Each week 24-7's Jeff Stroud and Jason Jewell will go toe to toe breaking down some of the top players in Arizona prep football. Here is the rule, we watch the tape them give our take. No discussion until the story is posted. Sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree. Here is the take on Marcos de Niza two way playmaker Ramon Abreu.
Abreu had arguably one of the best seasons in Arizona last year. He rushed for nearly 1,000 yards, had 130+ tackles on defense, 6 INTs, 3 fumble recoveries and scored 5 TDs on defense alone. The kid is a flat-out playmaker! He has a nose for the football and is a fearless tackler on D and is a hard-nosed runner on offense.
The biggest question surrounding Abreu is going to be his size. Where do you play him at? He is listed at 5-10 180 and that may be a little generous. At that size, he will not have the bulk needed to play LB and take the pounding that college OLs will bring. Does he have the speed to play in the secondary? My best guess is he will play a strong safety spot where he is up around the box.
Bottomline is, Abreu's tape is one of best I have seen, someone will take a chance on this kid. It may not be at the D1 level but someone at the 1AA or D2 level will get a heck of a football player.
I have always maintained that you can clip game film and make almost everyone, (maybe even me if you go back to the vault and pull out the reel to reels from 1984) look like an all star. With Ramon Abreu he does not look like an all star, but rather a comic book super hero.
I first watched his defensive tape and realized he was not just a playmaker but a BIG playmaker. What separates good from great ball players in their knack of making the big play an even bigger play at the right time. Abreu, on defense, turns interceptions and fumbles into Marcos de Niza scores. For the Marcos D, Abreu is correctly positioned at outside linebacker allowing him to make plays in the run and pass game. Due to his 5-10 180 pound size, there is no way he could play college ball at backer. And even at the high school level, you can see that he would have difficulty facing up against big backs and bigger linemen. Personally, I like him as a free safety in college. Free safety allows Abreu to be a whole field player, thus allowing him to apply his tremendous ball hawking, play making abilities on every snap. I know the trend today is bigger safeties, but I feel Abreu will make up for this with his instincts. Abreu is a great tackler and at times a physical tackler and for his size he does a great job taking on blockers, but at the next level he would need to concentrate on wrapping up, taking on more tackles straight up and not diving for the knees. As a safety, if you miss a low tackle it is six for the other team.
This is rare for me, because as a former defensive coach my natural inclination is to move all athletes to the defensive side of the ball, but in this instance I feel Abreu has the most upside as an offensive player. I think he would make a tremendous third down back. His game reminds a little of former Cardinal J.J. Arrington due to the ability to run and catch the ball. He looks comfortable working from the slot and can make plays from a variety of spots on the offensive side. Screens, options, swing passes have big play written on them when Abreu has the ball. Along with this, his time as a backer has made him a very good between the tackles runner. He does not play around and knows when to get north and south. Along with his no nonsense running style, he finishes runs and is willing and hungry to take on tacklers when necessary. Due to this, as a third down back, defenses would still have to honor inside runs.
Bottomline, Abreu is one of the most complete players I have seen in Arizona in a long while. If D1s are interested, he could potentially be a change of pace back, if Abreu is interested, he could be an every down back at lower college levels.