from a contest played this past weekend.

Some of these games come from direct television feeds. Some others come from coaches tape overnighted to me so I can review and write up the players by Tuesday. This week's prospect -- Humboldt State center Taylor Boggs -- came to my attention via an email sent by Duane "Duke" Manyweather, a strength and conditioning coach on the Lumberjacks' staff.

Division II players capable of making the jump to the NFL are rare. NFLDraftScout.com currently lists another D-II center, Slippery Rock's Brandon Fusco as a draftable prospect. After reviewing Boggs' tape against Western Oregon (game played 9/25), I believe he too has a chance at the pros.

Boggs (6024, 296 pounds) is an athletic and powerful prospect. Against the Wolves, he demonstrated the quick feet and balance to pull and lock up back seven defenders in space. In short yardage situations, he played with good leverage and showed that he can drive his opponent off the ball. Boggs was alert and active in pass protection, sliding well laterally and providing a nice pop to his target due to good upper body strength.

Offensive line coaches will like Boggs' tenacity and nastiness on the field. Boggs likes to set the tone with pancake blocks and does a good job of striking the defender, sensing when they're off-balance and driving them into the ground. At times, Boggs is too concerned with making the emphatic block, allowing his hands to slip outside the numbers.

Pro scouts visited Humboldt State last year with the specific goal of checking out Boggs. Despite the attention, Boggs, I've been told, was not among the prospects initially graded as "draftable" by National or BLESTO, the two scouting services most NFL teams rely on.  Considering this year's weaker than average class of senior centers and guards, however, Boggs may have enough game to warrant an invitation to a senior all-star game where obvious questions about his level of competition and ability to enjoy success outside of the Lumberjacks scheme could be answered.

Scouts certainly can't argue with his production on the field. Boggs was recognized by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference coaches as this year's GNAC Offensive Lineman of the Year. The recognition was hardly a surprise. In fact, Boggs has earned First-Team all-conference honors after each of the past three seasons.
Posted on: October 20, 2010 9:06 am

Strong individual performances highlight weekend

Some of you may have noticed that my fellow Senior Analyst Chad Reuter took over the blog for the past few days. He did an admirable job with a detailed breakdown of Iowa defensive end Adrian Clayborn as the Prospect of the Week and Slippery Rock center Brandon Fusco as our Diamond in the Rough .

Chad took over because I was on a short deer-hunting trip in Washington state with my father, brother and a few close friends. The annual trip is one of the reasons I have not accepted an NFL scouting position. I love football, but my family and our annual trips together come first.

Getting back yesterday, I spent much of the evening reviewing film and talking to contacts within the league. While I absolutely agree with selection of Clayborn as our senior prospect of the week, here are several other players that caught my (and scouts') attention with strong performances on Saturday.

OLB/DE Chris Carter, Fresno State : Carter registered nine tackles, including four tackles for loss and three sacks and forced two fumbles in the Bulldogs' 33-10 win over New Mexico State.

DT Guy Miller, Colorado State: The 6-3, 302 pounder broke the CSU record with 4.5 sacks against UNLV Saturday. He'd been rated as a likely free agent prior to the contest and had only two sacks to this point, but the dominating effort left a strong impression on two league insiders I spoke to who attended/viewed this game.

WR/RS Jerrel Jernigan, Troy : Jernigan, previously highlighted as Diamond in the Rough , deserved consideration again this week after a 188 all-purpose yard, two touchdown performance in the 31-24 win over Louisiana-Lafayette. Jernigan caught six passes for 77 yards, including the game-winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. He also returned a punt for a 75-yard touchdown. Jernigan has been invited to the Senior Bowl .

WR/RS Dwayne Harris, East Carolina: Against quality ACC competition, Harris exploded for a career-high 260 all-purpose yards Saturday versus North Carolina State. Harris caught nine passes for 91 yards in ECU's thrilling 33-27 victory and contributed another 95 on kick returns and 75 on punt returns.

WR Armon Binns, Cincinnati: Binns caught a career-high eight passes for 175 yards and three scores in the Bearcats exciting come-from-behind win over Louisville Friday night. For his efforts Binns also was recognized as the Big East's Offensive Player of the Week.

S Mark Barron, Alabama: Scouts love Barron's instincts and versatility and both were on display Saturday against Ole Miss. Barron registered seven tackles, including five solos, an interception, tackle for loss and a quarterback pressure.

ILB Chris White, Mississippi State: White was all over the field for the Bulldogs in their impressive 10-7 win over Florida, Saturday. He earned SEC Defensive Player of the Week honors with 11 tackles (including nine solos), as well as 4.5 tackles for loss against the Gators. White is among the conference leaders with 57 tackles, 12 tackles for loss and five sacks so far this season.

OLB Blake Sorensen, Wisconsin: Sorenson's game-clinching interception with only a few minutes remaining sealed the Badgers upset bid over Ohio State Saturday, but was only part of his impressive game. Sorensen also registered a career-high 10 tackles, including a tackle for loss.

Posted on: October 18, 2010 11:37 am

Diamond in the Rough

This week's Diamond in the Rough is provided by NFLDraftScout.com Senior Analyst Chad Reuter. Any comments should be sent to creuter@nfldraftscout.com

Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock  6-4 / 300 / 5.24

Most people may think that a scout watching Saturday's Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference Western Division match-up between Slippery Rock and California (PA) would be focused on Cal's quarterback, Josh Portis. The former Florida and Maryland passer had some up and downs during the contest (10-13, 150 yards, 3 TD, but took 5 sacks) in the team's 28-3 win -- but when Portis was on the sideline, my eyes joined those of many scouts in checking out the Rock's four-year starting center, Brandon Fusco.

From the start it's clear that the redshirt senior (who has grown from 240 pounds coming out of high school) has the size and athleticism to be a late-round draft pick, as well as that bit of attitude that offensive line coaches love.  He blocks not only the man across from him, but anyone else coming into his path while the play is going. He also extends his arms through the block, pushing the defender out of the play rather than just moving his body into position.

Division II defensive tackles do not stay upright if the durable Fusco blocks down on them; he's also strong enough up top to move their torso left or right per his desire. They also find it difficult to bull rush him, as he can extend his arms and anchor within a step or two. Fusco generally adjusts well when the defender tries to unlatch, keeping his balance and maintaining control over the situation. In drive-blocking situations, Fusco will get under the pads of lighter tackles and keep his legs driving to push them back or out of the hole.

Though the Division II All-American won't win many foot races against SEC linemen, he has good enough feet to reach linebackers or safeties, even after ripping under the shoulder of the nose tackle to wall him off. Once in space, he uses the correct block to negate defenders downfield. Linebackers find it very difficult to unhitch from the Rock's star center once he latches on.

Fusco has promise, but also some work to do before becoming a starting or top reserve NFL center.  While certainly athletic for the D2 level, he will be out-quicked by spin moves and fast hands of veteran NFL tackles until he gets coached up on technique because he lacks elite flexibility and hand speed. He also needs to keep his feet moving after initial contact to prevent a secondary rush. Because of his relative height, tackles with a low center of gravity can get under his pads to push him back into the pocket a couple of steps. He isn't quite strong enough to hold back a slanting tackle, either, though he gives great effort to prevent the defender from getting to the ballcarrier.

Still, in a year where potential starting centers with size will be tough to find in the later rounds, some teams should take a chance on Fusco.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com