CLARKSBURG, Md. -- Quince Orchard (North Potomac, Md.) cornerback/safety Fofie Bazzie committed to Maryland April 3, and on Sept. 23 he and his teammates traveled to Clarksburg for a class 4A Montgomery County battle.
Below is an evaluation of the 6-foot-1, 185-pound three-star, while an interview can be seen above:
Bazzie is a long, physical defensive back who projects as either a boundary (short field) corner or safety at the next level (he plays both at Quince Orchard). In a couple years, he could work his way into the defensive back rotation, with a chance to earn a larger role if he keeps developing.
Regardless of his actual position, Bazzie looks the part of a Big Ten defensive back. In addition to his size, he has decent arm length and hands, to go along with a solid base.
One of the most noticeable traits Bazzie possesses, however, is not necessarily a physical one. He’s a fiery, never-back-down competitor who loves to get up in receivers’ faces. Bazzie has a swagger about him, challenging wideouts in press and daring opposing quarterbacks to throw in his direction.
In terms of his skill-set, Bazzie operates in both press and zone, showing off his physicality in each. The Quince Orchard product works to jam his man and throw him off the route. He’s also willing to shoot up and take down a running back in the open field. Bazzie’s a sound form tackler and can pack a potent punch from time to time, developed from his days when he was primarily a strong safety. He also takes tight closing angles to the ball and allows little yardage after contact.
While operating in press coverage, Bazzie shows the ability to turn and run with wideouts. He has solid short-area quickness and typically can stay with his man throughout the pattern
In zone, Bazzie transitions smoothly and looks to be loose and flexible. He breaks down fairly well and ably gets in and out of his cuts.
Bazzie possesses solid ball skills too. He actively high points down the field, rising up like he’s the intended receiver. The local corner challenges wideouts in the air and uses his wide wingspan and strong hands to come down with the ball.
Additionally, Bazzie seems to have above-average instincts. He does a good job anticipating, particularly in zone when the corner/safety can read the quarterback’s eyes and make an early break on the ball. He’s also effective at deciphering particular route combinations and positioning himself to break up a pass.
There are several areas Bazzie will need to improve before he’s ready to contribute at UMD, however. Mainly, he must refine his all-around technique, from his footwork; to his hand placement; to his form. Right now, he could have a bit of trouble shadowing receivers and sticking to their inside hips. (The latter is one of the main reasons we think Bazzie might wind up at safety, where such a skill is less important).
His backpedal can be a bit methodical; it’s almost like he’s thinking about his form rather than it coming second nature to him. Moreover, sometimes Bazzie will cross up his steps or rise out of his stance too soon instead of staying low. Thus, quick-twitch receivers can sometimes get behind him on deeper patterns.
Speaking of crossed-up steps, this issue occurs occasionally when Bazzie’s transitioning in zone: He can get caught flatfooted or his feet become jumbled.
Also, despite Bazzie’s field awareness and his initial jump, he doesn’t quite have the burst and downhill acceleration to consistently undercut routes.
It follows that Bazzie’s closing speed needs some work too. He’s not the type of corner who can stop on a dime; change direction; and fire underneath a pattern. Nor is he the type who can turn, transition, and beat an elite wideout to a spot deep downfield.
The latter isn’t especially surprising, because, while Bazzie has solid short-area quickness, he’s not exactly a track-star speedster. If a receiver with superior straight-line speed gains a step on him, Bazzie could have a tough time recovering.
Last but not least, Bazzie has to keep adding muscle to his frame, especially in his base. He’s able to jam and tackle effectively now, but the Big Ten is a different ballgame.