Trench warfare at its best
OTs Isaac Seumalo, Erik Magnuson stand out among non-skill players at Stanford NFTC
PALO ALTO, Calif. -- There were a handful of ESPNU 150 Watch List linemen, linebackers and tight ends who had great performances at the Stanford NFTC on Sunday and lived up to their billing as top national prospects. Here is a look at some of the top non-skill performers.
Isaac Seumalo, OG (Corvallis, Ore./Corvallis)
A talented defensive tackle, Seumalo took all his reps at offensive guard and was simply dominant. He has great bulk, a wide base and carries his weight very well. The ESPNU 150 Watch List prospect was agile and balanced during drill work and didn't give up any ground during one-on-ones. He displayed a strong and explosive initial punch and did a great job of controlling rushing defenders with his quick-shooting hands. He will re-route while mirroring and shuffling effectively in his pass set. Seumalo is light on his feet, with a quick first step but still plays with excellent leverage, a flat back and has a strong power base to sit and anchor.
Kyle Murphy, OT (San Clemente, Calif./San Clemente)
If you had to sculpt an offensive tackle prospect out of clay, the result might very well look like Murphy. One of the top prospects at his position nationally, the ESPNU 150 Watch List tackle has prototypical height, arm length and lean bulk. We expect his frame to continue adding size and power, which he showed he still could improve after getting knocked off-balance and out-leveraged on an inside counter of a bull rush. However, that might have been the only time Murphy showed a hint of weakness. He demonstrated his great reach, punch and quick-set ability sliding and riding defenders out of the pocket in pass protection with bend and also recovered with balance to the inside. The agile and athletic tackle also showed the ability to sink and pull during running drills and overall played with great leverage and agility for his taller frame.
Erik Magnuson, OT (Carlsbad, Calif./La Costa Canyon)
Magnuson looked like Murphy 2.0; he just lacks a bit of his size and lower-body flexibility. He has a tall, well-built body with great length for a college program to mold and develop. He moved well during drills, looking athletic and balanced, and utilized his long wing span and strong hands to control defenders and mirror the rush outside. He did show trouble on one occasion trying to adjust to a quick inside move after over-extending to the outside. A dominant run-blocker on film, Magnuson showed some promise in pass protection but we feel he still needs to work on technique in handling the outside speed rush to make a smoother adjustment to tackle at the next level.
Scott Starr, LB (Norco, Calif./Norco Senior)
Starr could have been confused for an All-Pro linebacker with his tapered bulk and prototypical size; he really passes the eyeball test. The thickly-built ESPNU 150 Watch Lister performed very well in a setting that did not necessarily give him the platform to showcase his strong downhill, run-stacking skills. Starr did have a chance to shine in blitzing drills, overpowering inferior running backs while also showing the ability to dip and rip adequately well -- something he will need to do if deployed as a 3-4 outside linebacker at the next level, where his measurables could take him with added growth. Starr looked solid breaking down in space, dropping in zone coverage and matching up with tight ends, but his tools appear more suited for the short range and he will likely start his career off between the tackles or as a Sam linebacker.
Jeremiah Allison, OLB (Los Angeles/Dorsey)
Allison is a tweener OLB/DE and took his reps at linebacker Sunday, where his size is better suited for the college level. The well-built, high-motored prospect showed solid lateral agility and athleticism to play there but will likely end up as standup rush end because his well-built frame lacks a lot of length to fill out and play end. Allison showed off his great pass-rushing skills during one-on-ones versus smaller backs who had little chance to block his great speed, power and burst off the ball. He showed some hip tightness opening to turn in coverage, and while he can run for his size and is mobile, he is a straight-line pursuer who will likely be deployed as a vertical attacker if he remains at linebacker.
Christopher Santini, OLB (San Jose, Calif./Leland)
If Santini had a bit more length and height, you would probably be looking at a national outside linebacker prospect. He's a bit of a tweener S/OLB with great thickness and functional strength. He showed very good explosion and balance through his hips and lower body during drills, as well as when competing in one-on-ones during breakdown and blitz drills. He has great plant-and-drive skill. In coverage, Santini did a good job of blanketing his underneath zone and showed his polished ball skills and deceptive athleticism on a few plays. Expect BCS offers to improve for the high-motored, hard-hitting hybrid who did well on Sunday -- despite it not being the best atmosphere in shorts and a T-shirt to display his fast-closing, physical style.
Jalen Cope-Fitzpatrick, TE (Palm Desert, Calif./Palm Desert)
This is the first guy you want off the bus thanks to his prototypical size measurables, and at times Cope-Fitzpatrick showed a similarly impressive skill set. The ESPNU 150 Watch List tight end showed good range and straight-line speed stretching the defenses vertically as a route-runner and is a big target. His length and mobility posed matchup problems for linebackers and his hands where consistently good. We did expect to see a bit more burst and fluidity as a route-runner and after the catch. He may not be a real weapon in the passing game at the next level, but is someone who looks to project best as a pro-style tight end with continued improvement of the in-line blocking skills we have seen on film.
Billy Tucker is a recruiting coordinator for ESPN Recruiting and has close to a decade of coaching experience at the college and high school levels.
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