Fuller is committed to play for Frank Beamer and the Virginia Tech Hokies, and he's easily the must-see prospect in their 2013 class.
What is it that makes Fuller such a highly ranked prospect? What does he need to work on to really have success at the next level?
Here's my scouting report on the 5-star cornerback:
- Name: Kendall Fuller
- Hometown: Olney, Maryland
- School: Our Lady Of Good Counsel
- Position: Cornerback
- Height: 5'11'' (Rivals)
- Weight: 189 lbs. (Rivals)
- 40-Yard Dash: 4.4 (Rivals)
- Rankings: 5-star (Rivals), 5-star (247Sports), 4-star (Scout.com), 4-star (ESPN Recruiting Nation)
Fuller is a player that can excel in all three phases of the game—offense defense and special teams—but he's been recruited to be a corner for Virginia Tech.
He has very good football speed and above average athleticism for the position. He displays good leaping ability and concentration which allows him to high-point the ball. He also is extremely aware as a defender, and that is what causes him to stand out. I attribute a lot of this to his abilities as a receiver on offense. He appears to have a natural football instinct, and he obviously understands what a receiver is trying to do, which allows him to counteract it as a defender.
Fuller is also a physical cornerback, which will be very beneficial at the next level. He uses his hands to get off blocks and isn't afraid to fly down to the line of scrimmage against the run.
Overall, Fuller is a very complete football player. He's much more than just a good corner, but that's what allows him to be elite at the position.
The one glaring negative that stood out to be with Fuller is his backpedal, or lack thereof. In his highlights you'll see a lot of him almost shuffling backwards with his back to the sideline. This is obviously an outside leverage technique he's being coached to do, but at the college level he can and will be exploited if he doesn't have an impeccable backpedal. Lack of repetition there may hurt him.
Notice in the picture below how he's defending this route. He's almost hopping or shuffling backwards on an angle with his back to the sideline and eyes inside.
While it's an effective way to keep a corner's eyes inside and effectively keep routes inside as highlighted by the green line, all it takes is a quick double move or even just a much faster receiver to throw Fuller off. If he bites on an inside route, he'll have a harder time flipping his hips and running with a deep route because his feet aren't positioned to go either way. He'll also have a tougher time sticking his foot and breaking on a play. Trouble routes are displayed in red.
This is not to say that he can't backpedal, because I'm sure he can, but a lot of his film featured this technique, which leads me to believe that it was prominently used and ingrained into his technique.
Better, quicker and more skilled receivers will trip up a corner with their own footwork at the college level. If there was a negative to talk about with Fuller, this would be a place of improvement that I would stick on as a coach.
If you could rank Fuller...
Fuller displays all the tools that would lead one to believe that he can be an elite corner. His athleticism will make him very effective in Virginia Tech's secondary, and he'll be able to play strong against the pass or run.
My questions regarding his backpedal should be answered. Like I said, it just appears to be a conservative technique that his high school uses, and he's athletic enough to be able to pull off any technique, so getting into the program and working with the coaches should be incredibly beneficial for the 5-star corner.
Fuller is going to be one of the better cornerbacks in the ACC, and he'll be a great player for Frank Beamer and the Hokies.