When using multiple tight end sets I prefer to have kids with varying skill sets. Joseph and Kyle are quite different in their skill sets, which should make for a very good combination at tight end.
The first thing you notice about Joseph Fauria is just a big body. He's a very tall, rangy kid with a solid frame. I'm not sure how big he'll get, but with his frame I imagine he has some definite room for growth, especially in his upper body. He's got very long arms and legs.
As far as his game goes lets start with his blocking ability. That will end up being where Fauria needs to make his living if he is going to play at Notre Dame. The first thing that jumped out to me was the fact that Joseph, for the most part, plays with great leverage. This is surprising for such a big kid who is going against much shorter defenders. This will transition well as he goes to college. Obviously he'll have to be more consistent in this area, but he shows the ability to do it more often than not, which is a positive.
The Encino, Calif. native also shows a solid base and very good technique as a blocker. He will fight and plays to the whistle. Fauria does a solid job passing off his initial defender and then working and engaging the second level defenders. For the most part he does a solid job using his hands and staying engaged with his defender. Getting off the snap quickly is crucial, and he, for the most part, is quick off the line.
There are some areas of improvement needed in this area for him to be able to be effective in college. The first is obvious. He needs to get in the weight room. That's actually encouraging for me. He's a very long kid who has a relatively thin frame for a guy who weighs 240 pounds. Once he stops growing you should see him make big gains in the weight room and in strength. This will increase his effectiveness as a blocker as he gets into college against bigger, stronger, and more physical defenders. I would also like to see Joseph be more consistent delivering a blow to his opponents. I just like seeing guys really shoot their hands inside and give a good punch to the defender. You can't always do it of course, but I do believe he has room for improvement here.
Blocking isn't the only thing Fauria does. He's a very solid pass catcher. The thing about him is he is vastly different from the other players we have seen Notre Dame sign or get commitments from. He isn't a guy who is going to wow you with his deep speed. He isn't a very fast football player. But that isn't his style. He is effective as what he does and as he develops those skills will be effective as a pass catcher. Joseph has tremendous hands for a big guy. He catches the ball smooth and away from his body. He shows no fear going after the football in traffic. Joseph's body control is very good and is able to adjust to poorly throw footballs. I saw two plays where he was able to go down and make a catch, which is impressive for a 6-foot-8 football player. You've seen previous ND tight end prospects use their speed and athleticism to beat defenders down field. Joseph will be able to use his great height, body control, and great hands to make plays down field.
We won't be seeing Fauria make a ton of catch and run plays at Notre Dame. Again, that isn't a criticism; it's just not his game. He's a guy who is going to use his size and hands to work the intermediate and short zones. As a route runner Joseph needs quite a bit of work. On routes such as slants and quick posts he shows a nice ability to get quickly to his route. He struggles, however, to have that same quickness on his out cuts. He doesn't create a ton of separation on his deep routes. Again, he uses his great size to make plays downfield. As he gets up field he also needs to do a better job of avoiding defenders. He has a tendency to run right into guys. This is great in high school, as he simply bullies guys, but he'll have to work this out in college.
This is a good pickup for Notre Dame. If you want a guy who is going to come in day one and dominate, he is not your guy. But he has very good potential. He's very different from Konrad Reuland, Mike Ragone, and Kyle Rudolph. As stated previously he's a tremendous compliment to those kids. It will be interesting to see how much size and strength he is going to gain. I believe that holds the key to his growth potential as a football player. Finally, I don't see Joseph as an offensive tackle. He is a tight end for sure.
In the Film Room: Joseph Fauria
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