Ultimate Scouting Report: S Jamarca Sanford

Who is this safety that the Vikings selected in the seventh round on Sunday? Go further in-depth on his career, his talents and his background than you'll find anywhere else with this ultimate scouting report on an intriguing late-round pick.

JAMARCA DESHAUN SANFORD
Strong/Free Safety
University of Mississippi Rebels
#13
5:09.7-214
Batesville, Mississippi
South Panola High School

OVERVIEW


Sanford is a highly physical tackler who always seems to be around the ball. Despite his short stature, he was such a ferocious hitter, when injuries and suspensions depleted the team's linebacker unit in 2006 the coaching staff had enough confidence in the then 200-pounder to insert Sanford at the weak-side position for the final four games. Known also for his consistency, he is one of the few athletes to boast that he started every game he ever played in (44).

During those 44 contests, Sanford, who served as team captain in 2008, was the leading active tackler in the Southeastern Conference, wracking up 287 hits, an average of 6.52 tackles per game. Those 287 tackles rank second in school annals among defensive backs, topped only by Eric Oliver (328, 2001-04).

At South Panola High School, Sanford was a Top 40, All-State and All-Region choice by The Clarion-Ledger. He picked up Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A first-team All-State honors as an outside linebacker and was named to the Prep Star All-Region team, which represented the top 275 players. He ranked seventh among strong safeties on the 2003 Max Emfinger Super South Top 200 list

Sanford was also rated 19th in Mississippi by Rivals.com and listed as a Top 30 Prep Recruit by the Sun-Herald. He was named Player of the Week eight times as a senior and seven times in his junior year. He was selected to play in the 2004 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile, Alabama.

As a senior, Sanford helped the Tigers to a 15-0 record, the Class 5A state championship and a ninth place spot on the USA Today national ranking list. He was voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2003 state title tilt and led South Panola to a 14-1 record and state runner-up finish in 2002.

During his four-year career, Sanford collected 320 career tackles and 25 quarterback sacks. He recorded 98 tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions as a senior, leading a 2003 Tiger defense which allowed only 38 rushing yards per game.

Sanford enrolled at Mississippi in 2004, red-shirting that season. He joined cousins Toward Sanford, Eddie Strong and Kevin Thomas in playing at Ole Miss, while Peria and John Jerry were high school teammates who also decided to join Sanford on the roster. Eddie Strong and another cousin, Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd both went on to play in the National Football League.

The Sporting News awarded Sanford first-team Freshman All-Southeastern Conference and third-team Freshman All-American honors in 2005. He started ten games at strong safety, missing the Wyoming clash with a knee sprain, but still finished fourth on the squad with 58 tackles (40 solos), including 5.5 stops for loss and two fumble recoveries.

Sanford started the first seven games of the 2006 season at strong safety and the final four contests at weak-side outside linebacker. He produced 64 tackles (33 solos), ranking fourth on the team. He also registered his first career sack and broke up three passes, but missed the second half of the Georgia contest and sat out the Vanderbilt clash with an ankle sprain. He also sat out spring drills after undergoing groin surgery.

A neck stinger would sideline Sanford for the 2007 Alabama and Arkansas games, but he still came up with 83 tackles (48 solos), finishing third on the squad. He had 5.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage and caused two fumbles. He also blocked a punt that was advanced 28 yards, batted away four passes and carried once for a 5-yard gain.

Sanford did not endear himself to the new coaching staff in 2008, as he was arrested in January for disturbing the peace and failure to comply with a police officer. This was his second arrest, as he was also charged with stealing a car stereo in 2003.

Head coach Houston Nutt still allowed Sanford to play, as he showed his commitment to the program. He was named team captain and was honored with the Leadership Award from the Birmingham Alumni Club. He finished second on the team with 82 tackles (56 solos), including four stops for loss and two pressures. He also caused a pair of fumbles.

NOTABLE PERFORMANCES
2008 Best Games Memphis, Wake Forest, Vanderbilt, Florida, South Carolina, Louisiana-Monroe
2008 Worst Games Alabama, Arkansas, Texas Tech
2007 Best Games Memphis, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Auburn, Northwestern State, Louisiana State
2007 Worst Games Florida, Georgia, Mississippi State
2006 Best Games Missouri, Wake Forest, Northwestern State, Mississippi State
2006 Worst Games Kentucky, Arkansas

SCOUTING REPORT
GENERAL REPORT…GRADE-5.96

Body Structure

Sanford has a well-built frame with solid muscle tone throughout. He possesses a good bubble, thick thighs and calves, large hands, low body fat, defined chest and arms, tight waist and hips. He is shorter than ideal, but possesses above average strength to compensate, especially when playing in the box.

Athletic Ability
Sanford displays adequate change of direction agility, needing to do a better job of opening his hips. He shows balance and body control throughout his backpedal and a quick burst to make plays in front of him, but struggles some to mirror receivers once his man gets behind him. He compensates for a lack of a second gear by taking proper angles to the ball when working in space. He displays the ability to accelerate to the ball and generates a sharp closing burst working downhill. He has good leaping ability, but fails to time his jumps properly, lacing the natural hands for the interception…GRADE-6.0

Football Sense
Sanford is an intelligent player who picks up plays quickly. He needs minimal reps to retain and shows very good field vision and awareness. He keeps his head on a swivel, doing a nice job of tracking the ball in flight. Despite playing in some confusing defensive schemes, he handles the action in front of him well and is capable of handling the mental aspect of the game…GRADE-6.6

Character
Sanford is a well-respected leader, but has had a few off-field incidents that might bring up red flags in some war rooms. He was charged with stealing a car stereo in 2003 and in 2008, he was arrested for disturbing the peace and failure to comply with an officer's instructions. He is a personable type that is close to his friends. The coaches cite his team-first work ethic. He is tough on himself, always looking to improve, but shows good confidence in his ability to handle any task the coaches ask from him…GRADE-5.0

Competitiveness
Wherever the coaches want him to play, whatever scheme they need him to perform in, Sanford is more than up to the task. He is a tough, physical tackler who gives total effort until the whistle. He is hard on himself, always pushing to get better. He plays with a high intensity level, whether in games or practices. His toughness lets him compete in the box, as he relishes mixing it up in the trenches (see 2008 Arkansas and Louisiana-Monroe games). He is fun to watch on the field, as he is the type that will hit anything that gets into his territory. He competes with good aggression and is a high motor type that will always hustle in pursuit, but will get into this mind think where he would much rather tackle the receiver after the catch rather than compete for the ball in flight…GRADE-6.0

Work Habits
Sanford is a self-starter who is a perfect example of hard work for the team's younger players. He is more of a leader by example type, but will get vocal when he needs to take control of the huddle. He is the consummate team player who has filled a variety of roles in the secondary due to team needs and never complained about the shift (nickel back, weak-side linebacker, strong safety). He will play through injuries and is a stand-up sort that will take blame when things go poorly. He shows a good sense of urgency in his game and consistently comes up with big plays. He takes well to hard coaching and plays until the whistle…GRADE-6.2

ATHLETIC REPORT…GRADE-6.01

Key and Diagnostic Skills

Due to his maturity and experience at several positions, along with starting at a very early age, his maturity shines through in his read and diagnostic skills. Sanford has a good feel for the ball, showing awareness in zone assignments. He does a nice job of keeping the play in front of him. He shows no hesitation stepping into the box to make plays in run force. He is quick to locate the ball when working through trash. He is not the type that will get over aggressive, but does hit with authority. He breaks on the ball well and gets a good jump from the hash…GRADE-6.3

Man Coverage Ability
Sanford is better making plays in front of him or playing in the zone. He can mirror the tight ends, backs and slot receivers on underneath routes, but lacks the second gear needed to recover when beaten deep. He does an adequate job of opening his hips and turning on the ball, showing too much wasted motion through transition. If playing in a system that will man him up on slots receivers and tight ends, he will do a very good job. He is just not the type to cover the speedier receivers on deep patterns…GRADE-5.2

Zone Coverage Ability
Sanford shows alertness and a good feel for the ball. He is quick to locate the pigskin when working in the box and gets a good jump on the play due to his ability to anticipate and diagnose the patterns. He just lacks natural hands for the interception. He is sluggish to turn out of his backpedal and has lacks a sharp burst to recover when a receiver gets behind him, despite good timed speed. His vision and feel for the play will generally see him in position to make the tackle on plays in front of him, though…GRADE-6.2

Backpedal Skills
Sanford does a marginal job of keeping his feet and turning his hips properly breaking out of his backpedal. He needs to do a better job at maintaining balance and body control, as he takes too many wasted steps in transition. He lacks the flexibility to turn and run, but is successful at staying low to make the tackles on plays in front of him…GRADE-5.4

Ball Reaction Skills
Sanford needs to show more explosion in his initial move. When he gets himself in position to make the play, he shows good aggression going for the ball. He is better closing in the short area than on long plays, and despite lacking loose hips, he compensates for a lack of a second gear with his strong charge and hand usage in keeping the action in front of him…GRADE-5.8

Range/Recovery
Sanford is best when working down hill, as he shows urgency and better acceleration making plays in front of him. He is better suited for strong safety, where he does not have to generate that second gear needed to mirror receivers on deep routes as much. When he locates the ball in front of him, Sanford shows good take-up speed to compensate for a lack of that second gear. He is also a high motor player that always hustles in pursuit…GRADE-6.0

Jumping Ability
Sanford needs to learn how to utilize his average leaping ability to get to the ball at its high point. He has good angle technique to close the cushion, especially when asked to support vs. the outside run. While he does just an adequate job of mirroring the receiver, he plays with good intent to attack the ball, even though he lacks natural hands to secure it…GRADE-5.6

Hands
Sanford lacks natural hands. It is rare to see him catch the ball with his hands properly extended from the body's frame. When he competes for the ball, he might get a piece of the pigskin, but his hands are marginal at best when trying to make the interception. He uses his hands with force in pass coverage, doing a good job of jamming and rerouting tight ends when attacking at the line of scrimmage. He is just not able to snatch the ball at its high point to demonstrate functional interception skills…GRADE-5.4

Run Defense
When working in the box, Sanford is quick to read and react to the run. He takes good angles to the ball and will not shy away from contact working in-line. He is not asked to blitz much, but shows good acceleration in back side pursuit. He is a tough tackler who stays low in his pads and rarely takes passive arm tackles, rather preferring to extend his hands to wrap and secure. He will attack the line of scrimmage with aggression, but will not overrun the play. Even vs. the larger offensive linemen, he works hard to shed and is quick to recover and redirect the outside run and get into position to neutralize the cut-back…GRADE-7.4

Tackling Ability
Sanford makes good body adjustments, staying low in his pads while driving hard with his legs to push back the lead blocker through the rush lanes when working in the box. He takes good angles to the ball working in space and is very active with his hands when taking on the smaller blockers. He generates good power behind his tackles, doing a nice job of breaking down and exploding into the ball carrier. He will not hesitate to fill the alley, even though he knows he will get punished a bit by the larger offensive linemen. He is also effective at tackling in the open field, as he shows good wrap-up technique and strength when delivering his hits…GRADE-6.8

Compares To
CHARLIE PEPRAH-Green Bay…Sanford packs a punch behind his tackles, staying low in his pads and driving hard with his legs to take his opponent down cleanly. He is also active with his hands, doing a nice job of jamming and rerouting slot receivers and tight ends in the short area passing game. He does not have the natural hands to go for the interception and needs to do a better job of tracking the ball in flight. He is best when playing the zone, as his instincts and field vision lets him see plays develop quickly in front of him. His lack of size is a big drawback, but in a sub package, he could bring nice value playing the slot receivers, as he hits like a mini linebacker. OVERALL GRADE-6.0

CAREER NOTES

Sanford started all 44 games he played in at Mississippi; 40 at strong safety and four at weak-side outside linebacker…Was the leading active tackler in the Southeastern Conference in 2008, compiling 287 tackles (177 solos) with 1.5 sacks for minus 13 yards, 16.5 stops for losses of 48 yards and four quarterback pressures for his career…His 287 tackles rank behind Eric Oliver (328, 2001-04) among Ole Miss defensive backs on the school's all-time record list…Caused four fumbles and recovered two others…Had ten pass deflections and blocked a punt that was advanced 28 yards…Also carried twice or 8 yards.

2008 SEASON
Honored with the 2008 Leadership Award from the Birmingham Alumni Club…Started all thirteen games at strong safety, serving as team captain...Ranked second on the team with a career-high 82 tackles and led Ole Miss with 56 solo hits…Assisted on a sack, had four stops for losses of 10 yards and two quarterback pressures…Caused two fumbles and carried once for a 3-yard gain…Helped the Rebels defense rank second in the South-eastern Conference and fourth in the nation in rush defense (85.5 ypg)…Received the 2008 Chucky Mullins Courage Award and is wearing a "38" patch on his jersey during his senior season to honor the late Chucky Mullins, whose Ole Miss career as a defensive back came to an end in 1989 when he was paralyzed in a game against Vanderbilt.

2008 GAME ANALYSIS
Opened the season with thirteen tackles (11 solos) vs. Memphis…Posted eight stops, including one for a loss vs. Wake Forest, as he also caused a fumble, stripping the ball from Alphonso Smith on a 10-yard punt return to set up a 31-yard touchdown pass from Ole Miss QB Jevan Snead to Dexter McCluster in the second quarter…Added seven tackles (5 solos) and jarred the ball out of the hands of tailback Jared Hawkins that Ole Miss recovered at the VU 20 late in the first quarter vs. Vanderbilt…Collected eleven tackles vs. Florida and made thirteen more hits (11 solos) and a pressure in the South Carolina clash…Delivered five tackles and assisted in sacking QB Trey Revel for a 10-yard loss on a third-&-14 snap, forcing ULM to punt vs. Louisiana-Monroe…Clobbered Tommy Trott for a 3-yard loss on a screen pass and also took down Ben Tate behind the line iof scrimmage on another reception vs. Auburn.

2007 SEASON
Started ten games at strong safety, missing the Alabama and Arkansas contests due to a neck stinger…Still ranked sixth in the SEC with a career-high 83 tackles (48 solos), including 5.5 stops for losses of 20 yards and two forced fumbles…Deflected four passes and blocked a punt that he advanced 28 yards…Also carried once for 5 yards.

2007 GAME HIGHLIGHTS
Blocked a punt that Kendrick Lewis recovered for an Ole Miss touchdown, as Sanford posted seven tackles (5 solos) with a stop for a 3-yard loss, caused a fumble and batted down two passes vs. Memphis…Added thirteen tackles (8 solos) and a stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Missouri…Followed with thirteen hits (7 solos) and a stop for an 11-yard loss vs. Vanderbilt…Credited with eleven tackles (7 solos) vs. Auburn and added thirteen hits (7 solos) with 1.5 stops for minus 3 yards and a forced fumble in the North-western State clash…Made ten tackles (6 solos) and a stop behind the line of scrimmage vs. Louisiana State.

2006 SEASON
Started the first seven games at strong safety before shifting to weak-side linebacker for the final four contests…Ranked fourth on the team with 64 tackles (33 solos), adding an 8-yard sack and a quarterback pressure…Also deflected three passes…Held out of 2006 spring drills after undergoing groin surgery…Did not play vs. Vanderbilt and missed the second half vs. Georgia with a high ankle sprain.

2005 SEASON
Freshman All-American third-team and Freshman All-Southeastern Conference first-team choice by The Sporting News…Led SEC freshmen with 58 tackles (40 solos), ranking fourth on the team…Had 5.5 stops for minus 10 yards and a pressure…Recovered two fumbles and deflected three passes…Missed the Wyoming clash with a knee sprain.

2004 SEASON
Red-shirted as a freshman.

OFF-FIELD ISSUES

2003-Was charged with stealing a car stereo while at South Panola High School. 2008-Sanford was arrested on January 19th, on charges of disorderly conduct and failure to comply with a police officer's instructions. Sanford was arrested after "refusing to leave the parking lot of Night Town after being asked to do so several times" by Oxford Police Officer Lt. Bobby Kelly, Kelly said in the arrest affidavit. Sanford was booked at the Lafayette County Detention Center at 1:40 a.m. Saturday and released on cash bond at 4:15 a.m. The charge is a misdemeanor.

INJURY REPORT

2005-Missed the Wyoming game (9/24) with a knee sprain. 2006-Sat out spring drills after undergoing groin surgery…Did not play vs. Vanderbilt (10/07) and missed the second half vs. Georgia (9/30) with a foot and high ankle sprain that put him on crutches for a few days. 2007-Did not play vs. Alabama (10/13) and Arkansas (10/20) after suffering a neck stinger in the Louisiana Tech clash (10/06). 2008-Suffered a contusion on his arm after taking a hit from an opponent's helmet vs. Arkansas (10/25), but refused to leave the game.

COMBINE AGILITY TESTS

4.50 in the 40-yard dash…1.50 10-yard dash…2.60 20-yard dash…4.20 20-yard shuttle…7.02 three-cone drill…33.5-inch vertical jump…9'8" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 29 times…30 3/8-inch arm length…8 ¾-inch hands.

CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS

4.43 in the 40-yard dash…1.53 10-yard dash…2.52 20-yard dash…7.22 three-cone drill.

HIGH SCHOOL

Attended South Panola (Miss.) High School, playing football for head coach Ricky Woods…Was a Top 40, All-State and All-Region choice by The Clarion-Ledger…Picked up Mississippi Association of Coaches Class 5A first-team All-State honors as an outside linebacker and was named to the Prep Star All-Region team, which represented the top 275 players…Ranked seventh among strong safeties on the 2003 Max Emfinger Super South Top 200 list…Also rated 19th in Mississippi by Rivals.com and listed as a Top 30 Prep Recruit by the Sun-Herald…Named Player of the Week eight times as a senior and seven times in his junior year…Selected to play in the 2004 Mississippi-Alabama All-Star Classic in Mobile, Alabama…As a senior, Sanford helped the Tigers to a 15-0 record, the Class 5A state championship and a ninth place spot on the USA Today national ranking list…Voted the Most Valuable Player of the 2003 state title tilt and led South Panola to a 14-1 record and state runner-up finish in 2002…During his four-year career, Sanford collected 320 career tackles and 25 quarterback sacks…Recorded 98 tackles, seven sacks, four forced fumbles and three interceptions as a senior, leading a 2003 Tiger defense which allowed only 38 rushing yards per game.

PERSONAL

Criminal Justice major, earning Ole Miss Athletic Director's Honor Roll inclusion in 2007…Joined cousins Toward Sanford, Eddie Strong and Kevin Thomas in playing at Ole Miss, while Peria and John Jerry were high school teammates who also decided to join Sanford on the roster…Eddie Strong and another cousin, Alabama linebacker Dwayne Rudd both went on to play in the National Football League…Son of Shirley and James Taylor...Born Jamarca Deshaun Sanford on 8/27/85...Resides in Batesville, Mississippi.


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