Three More Recent Visitors to Kirkland

Seahawks.NET has learned the names of three more recent visitors to the team's Kirkland headquarters – a defensive end whose stock is rapidly rising, a center with great determination, and a big-school fullback who might be a great fit in a West Coast Offense.

The first new name on the visit roster is that of Indiana DE Ben Ishola. A native of Berlin, Germany, Ishola tried out for NFL Europe but was encouraged to consider college football as his ticket into the NFL instead. Ishola enrolled at Indiana and rapidly developed skills that surpassed many players around him who had been playing the game most of their lives.

Kentucky quarterback Shane Boyd throws a pass over Indiana defenders Kyle Killion (43) and Ben Ishola (99) in the first half Saturday, Sept. 18, 2004, in Lexington, Ky. (AP Photo/Ed Reinke)

The 6-foot-three, 250-pound defender wasn't invited to the Combine, but following an eye-popping Pro Day on March 7, teams are now scrambling to figure out how Ishola was overlooked. He was clocked by some scouts in the 4.4's up to no higher than 4.51, put up 30 reps on the bench press, and did a 10-foot-1 broad jump. After scouts went back and saw that he had the film to support his athleticism, the phone started ringing.

Brad Leshnock and Joe Flanagan, Ishola's agents at BTI Sports Advisors, had to work diligently to get all the visits and workouts coordinated within a tight time frame. Ishola has made three visits this week alone.

One of Ishola's big draws is his versatility in addition to his readily apparent athleticism. "He's a productive guy who can play standing up or with his hand on the ground," Flanagan told Ed Thompson of ColtPower.com this week. "He's got upfield speed as a defensive end, good lateral quickness, obvious power, and very strong hands."

Flanagan pointed out that with more teams using hybrid defenses, players like Ishola become more valuable because he can legitimately play four to five spots.

"And it's amazing how many teams are looking at him at different spots," Flanagan added.

Ishola has only been playing football for four years even though he's 26 years old. And while that relative inexperience could be a drawback in some jobs, it's a plus to many NFL clubs who are looking for upside and potential in players.

"He's still learning football, and to see what he's been able to do against Ohio State-caliber linemen and to see him test as well as he has is a testament to his raw athleticism. The vast majority of teams look at his experience level versus the results he's already accomplished as a positive, because they can see that there's still a lot of player to unearth with Ben Ishola," Flanagan explained.

And as a result, fans in whatever city that Ben Ishola lands in may be a bit surprised when they hear Ishola's name called on draft weekend. But they shouldn't be.

"He's one of those guys who will probably be drafted way earlier than the public believes," Flanagan said. "But his name is running rampant in NFL circles right now."

The Seahawks have also hosted Michigan state center Chris Morris and Miami fullback Quadtrine Hill at Kirkland HQ in the recent past.


TFY DRAFT PROFILE:
CHRIS MORRIS

Full Name: Chris Morris School: Michigan State Pos: C

Ht: 6-3.5 Wt: 299 40: 5.32 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Three-year starter previously awarded All-Conference and All-Academic honors.

Pos: Hard-working, dependable blocker with marginal upside for the next level. Explodes into blocks and walls defenders from the action. Plays with a nasty attitude, yet at the same time is an intelligent center. Effective in space, understands blocking angles and always looks for someone to hit.

Neg: Must improve his shotgun snaps. Struggles to finish blocks and is not dominant.

Analysis: An overachiever on the college level, Morris’s quickness and ability to get leverage on opponents gives him a decided edge.


TFY DRAFT PROFILE: QUADTRINE HILL

Full Name:
Quadtrine Hill School: Miami-Fl Pos: FB

Ht: 6-1 Wt: 220 40: 4.55 Year: 5Sr

Bio: Used in a starting capacity the past four seasons. Senior totals on the ground included 19/138 with 25/216/1 as a pass catcher.

Pos: Undersized yet athletic fullback who also excels on special teams. Blocks with good pad level, picks up assignments and seals defenders from the action. Solid receiver who extends to make the reception away from his frame. Runs with an aggressive style and displays a burst of speed.

Neg: Must improve his blocking intensity and barely gets in the way with assignments.

Analysis: Lacking the size and strength to be a true lead blocker, Hill’s pass catching abilities will get him consideration in a West Coast offense.


Doug Farrar is the Editor-in-Chief of Seahawks.NET. Feel free to e-mail him here.


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