The Scout Team
Featuring – Emory Hunt, Football Gameplan.
Emory Hunt, @FBallGameplan, known affectionately around the scouting community as the Czar of the Playbook, is CEO and Founder of Football Gameplan.com. He is a member of the AFCA, FWAA, NFF, BCA, PFWA, and is the author of the highly popular “Stiff Arming Football Myths”, available on the website. Emory has made a name for himself covering all levels of football, and has been scouting Junior College players for over 5 years. Having seen Rasul Douglas play live on several occasions, there is no better independent source for idea on Douglas’ potential than the Czar of the Playbook.
Please enjoy The Scout Team Part 2: Emory Hunt on Rasul Douglas.
Emory thanks so much for your time. I discovered your work a little over 2 years ago when I was directed to your site while looking for analysis of Pat White and the Edmonton Eskimos, I’m glad to see you’ve still got a soft spot for some Mountaineers.
Thanks Jeff, I remember. Honestly, I’ve got a soft spot for all football. I really enjoy working the lower levels and watching the players develop.
That is evident in your work, and it’s what brings us here today. You ready to get started?
I sure am. Fire away.
Rasul Douglas is next in the long line of high profile JUCO recruits to find their way to Morgantown. Like all programs across the country, WVU has had mixed success. Lately, though, the Mountaineers have hit the jackpot in Bruce Irvin and Kevin White. In your experience, what is something most successful JUCO to Division 1 transfers have in common?
A balance of on the field skill and off the field maturity. A lot of these guys found themselves in JUCO because of a variety of issues, which could be physical development or classroom struggles – they face different challenges then your standard freshman signee. If they can wrangle all those responsibilities – learning the higher level of football, getting to work in the classroom, and being positive in the community – it seems to propel them to success. Stability is key for a JUCO transfer.
How did Douglas first catch your eye?
The first thing that stood out was how physically imposing he is as a defensive back. He is big and he can run. Playing at powerhouse Nassau C.C., you expect a guy to have talent, but when I saw him, right away I said “this guy is an NFL player”. I mean, you are not going to miss a 6’3 200 pound cornerback doing the things he can do. He can run, he is strong, and he is versatile. I believe he could play Free Safety if asked. The Mountaineers got a good one here. This is a Blue Chip player that might have been the best JUCO defensive back in the country.
How confident are you that Douglas can contribute year 1 in the Big 12?
Well, right off, he’s a JUCO transfer. Those guys don’t come to redshirt. Secondly, and specific to Douglas, he chose West Virginia, in my opinion, because there was a chance to play right away. There is a chance for him start opposite of Worley, and that is no surprise. At the very least he will absolutely be a depth player, as he has the size and movement skills to play all over the field.
Do you believe he could play in the slot?
I do, yes. Slot is a challenge, definitely, but it comes down to picking a side. You cannot give a Slot WR a two way go. Douglas is strong enough to seal off one side, while long enough to play well in pursuit. He is also a very strong tackler, and physical enough to assist in the run game, from the slot, if needed.
Defensive Coordinator Tony Gibson relies heavily on 0 coverage at times – and you mention Douglas’ physicality -has he shown the ability to play with the level of physicality that such a scheme requires?
Absolutely. It was the game against Georgia Military last year that showed me that. In that contest, the Lions were able to leave him on one side of the field without safety help over top and he dominated. Every time he was tested, which was rare, it resulted in either a pass breakup or an INT. His ability to get into the wide receiver before he was ever able to even get into his route was startling.
Are there any advantages or disadvantages, specific to the Big 12’s literally wide open style of play, that a cornerback of Douglas’ size can expect to encounter?
Well, as far as advantages go, one of the most popular concepts out of those wide spreads, Baylor’s specifically, is the slant. A guy with Douglas’ size and length can play that route much more conservatively than smaller cornerbacks. He can sit back, watch the play develop, and then close on the slant much more quickly than the average player – all without giving up anything over the top. Smaller players must take away the slant at the snap, opening up the opportunity to get beat outside, and deep. The disadvantage is actually pretty interesting, and I’m curious to see how it develops. Douglas is physical. He uses his hands and is not afraid to mix it up. In the Big 12, every cornerback is on an island. I am waiting to see how physical they let him play. I do believe there is a chance Pass Interference becomes an issue because of how the game is now geared toward the offense having success. He needs to be very disciplined and technically sound to avoid earning a reputation, and some quick flags.
The Mountaineers are likely to kickoff the season with Darryl Worley, Karl Joseph, KJ Dillon, Dravon Henry, and the winner of the competition Douglas is part of. Do you share the optimism coming out of Morgantown about the potential of that unit?
Yes, I do share the optimism – but I would be shocked if Douglas is not part of that group. This is a unique player. He is an NFL talent that wanted to show the league he can play in space. Well, at WVU, and in the Big 12, he will certainly have that opportunity. I truly believe Douglas and the Mountaineers are in for something special. As for the rest of the group, it starts with Joseph. I wrote about him coming out of high school and he has not disappointed. He’s a really good football player. Combine that with teammates that hit, run sideline to sideline, and are versatile within that 3-3-5 – and I think WVU could be in the upper tier of secondaries in the nation.
So, in your opinion – Douglas is the Mountaineer’s starting cornerback next year?
If he takes care of his business, yes, definitely. He is a starter, an impact player, and an NFL prospect.
Emory, that is going to make a lot of people very happy. Thanks so much for your time; I hope we can do it again soon!
My pleasure Jeff.