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2015 NFL DRAFT
player photo

Steve Justice, C

Height: 6-4 | Weight: 293 | College: Wake Forest
 
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Overview

Steve Justice is one of the premier centers in this class, combining excellent quickness, explosive hip roll and outstanding technique to dominate the college ranks.

Known for his hand-placement skills, the center is hailed as having the best balance of any pivot man in the game, doing a fine job of mirroring the defender throughout the play.

Football is a rich tradition in the Justice household. All three sons of Patty and Wally Justice have excelled in the game. Steve's older brother, Kevin, played at the Air Force Academy (1996-2000) and another brother, Doug, was a linebacker at the University of North Carolina.

Steve Justice was a three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines at New Smyrna Beach High School. He earned All-State honors as a junior and senior and was also an All-District selection on offense. He was named the District 4-A Player of the Year in 2002, in addition to garnering first-team All-Five Star Conference and two-time All-Central Florida accolades.

Rated the 42nd-best offensive guard nationally by Rivals100.com, Justice graded 91% for blocking consistency on offense and tallied 54 tackles, including 10 for losses, and two sacks on defense. He also earned first-team All-County and second-team All-Area honors in wrestling. He graduated in the top 10 of his class, received the National Scholar-Athlete Award from the U.S. Army Reserve and was named DAR Citizen of the Year.

Justice enrolled at Wake Forest in 2003, choosing the university because of "the small class size, small campus, beautiful area and great football." He performed on the scout team that year, learning the technique to play the center position. He was used mostly on the punt unit in 11 games as a reserve center in 2004, participating in 30 offensive snaps.

As a sophomore, Justice took over center duties. The Raleigh News & Observer's All-Big Four Team choice was one of only three players on offense to start all 11 games, participating in all 855 offensive snaps on the season. He was a key member of Wake Forest's offensive line that paved the way for a rushing attack that averaged more than 197 yards per game.

In 2006, Justice earned first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He was twice named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week, starting all 14 games in the middle. In 829 plays, he posted 66 knockdowns, including nine touchdown-resulting blocks. The offense would go on to average 307.0 yards per game.

As a senior, Justice earned All-American honors from six different news services, in addition to being chosen All-ACC first-team. He received the Atlantic Coast Conference's prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy, awarded annually to the conference's top lineman. He was also the runner-up for the Rimington Trophy, as he registered 65 knockdowns, with 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, helping the team improve to an average of 334.5 yards per game in total offense.

"Steve is as good an offensive lineman as we have ever had," said Wake Forest head coach Jim Grobe. "He has exceptional skills, is a team leader and an outstanding young man. He has a bright future in football and he is one player that we will truly miss next year."

Analysis

Positives: Lacks ideal muscle tone or upper-body strength to be a mauler, but is a solid finesse-type blocker with the balance and body control to mirror most in-line movement … Extremely quick off the rise to get into his man, showing good hand placement but lacks punch … Demonstrates good flexibility, balance, and body control and gets his hips turned around properly to wall off defenders … Very effective at using his flexibility and balance to snap and lead on screens … Smart, instinctive athlete, who is quick to pick up stunts and games … Will not have problems taking plays from the chalkboard to the playing field … Very passionate about the game, putting in the extra hours in practices and the film room to prepare for his upcoming opponent … Plays through pain and takes well to hard coaching … Does a fine job of keeping his hands inside the frame in order to latch on and control his man … Gains advantage on a lethargic defender most of the time due to his quickness off the snap … Has enough explosiveness in his initial step to open the hole (needs to do a better job of sustaining in space) … Does a good job of sliding his feet and generating pop working in-line, showing good communication on combo blocks with his guards … Has enough functional leg drive to gain movement, coming on the rise with hands properly extended … Rolls his hips and drives into defenders well, doing a nice job of keeping his pads low and centered, which lets him maintain his base in isolated situations … Slides his feet smoothly to mirror on the pass rush, as he is quicker out of his stance than most centers … Demonstrates a good fit, with his head and hands locked in, rolling his hips to generate the sustained movement needed to gain position … Has learned to compensate for a lack of ideal strength by taking proper angles and sliding his feet to maintain leverage … Shows good ability to snap with proper knee-bend and explode off the snap with a flat back, fitting well during the beginning of his slide in attempts to wall off … Has the balance to get out front on pulls, as he is light enough on his feet to impact along the edge to turn and seal … Climbs into the second level with good flexibility and gets his hands up quickly in pass protection … Lacks the strength you need to destroy the bull rush, but he has the hand set to stop the rusher's feet, doing a good job of adjusting to counter moves … Not a strong puncher, but compensates by using his hands to lock on and steer in the passing situations … Has the feet to adjust to movement and fluid lateral kick when changing direction … Opens his hips to maintain balance on the move and plays flat-footed, doing a nice job of getting his weight back in his stance and bending his knees when sliding and mirroring pass rushers.

Negatives: Needs to improve his physique, as he has marginal muscle tone, undersized legs and adequate upper-body chest thickness … Lacks solid anchor strength in pass protection and can be pushed back at the point of attack vs. a strong bull rush (see 2007 Nebraska and North Carolina State games) … Has great hand-placement skills to mirror, but his lack of upper-body power prevents him from dominating the bigger linemen … Needs to do a better job of sustaining his blocks working in space (when his base narrows, he fails to clear his feet, causing defenders to slip off some hits) … Has good arm length, but will sometimes overextend and lunge making reach blocks … Must learn to stay lower in his pads to improve his base, as he will get walked back trying to widen the rush lanes when his pad level gets too high.

Compares To: TOM NALEN-Denver … Like Nalen, Justice's physique and lack of strength might scare off some teams, but Justice is an excellent technique blocker with the foot speed, balance and body control to mirror. He needs to do a better job of sustaining blocks, especially when working in space, but he maintains good hand placement and is very active with them vs. counter moves. He has outstanding snap quickness, whether on the shotgun or in classic formation, and keeps his head on a swivel, taking proper angles when searching out second-level defenders.

Career Notes

In his last two seasons, Justice registered 121 knockdowns, including 21 touchdown-resulting blocks, as he allowed only two quarterback sacks while participating in 701 pass plays.

2007 Season

Earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, ESPN.com, Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association and CBSSports.com, adding second-team accolades from the Walter Camp Football Foundation and Sports Illustrated … All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team choice, earning ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors vs. Maryland and North Carolina State … Runner-up for the Rimington Trophy, given to the nation's top center … Recipient of Atlantic Coast Conference's prestigious Jacobs Blocking Trophy, awarded annually to the ACC's top lineman … .Started all year at center, registering 65 knockdowns and 12 touchdown-resulting blocks, as he graded 84.08% for blocking consistency … Part of an offensive line that allowed 27 sacks for a team that averaged 197.2 aerial yards and 340.5 yards in total offense per game … Also recorded a pair of solo tackles.

2007 Game Analysis

Boston College … Justice opened the season with eight knockdowns in a 38-28 loss, as he protected QB Riley Skinner, who completed 45-of-60 passes for 366 yards … Head to Head Competition-MLB#40-Jo-Lonn Dunbar (6:00-238)-Nine tackles (7 solos), 0.5 stop for minus 5 yards.

Nebraska … The ground game picked up the bulk of its 236 yards through the interior of the front line, as Justice did allow two stops behind the line of scrimmage, but also cleared a rush lane used by QB Brett Hodges, who followed his center into the end zone for a 1-yard score after being stopped for no gain on his previous two attempts, capping a 76-yard, 7-play second quarter series … Head to Head Competition-NG#93-Ndamukong Suh (6:04-307)-Three solo tackles, two stops for losses of 9 yards..

Army … Justice posted three knockdowns and came up with a key block, taking down defensive tackle Tony Fusco to spring Josh Adams for a first quarter 10-yard scoring burst up the middle of the line, ending a 55-yard, 5-play drive … Head to Head Competition-MLB#44-Brian Chmura (6:00-224)-Seven tackles (4 solos).

Maryland … The Wake Forest center registered eight knockdowns, making a pair of touch-down-resulting blocks while also coming up with a solo tackle, as the team collected 200 yards on the ground … QB Riley Skinner used a hole created by Justice for a 1-yard scoring run early in the fourth quarter … With 3:05 left in the game, Justice stopped Kenneth Barnes after the cornerback picked off a Skinner fourth-&-1 pass for a 6-yard return to the Terps 49 … For his performance, Justice received ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week honors … Head to Head Competition-MLB#34-Dave Philistin (6:02-231)-Eight tackles (4 solos), one pass deflection.

Duke … In a fierce battle with nose guard Ayanga Okpokowuruk, Justice emerged victorious, holding his opponent to one assisted tackle … The Wake Forest center tackled free safety Chris Davis on a 10-yard interception return at the WF 36 late in the third quarter … Earlier in the first half, he leveled Okpokowuruk to spring tailback Micah Andrews for a 4-yard touchdown run … In the fourth quarter, he again upended the nose guard, allowing Kenneth Moore to break free en route to a 53-yard scoring scamper on a reverse … Head to Head Competition-NG#91-Ayanga Okpokowuruk (6:04-272)-One assisted tackle.

Florida State … Justice graded a season-high 90%, delivering thirteen knockdowns to help the offense generate 395 yards in a 24-21 decision, despite playing most of the game with a knee sprain … Josh Adams' 83-yard touchdown jaunt was the result of Justice taking down nose guard Kendrick Stewart at the line of scrimmage and linebacker Geno Hayes in the second level with 8:30 left in the first half … Head to Head Competition-NG#56-Kendrick Stewart (6:02-273)-One assisted tackle.

North Carolina … Justice posted seven knockdowns and graded 87%, as the offense collected 313 yards in a 37-10 triumph … He led the sweep left on a 14-yard scoring scamper by Josh Adams early in the fourth quarter … Head to Head Competition-MLB#54-Bruce Carter (6:03-223)-Two assisted tackles.

North Carolina State … The Wake Forest center was named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week for a team that amassed 353 yards in a 38-18 win … Justice took down linebacker LaRue Rumph on a 12-yard reverse by receiver Kevin Marion and then opened a rush lane used by fullback De'Angelo Bryant for a 1-yard touchdown that capped a 63-yard, 10-play first quarter drive … Head to Head Competition-MLB#95-James Martin II (6:01-233)-Four tackles (2 solos), one stop for a 10-yard loss.

Vanderbilt … It was a hard-fought battle between Justice and middle linebacker Jonathan Goff, but Wake scored twice on blocks from their center en route to gaining 150 yards on the ground in a 31-17 victory … Josh Adams used a block by Justice on defensive tackle Theo Horrocks for a first quarter 4-yard scoring run … Midway through thye second quarter, the center crashed into Goff, sending the linebacker to the ground, giving QB Riley Skinner time to loft a 1-yard touchdown pass to tight end Ben Wooster … Head to Head Competition-MLB#47-Jonathan Goff (6:04-237)-Thirteen tackles (7 solos), one stop for a 6-yard loss.

Connecticut (Meineke Car Care Bowl) … Justice delivered six knockdowns in his final collegiate game, helping the team pile up 412 yards in a 24-10 decision … His final statement block came when he shoved linebacker Danny Lansanah right into the end zone, as tailback Micah Andrews followed for a late fourth quarter 9-yard touchdown run that sealed the victory … Head to Head Competition-MLB#48-Danny Lansanah (6:01-244)-Five tackles (3 solos), 0.5 stop for minus 2 yards, one fumble recovery.

2006 Season

Earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team honors from the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association and College Football News … Named ACC Offensive Lineman of the Week vs. Mississippi and Boston College, as he started all 14 games at center … Graded 82.5% for blocking consistency, producing 66 knockdowns and nine touchdown-resulting blocks on 829 offensive snaps … Helped the offense generate 4,298 yards (307.0 avg) and gave up just one quarterback sack on 287 pass plays.

2006 Game Analysis

Played all 73 snaps vs. Syracuse, a season-high, as he graded 87% and posted six knockdowns … Had seven knockdown blocks, a season-best vs. Duke, as he was on the field for 56 plays … Delivered five knockdowns while grading 86% vs. Liberty and received another 86% grade with a touchdown-resulting block and seven knockdowns in the Mississippi clash … Had another six knockdowns, including one that led to a touchdown and graded 84% vs. Boston College while seeing action on 56 plays … In 60 snaps, he delivered five knockdowns and a touchdown-resulting block vs. Florida State … Followed with six knockdowns, including two on touchdown runs and finished with a season-high 92% grade on 71 offensive snaps in the Maryland clash … Added a touchdown-resulting block and five knockdowns vs. Louisville in the Orange Bowl.

2005 Season

Named to the Raleigh News & Observer's All-Big Four Team … One of only three players on offense to start all 11 games, as he participated in all 855 offensive snaps on the season … Key member of Wake Forest's offensive line that paved the way for the team to average more than 197 yards per game … Graded out with a team-best 83.9% and recorded 78 knockdown blocks for the year.

2005 Game Analysis

Had a season-high 13 knockdown blocks at Duke and added 12 knockdowns in the Vanderbilt clash … Graded a season-best 95% vs. Maryland and also received winning grades in each of the East Carolina, Florida State, Duke, Georgia Tech and Miami games.

2004 Season

Played in all 11 games, primarily on special teams as a contributor in punt protection … Saw action on the offensive line in two games -- vs. North Carolina A&T and Boston College … Graded out at 93% in the A&T game with four knockdown blocks … Played 30 snaps and had only one missed assignment for the season.

2003 Season

Redshirted as a true freshman.

Injury Report

2007: Left the Florida State game (10/11) with a knee sprain, but returned to the contest.

Agility Tests

Campus: 5.08 in the 40-yard dash … 400-pound bench press … Bench presses 225 pounds 23 times … 420-pound squat … 308-pound power clean … 25.5-inch vertical jump … 32-inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands … Right-handed … 19/27 Wonderlic score.

High School

Attended New Smyrna Beach (Fla.) High School, playing football for head coach Stu Hot … Three-year starter on both the offensive and defensive lines … Earned All-State honors as a junior and senior and was also an All-District selection on offense … Named the District 4-A Player of the Year in 2002, in addition to garnering first-team All-Five Star Conference and two-time All-Central Florida accolades … Rated the 42nd-best offensive guard nationally by Rivals100.com … Graded 91% for blocking consistency on offense and recorded tallied 54 tackles, including ten for loss, and two sacks on defense … Earned first-team All-County and second-team All-Area honors in wrestling … Graduated in the top 10 of his class, received the National Scholar-Athlete Award from the U.S. Army Reserve and was named DAR Citizen of the Year.

Personal

Sociology major, with a minor in Religion … One of three sons of Patty and Walt Justice …

Older brother, Kevin played at the Air Force Academy (1996-2000) and another brother, Doug, was a linebacker at the University of North Carolina … Born 5/26/84 in Lancaster, Pennsylvania … Resides in Daytona Beach, Florida.

 
 

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