2007 Worst Games: Kansas, North Dakota State
Body Structure: LeFevour is a deceptive 238 pounds. He does not appear to be the biggest or most svelte quarterback prospect. He lacks broad shoulders and a thick chest. He is thicker around the trunk/midsection and still has a bit of the build from his former high school running back days. At just under 6-feet-3-inches tall, his frame is basically maxed out but could improve overall tone and definition. Still has a bit of a baby-face and look about him.
General Report Athletic Ability - Clearly a beneficiary of the increased prevalence of the zone read, LeFevour's best asset is his ability to move around the pocket and run whenever necessary. He may not be the fastest or most agile quarterback ever to grace a field, but his ability to find creases in the blocking scheme during designed runs may be his greatest strength. This quarterback runs with short choppy feet, makes strong decisive cuts when needed, and is tough to tackle. As such, the Central Michigan program has been rewarded by taking advantage of these abilities as evidenced with LeFevour's career rushing mark of over 2900 yards. He also has had 9 career 100 yard games, with a high of 170 against Miami (OH) in 2007. The aforementioned system also hurts this prospect to a degree since he is never asked to drop back from under center. Close to 100% of his career snaps have been made from shotgun…GRADE - 7.4
Football Sense - A four year starter for the Chippewa's, Dan LeFevour would seem to have seen almost everything while playing quarterback. Once again, the system does play a factor as it does not require this signal caller to climb the tree on a regular basis. Rather, he is asked to make one or two initial reads and then take off and run the football. At times this hindrance appears when LeFevour does not fully recognize the safeties and their positioning. For example earlier this season against Western Michigan, the quarterback led his receivers into coverage on multiple occasions. Fellow senior Brian Anderson was almost knocked out by a safety laying in wait. When LeFevour has to hold the ball too long and is forced to stay in the pocket, he gets antsy. Often wanting to take off immediately, his technique breaks down, usually forcing bad throws in these instances. Off the field, LeFevour is a true scholar athlete. This student was named All Academic in some variation each of his four seasons at Central Michigan with a cumulative grade point average of 3.57, earning his degree this December…GRADE – 5.9
Character - Few prospects in the country shall be as highly regarded off the field as Daniel LeFevour. Not only is this quarterback a wonderful student in the class room, but he has also spent time working for Habitat for Humanity. Former Head Coach Butch Jones simply uses one word to describe this prospect, "champion". LeFevour was also a semifinalist for awards such as the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, the Manning Award, and the Wuerffel Trophy. All of which take into consideration play on the field as well as acts off the field… GRADE - 8.0
Competitiveness - 671 career carries. This statistic alone should indicate the amount of toughness Dan LeFevour possesses. The previous number is the higher than the career number of carrries by a number of running back prospects including: C.J. Spiller, Jahvid Best, Ryan Matthews, Jonathan Dwyer, and Monterio Hardesty, and the same as Heisman finalist Toby Gerhart. Over his career, even as a quarterback, he was asked to be as effective a runner as a passer. The result is that this Chippewa has certainly taken his fair share of hits from opposing defenses and has continually bounced back. He has only missed two contests due to injury throughout that time in 2008 when he had some ankle issues. As a passer, LeFevour's temperament is slightly differing. Much of his demeanor is based off the realization everyone in the huddle knows he is their leader. Comfortable with long time targets Bryan Anderson and Antonio Brown; rarely does this quarterback become animated on and off the field. This year's Michigan State game provided the perfect stage to exemplify LeFevour's icy demeanor on the field as the Chippewas came back in the final minutes to clinch arguably the program's biggest triumph. He can get flustered with pressure in his face and loves to throw off his back foot in those instances… GRADE – 7.1
Set Up - The predominance of the shotgun in LeFevour's career cannot be overlooked. Many of his passes within the offense are quick hits to the outside after simply swiveling his hips to one side or another. Never is he asked to take a 3/5/7 step drop from under center. This quarterback clearly needs the time to set and drive into his throws to provide the ideal amount of velocity while still retaining accuracy. While his overall movement skills may be his strength, it takes away from his ability to accurately push the ball downfield to his targets. Central Michigan did ask their quarterback to roll to one side or another often, giving their signal caller a run/pass option, and Lefevour generally does a solid job keeping his shoulders square in these instance; yet his footwork can become sloppy… GRADE – 5.2
Reading Defenses - This quarterback generally runs a hurry up offense in which he surveys the defense initially. Then on almost play LeFevour is asked to "Check with me" along the sidelines as the team's coaches often make the team's calls/audibles from their positions off the field. There are quite a few read and react stick routes thrown into the equation, which the Chippewas find quite advantageous. Being on the same page as his experienced receivers have given this quarterback a better feel for the zones even when he does not always make the correct read… GRADE – 5.4
Release - Releasing the ball in an almost 90 degree downward motion, LeFevour does not have much of a windup and generally snaps the ball off quickly. He carries the ball high and close to the earhole. He will throw off his backfoot in attempts to make a play, often to no avail. Although velocity is clearly lost while on the move, LeFevour is accurate while on the move. He does not always spin the ball well, as it will flutter coming out of his hand… GRADE – 6.1
Arm Strength - LeFevour possesses average to below average arm strength. He has shown the ability to throw the ball approximately 53-58 yards while on the run, but does not put the most zip on his throws; especially sideline routes. Again, if he is able to set properly and drive into those same throws; then they are clearly stronger and more accurate. When he does not, balls will sail and waver. Often receivers are waiting on the deep balls and have to make plays on those throws instead of being hit in stride. When asked to let it rip from a non-set position, making throws purely based on the ability to snap it off, then his true lack of arm strength appears… GRADE – 5.0
Accuracy - Every season while in Mount Pleasant, LeFevour's completion percentage improved. His improvement culminated this season to the point where he led the NCAA for a time, and set a team record, with a 69.74 completion percentage. The signal caller had a five game stretch in 2009 where he completed over 71% each and every game (spanning from week two until six). In fact, LeFevour topped the 80% plateau on three occasions during the season with a game high of 89.29% against Ball State. The strength of his game and his offensive's attack is the underneath to short passing attack. His receivers are often asked to make short plays turn into big runs. This quarterback feeds off this situation with very good accuracy 10-15 yards and in. LeFevour is completely comfortable in his system. He puts his targets in position to make plays. He can hit the quick slants and nearside out routes. He will struggle on deeper routes but has the ability to loosen up the defense on occasion… GRADE – 7.4
Touch - His shortened over-the-top release allows for the ball to come out high over his lineman while still coming out of his hand relatively quickly. LeFevour's overall lack of top arm strength does not afford him the luxury of firing balls in too hard to receivers where more touch is required for stronger armed gunslingers. Generally, his receivers do not have to adjust on the ball dramatically. Though this quarterback still has the mentality to force some throws in coverage due to confidence in his own abilities. His lack of a tight spiral has the possibility of forcing receivers to lose some concentration on the football. Generally, Dan LeFevour throws a soft catcheable ball for those around him to make plays after it arrives… GRADE – 6.8
Poise - LeFevour does have the luxury of running with the football whenever he feels threatened. It could be described as the lynchpin of the offense, since the quarterback has led his team in rushing two straight seasons. As such his ability to stay in the pocket, recognize pressure, and still throw bullets in the face of said pressure is still questionable at best. LeFevour knows he is a playmaker and is always willing to try and make a play on the move. When he feels some pressure bearing down, he will take off and run. He does keep his eyes downfield for the most part and will throw if the opportunity presents itself. As mentioned earlier, he will also try to force plays and throws which are not available. His worst habit is throwing off his back foot when he does attempt to stand up to a blitzer bearing down on him… GRADE – 6.2
Leadership - This quarterback has been the consummate leader of this team since his sophomore season when the full reigns of the offense were placed in his ample abilities. He looks out for his teammates to help their own statistics (see: Bryan Anderson's catch streak), while they work hard to return the favor. In the huddle, he is the only voice. The offensive linemen block hard to keep him upright or open holes. With his extensive starting experience and all that he has accomplished, younger players look up to this quarterback. Now, he will get fired up from time to time when a good play is made. He is not generally an excitable leader, but one who clearly does everything by example. LeFevour is an exemplary citizen on and off the field to set the tone for the rest of the team… GRADE – 7.0
Pocket Movement - Once again, LeFevour's movement is an obvious strength. He clearly has been a legitimate running threat his entire career. While not the speediest quarterback, LeFevour has ripped off a 40 plus yard run in three of his four seasons as the Chippewas' starter. Despite taking on a rather large load of the last few seasons, his ball security is better than expected. This past season LeFevour only fumbled once against Ball State late in the season. As a passer working from one harshmark to the next, he does not have quite the arm strength to make the long throws. But he is clearly able to move around the pocket and take off to evade the oncoming rush… GRADE – 7.4
Scrambling Ability - Very rarely will one see Dan LeFevour have negative yardage in the rushing column. It is because he can get out and run as well as quarterback in the nation currently. Plenty has to do with the designed runs in the system, but this team leader can escape from the pocket with ease when forced, making plays with both his feet, or throwing the football in these instances… GRADE – 7.6
Summation - A few common themes permeate throughout this entire scouting report: First is LeFevour's ability as a runner where he is one of the most dangerous quarterbacks to ever leave the collegiate ranks. He broke records with his dual threat ability at both the conference and NCAA levels.
Second is the system in which he played which hid many of his issues as a pure passing prospect.
Third is the quarterback's inability as a reliable pocket passer and technique issues which stem from a lack of attention in this area.
Fourth is questionable arm strength.
Where LeFevour had excelled throughout is in the short to immediate passing attack where he can be deadly accurate and allow his playmakers to take over for the offense. His completion percentage continually improved throughout his career and was a strength of this prospect's game.
He is also an ideal prospect both on and off the field willing to work hard for his coach, for his team, and himself. He took over this team unexpectedly as a redshirt freshman. Over the years, LeFevour has taken a pounding with his workload but continued to command his teams to multiple conference championships.
In a world where the term "wildcat" is part of football's everyday vernacular, a quarterback prospect the likes of Dan LeFevour could present more value than he would have in previous years. Though said value should not be overestimated.
Compares To BRUCE GRADKOWSKI, Oakland Raiders… Both MAC products had the luxury of systems that allowed them to rely on the playmaking abilities of those around them. Short immediate passes were the trademarks of both collegiate schemes that allotted very high completion percentages, while their coaches allowed both to take advantage of their natural athleticism. Neither has ideal size (although LeFevour is bigger physically) and both possess average to below average arm strength. In the right systems, both could have the opportunity to get playing time but would be better served in back-up roles.