Down The Line Help On The Back End

A football truism; developing players at the free and strong safety position, first and foremost, must be outstanding special team's players. Would-be scouts and fans, pay special attention to this most important trait when eyeballing the players in this category for the 2009 football draft.

There are a number of down-the-line free safeties with a chance of rising with a solid senior season. For all of you would-be talent evaluators, look for players with instincts, anticipation, range (cover ground), the ability to play off blocks and fill inside running lanes. The ability to tackle in the open field and get into those throwing zones is essential. One other underrated trait for players at the free safety position is size. Remember, you have to be able to match up against big receivers and face up and bring down big people inside.

Jason Venson of Central Florida via Wisconsin has good instincts and was a big play man in 2007. Thomas Nelson of Illinois State and Clayton Johnson of Southern Illinois put up some impressive numbers last season and could make a major move as seniors. Keep your eye on Sam Pope of Hampton, a transfer from So Carolina and Valdosta State' Sherard Reynolds. Both have play making ability and a real chance to factor at the professional level.

Grade Last First School 2007 Stats
Solo - Assist - Total - Int - PBU
D Donaldson Al Alabama A&M 34-14-48-8-11
D Ness Nate Arizona U 27-5-32-5-2
D Hicks Bernard California U 22-18-40-1-4
D Venson Jason Central Florida 69-23-92-2-7
D Walters Ryan Colorado U 41-12-53-2-4
D Strader Aaron Duquesne 23-11-34-4-7
D Brooks Dominique East Central Oklahoma No 2007 stats
D Jones Rodney Elizabeth City St 23-24-47-2-7
D McClure Darius Florida St 14-8-22-0-1
D Pope Sam Hampton U 32-9-41-5-6
D Fontenette Kenneth Houston U 30-39-69-4-6
D Nelson Thomas Illinois State U 41-45-86-2-2
D Haywood Marcus James Madison U 27-26-53-1-1
D Anderson Colt Montana U 52-24-76-4-7
D Hyland David Morehead St 30-3-33-8-11
D Schommer Nick No Dakota St 35-29-64-4-4
D Moore Quinton Oklahoma St 42-16-58-1-2
D Thatcher Eric Pittsburgh U 35-18-53-1-3
D Boudreaux Corey San Diego St 53-31-84-3-8
D Johnson Clayton Southern Illinois U 46-31-77-4-7
D Gregg Devin Texas A&M 32-42-74-1-3
D Reynolds Sherard Valdosta St 49-52-101-7-12
D Patterson Kevin Wake Forest 37-15-52-1-1
D Forrester Mesphin Washington U 58-35-93-2-2

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