Before anyone goes crazy, this is not suggesting that Sean Lissemore — the William & Mary defensive tackle the Dallas Cowboys selected in the seventh round of the NFL Draft — is Ratliff's equal.
However, there are some striking similarities: each was a smaller player recruited to his school at another position because of his speed, and each grew into a fast, effective interior defensive lineman.
When Ratliff was recruited to Auburn, he was a defensive lineman (he played defensive end at the time) who relied more on speed than power. Lissemore, who measured 6-3 and 298 pounds on his school's Pro Day, also was recruited at another position — linebacker — in large part because of his speed. In addition to his football prowess, Lissemore was one of the better high school sprinters in the state of New Jersey, where he once ran an 11.2 in the 100-meter dash … at nearly 250 pounds.
Lissemore has maintained much of that athleticism at the college level, and with an extra 50 pounds strapped on his frame. At his Pro Day, he clocked a 4.83 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 30-inch vertical jump and a broad jump of 9 feet, 3 inches, and bench pressed the NFL-standard 225 pounds 36 times.
Had he been invited to the NFL Combine in March, his 40-yard dash time would have been among the fastest among defensive tackles; his 36 reps on the bench press would have placed third among all defensive linemen. His 30-inch vertical jump also is exceptional for a player who is pushing 300 pounds.
There are two concerns about Lissemore. The first is a shoulder injury that he suffered as a sophomore and lingered over into the first part of his junior season. But Lissemore, who has a reputation as a workout warrior, strengthened the shoulder and turned in a terrific senior season, piling up 66 tackles, 14 tackles for losses, 6.5 quarterback sacks and even a pair of interceptions from his defensive tackle position. In 45 career games, he totaled 193 tackles, including 28 tackles for losses.
The other concern is the level of competition he faced. William & Mary plays in the Colonial Athletic Association, a conference which includes among its member institutions places like Delaware, Drexel, Hofstra, James Madison, North Carolina-Wilmington and Virginia Commonwealth.
Following his standout senior season, Lissemore earned FCS All-America honors when he was named to The College Sporting News' "Fabulous Fifty Team" and The Sports Network's All-America team. He also was selected as a first-team All-Colonial Athletic Association honoree.
Link to his pre-draft video: LINK
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