Former PSU recruits can make things right
With so many big-name underclassmen declaring for the 2010 NFL Draft this week, it’s easy to key on the prospects from major schools or the players with the best chance of landing in the top-10 in April. But there were also two former highly touted Penn State recruits, wide receiver Chris Bell and defensive tackle Abe Koroma, who opted to come out this week but went overlooked by almost every media outlet.
The reason: Neither actually played at Penn State this past season. Bell was dismissed from the team in 2008 after threatening a teammate with a knife at a team dining facility (he later accepted a plea deal and received probation), while Koroma left for “personal reasons” before last season after having his share of run-ins with police during his time at Happy Valley.
Both players found football after Penn State -- Bell landed at Norfolk State and Koroma at Western Illinois -- and now both are looking to right their wrongs as they attempt to take their games to the next level.
Bell is a former five-start recruit who was being courted by Penn State, Florida, LSU and Michigan coming out of high school. He’s a 6-2, 210-pound wideout who displays impressive body control and hand-eye coordination down the field and absolutely dominated his competition at the I-AA level. Bell isn’t an elite straight-line athlete, but he’s a powerful route runner who picks up speed as he goes and showcases the ability to consistently track the football vertically. Plus, he does a great job locating the throw in one-on-one situations and going up and attacking the ball at its highest point.
Honestly, when watching him at Norfolk State, the guy looked like a man among boys. He’s a load to bring down after the catch and makes getting open vertically look effortless. He isn’t a polished route runner, struggles to sharply get out of his breaks and more times than not is asked to run the nine route and the short crosser underneath. However, his physical skill set is definitely NFL-worthy, and if he can prove to NFL officials he’s cleaned up his act and is willing to put in the work, there’s no reason he shouldn’t earn a grade of a developmental-type prospect who has the skill set needed to start on the outside.
Koroma, on the other hand, is a former three-star recruit out of Milton Hershey School in Pennsylvania who possesses an intriguing combination of size (6-3, 317) and overall athleticism for the position. He showcases the ability to play with power on contact, has some suddenness as a pass rusher and does a nice job using his hands to keep opposing linemen from getting into his frame.
Like Bell, Koroma is raw and has some character concerns to answer. But he has a big frame, an impressive athletic skill set for his size and looks like someone who could definitely get looks in the mid/late round as an intriguing developmental-type defensive lineman.
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