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NFP Scouting Series: Illinois

A look at the prospects on the Fighting Illini. National Football Post

Print This June 12, 2010, 12:30 PM EST

For the rest of the summer, the National Football Post will be breaking down every team in the Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly known as Division I-A) to identify players who could warrant the most interest from NFL teams in the 2011 draft.

Therefore, today we take a look at the Illinois Fighting Illini

Offense

WR Jarred Fayson: No. 11 (6-0, 215)
A pretty solid looking wide receiver prospect with good overall girth and muscle tone through his upper body. Showcases good patience into his routes and does a nice job setting up defenders, slightly widening his angles with a sudden shoulder dip and accelerating into daylight. However, he isn’t a real clean route runner and has a tendency to really round off his breaks. Displays some lateral quickness when setting up his man, but tends to just drift out of his break once he sets the opposing cornerback up and lacks a real sharpness to his game.  

Possesses good, not great speed and will struggle to fight his way through contact and accelerate past corners down the field once they can get their hands on him. However, does a nice job extending his arms and plucking the football along the sideline, exhibiting the type of body control to keep his feet in bounds and come down with the throw. Possesses a nice combination of wiggle and power after the catch and will create for himself with the ball in his hands. Has played some running back in the past.

Impression: Flashes the kind of suddenness and athleticism you would expect from a former five-star recruit. However, he isn’t real polished as a route runner and simply hasn’t put it all together at this stage.

OG Randall Hunt: No. 66 (6-6, 315)
A tall, long-armed offensive guard who has the build more so of an offensive tackle. Struggles to play with natural leverage on contact, as he has a tendency to stand too upright off the snap and isn’t a guy who can sit into his stance and extend his long arms at the point. Consistently allows opposing linemen to get into his frame and routinely gets jacked backward initially on contact.

Isn’t real effective as an in-line run blocker because of his inability to get under the pad level of opposing linemen and drive defenders off the ball. Does a nice job working his hands inside on contact and can be a bit of a Velcro player, but simply doesn’t play with the kind of leverage needed to create a push in the run game. Showcases some natural body control when asked to pull and hit a target off his frame. However, he will struggle to stay on blocks for any extended period of time and doesn’t look comfortable moving his feet through contact on slide down blocks. Nevertheless, he’s a bright guy who understands angles and is at his best using his length and short-area quickness to seal defenders away from the football.

Impression: A tall, long-armed guard, but doesn’t play with the kind of leverage needed to be effective in any area of the game at the next level.

Defense

DE Clay Nurse: No. 97 (6-3, 260)
Possesses an athletic looking frame with really long arms for a guy his size. Doesn’t seem to play the run game with much integrity, consistently making his way up the field and is routinely sealed from runs inside. Showcases natural bend out of his stance, but tends to pop upright vs. the run in order to find the football and struggles to extend his arms and use his hands to fight off blocks. Consistently is controlled at the point of attack and isn’t a guy who can set the edge, as he’s easily washed out on contact. 

However, as a pass rusher he does a good job getting off the snap count on time and pressing the corner as an edge guy. Consistently is one if the first lineman moving off the football and showcases good natural explosion out of his stance. Is still learning how to use his hands into contact, but possesses some change of direction skills when trying to quickly work his way back inside. Now, although he consistently can gain a step on opposing linemen off the snap, he still struggles to flatten out around the edge. Struggles dropping his pad level and dipping his shoulder, and opposing linemen are consistently able to just push him past the quarterback and keep him from the play.

Impression: Isn’t a factor vs. the run game, but I’m not willing to write this kid off as a legit NFL prospect yet. He hasn’t played football very long and he definitely flashes the ability to fire off the edge and rush the passer. Now, he still has a long way to go, but there is a lot of upside to his game as he’s a smart guy with good instincts off the snap. Therefore, it will be interesting to see how much development has taken place come 2010.

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