DUCASSE READY TO TACKLE NFL LINEMEN
UMASS’ DUCASSE IS A 60-MINUTEMAN
LOOKING AT THE 2010 NFL DRAFT SLEEPERS
MASSACUSETTS LINEMAN HAS NFL SCOUTS DROOLING
By Dave-Te’ Thomas, The NFL Draft Report
For those that have read my scouting reports on NFLdraftscout.com, Cbssportsline.com and NFL.com, you know I pull no punches when it comes to evaluating talent. While the NFL Draft has become the second-biggest media event by the league, outside the Super Bowl, draftniks are always on the lookout for the “hidden talents” in the collegiate ranks. Over the next few months, I will take you on a trip through the NCAA to introduce you to the Rip Van Winkles, the Super Sleepers, the players that may not be well-known to the “draft nation,” but are sure to make their marks in the NFL training camps next year.
By now, many are familiar with the Michael Oher (Baltimore) story, but this year’s version of that remarkable player is Massachusetts offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse. Still a relative neophyte to the game of football, his rise to elite status among 2010 NFL Draft prospects is a story that Hollywood producers would love to get in their hands.
His rise to prominence in the college level was thanks to the keen eye, good character and “adopted father” role that took place between Vlad and his high school coach, Kevin Jones. Through his mentoring, Ducasse has developed a work ethic that would rival any player in the game. His practice habits, training room regimen and playing performance was all due to coach and player developing a relationship that goes beyond the boundaries of a normal football venture.
Everyone needs someone to point a youngster in the right direction. Thanks to coach Jones taking a strong interest in the character before the player, the senior from Massachusetts has set a foundation for what many scouts feel will be a long and fruitful NFL career. Below is a look at what Vlad has accomplished since first putting on a football uniform for the first time at Stamford High School;
VLADIMIR DUCASSE Offensive Guard/Tackle University of Massachusetts Minutemen
#72 6:05.0-333 Stamford, Connecticut Stamford High School
A product of his work ethic and great athleticism, Ducasse is still a relative neophyte as a football player. Much like Tennessee’s Michael Roos, the talented left offensive tackle has little experience on the gridiron, as he did not begin playing the game until arriving at Stamford High School from Haiti, putting on a football uniform for the first time in 2003.
The similarities to Roos are what have drawn NFL scouts to the Massachusetts campus. Ducasse saw limited playing time during his freshman year with the Minutemen, where he began his collegiate career competing at both guard and tackle. As a sophomore, he took over the demanding left tackle position and his dominance in the trenches was evident from the first time he answered the “call to duty.”
Roos, who also emigrated to the United States late in his high school career, went on to earn All-American honors at Eastern Washington and is now regarded as the premier left tackle in the National Football League. After just two seasons as a starter at UMass, many scouting analysts consider Ducasse to be the best offensive lineman in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision ranks, as he earned All-American honors in 2008 and is expected to be one of the top draft prospects at his position entering his final collegiate campaign.
Ducasse grew up in the town of Delmas, Haiti, where he said his father, Delinois, was threatened for his involvement in local politics. His father decided to move and sent Ducasse and one of his three other brothers, McArthur, to live with an uncle in Stamford, as he wanted them to have better educational opportunities. "I was happy and also scared," Ducasse recalled.
While living in Haiti, Ducasse played basketball, but never even saw a football game until arriving at Stamford High School. On the first day of 2003 fall practice, Vladimir, who stood 6:03 and weighed 270 pounds as a sixteen-year old, approached the team’s head football coach, Kevin Jones and said in broken words, "I want to play."
Ducasse credited some of his friends in school for helping to get him on the team. "A lot of kids asked why I wasn't playing football,” he recalled. “I said I play basketball, but I decided to give it a try. Once I got the helmet and pads on and started hitting people, I started to like it a lot. They told me football is an easy sport because you just hit people, but I learned it was not just about hitting people." The football field quickly became another classroom that Ducasse had to try and master.
At Stamford High School, Ducasse started the final twenty games of his career, lining up mostly at offensive guard. He garnered All-State first-team honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and was a first-team All-Fairfield County by the FCIAC Coaches Association. He was also selected to play in the Governor's Cup All-Star Game against Rhode Island prep all-stars.
Ducasse excelled on the frontcourt for the Samford High basketball team. He also lettered in track-and-field, twice winning the league title in the discus while finishing second in the shot put. At the 2006 FCIAC Track Championship, he won the discus championship and gold medal with a toss of 139’0”. He also topped his personal best in the shot put (had a 50’11” throw at the city champion-ship) with a throw of 53’ 8 ¼” in the FIAC finals, as he qualified for the State Class LL track meet in both events.
Still, it would be his “new love,” football, that would see Ducasse follow his older brother to the collegiate ranks (MacArthur attended Fairfield University). After just two seasons as a starter at Stamford, Ducasse was being pursued by several Division I colleges. "As for Vladimir, well, let's just say when he arrived here (from Haiti) in his sophomore year, he didn't even know how to put his shoulder pads on, football coach Kevin Jones recalls. “He didn't know anything about the game of football."
With his work ethic, it did not surprise the SHS coaching staff that Ducasse went from a mere novice to earning a scholarship to a Division I (AA) college. "One thing I learned about Vladimir is that you can't tell him he can't do something," Jones stated. Ducasse was also surprised about all the attention he was receiving. "I never thought of getting a scholarship," he said.
"All I wanted was to work hard on my grades. Then, when coaches told me I could go to college for free, I said okay. I have to thank Coach Jones for all of this. Thanks to him, I learned that you can have some success because you are bigger than everybody else, but there's a lot of different things you have to learn about blocking, where to go. When I started I didn't know what I was doing."
Under Jones, Ducasse progressed to the point that he became a highly effective drive blocker. Prior to reporting to Massachusetts, he spent the past summer getting himself into the best shape possible. "I worked out a lot," Ducasse said."I knew I had to work hard every day." With every weight he lifted, every mile he ran, every bead of sweat that dripped off his face, Ducasse showed that the Minutemen were getting a special player who would grow into the team’s “leader by example.”
Ducasse chose Massachusetts over Maine, Northeastern, Hofstra, Delaware and Buffalo, but his first season at UMass was a “learning experience.” He did not appear on the foot-ball field until the team’s fourth game of the 2006 season, going on to see reserve action, mostly on the left side, behind tackle Matt Austin and guard Nick Diana. He would go on to make his debut vs. Stony Brook, followed by action in each of the William & Mary, Towson and Rhode Island contests.
In 2007, Ducasse started twelve games at left offensive tackle, missing the Towson contest due to an injury. He protected the blindside of the pocket, delivering 83 knockdowns/key blocks that also included fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks. The team ranked 21st in the nation with an average of 248.31 yards per game and finished 12th nationally with a 151.07 passing efficiency rating, thanks to Ducasse registering an 86.83% grade for blocking consistency. He also recovered one fumble and had nine down field blocks that featured at least one runner gaining 100 yards in ten of the twelve games that the UMass left tackle played in.
As a junior, Ducasse was named NCAA Football Championship Subdivision All-American first-team by The NFL Draft Report, adding All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team accolades. He started twelve games at left tackle, as his blocking consistency grade of 91.33% was the highest of any lineman in the FCS ranks. He posted 94 knockdowns/key blocks, leading an offensive line that allowed just six sacks, the second-lowest total by any team in the nation, as the front wall did not yield any sacks in their last five games. The offense finished 26th in the nation, averaging 242.58 aerial yards per game.
Entering his final season, Ducasse is listed as the best offensive lineman at the FCS level, earning All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, a scouting information bureau used by the National Football League. He also picked up preseason All-CAA first-team recognition. Through the team’s first seven games, he registered blocking consistency grades of 90% or better in four contests. He leads the FCS down linemen with twelve touchdown-resulting blocks and his 59 knockdowns/key blocks are highest among the Colonial Athletic Association linemen.
Ducasse has a rare-sized frame, with very long arms, large hands, thick bubble, thighs and calves. He has a barrel chest with broad shoulders, good arm muscle definition with tree-like leg thickness. Despite weighing over 330 pounds, his frame is still developing.
Ducasse shows very nice balance and body control for a player with such a thick frame, reminding some of Carolina’s Jeff Otah. He has the footwork and short area quickness to mirror edge rushers in pass protection and pick up action in space, thanks to improved kick slide agility. He is a good leverage player who works hard to sustain and possesses decent quickness and balance for his position. He is coordinated, showing quick lateral movement to get out in front and lead on traps and pulls, making some teams to also consider him as an offensive guard. He is only on the ground when he overextends and lunges as a drive blocker, but recovers quickly due to his lower body flexibility. He has shown much better quickness in pass protection since the beginning of his senior year and flashes the ability to move his feet working up field. While he may not have great speed, he can accelerate when running and it is his great balance that keeps him on his target longer than players his size usually do on the move…GRADE-6.7
Ducasse is still learning all the techniques of the position, as he is really still a neophyte as far as his experience level, but since early in his junior year, you can see that he is quick to recognize stunts and games. He shows good alertness in pass protection and learns and retains plays well, but is best served when he gets several reps in order to understanding blocking concepts. He keeps his head on a swivel and does a nice job of picking up the action working on the edge, but some teams feel that his size and ability on drive, down, scoop and scramble blocks are better suited for an interior line position. As he has gained experience, he has demonstrated good ability to show ease of movement adjusting to defensive schemes…GRADE-6.0
Ducasse is a well-liked teammate who has an outgoing nature, and performs with good maturity and character. He has no known off-field issues and is called by the coaching staff the “most reliable player” in the program. He moved to the states as a teenager and had literally no football experience before making the grid team as a junior in high school. His mother still resides in Haiti, but he is also very close to his high school coach… GRADE-6.4
Ducasse is the type that will play until the whistle. He shows very good aggression and effort in his blocks. He might struggle at times to keep his pads down, but does a nice job of using his body to absorb the defender, as he is savvy enough to use his size as a weapon. He has taken the initiative to work on all aspects of his game. You don’t see him get over-aggressive on the field, but he does play with good nastiness. He has a strong hand punch and plays with good consistency (only the second conference player to ever register blocking consistency grades of 90% or better six times in a season). He shows good intensity as a blocker and loves the challenge of one-on-one confrontations. He competes just as hard in practices as he does in games…GRADE-6.9
Ducasse is a hard worker in the training room, but does need to work more on his foot work and maintaining a lower pad level to mirror quicker edge rushers. He competes with good mental toughness and takes well to hard coaching. He is a good team-oriented player who is a “balls out” type who is self-motivated and never needs to be pushed. His maturity and work ethic sets an example for the younger players…GRADE-6.4
Ducasse has valid quickness off the snap to reach his blocking point and gain position. He has shown marked improvement moving his feet off the ball and while he protects the inside well, he has enough speed to get to the outside on end-around plays (see 2009 Albany and Stony Brook and 2008 Holy Cross and Bryant games). His quickness is evident by his ability to consistently get off the line with explosion to gain leverage. He flashes a sudden first step, which is rare for a player of his size. He also displays the ability to quickly adjust on the move, doing a nice job when he has to finish or accelerate. What also helps him gain advantage is improved hand placement…GRADE-6.4
Ducasse shows good explosion off the ball, but needs to continue working on playing with a wider base (will sometimes cross his feet on second level blocks). When he gets too narrow, he fails to redirect quickly and can be beaten with an effective cross-over face action…GRADE-6.0
Balance/Stays On Feet
This is his best asset. Ducasse plays on his feet and does a very nice job of working his hips and putting the defender down when working the chase route. Even when he overextends, he has the balance to quickly recover. He uses his hands very effectively to separate and sustain. The only thing he lacked as a sophomore and junior was a bone-jarring hand punch, but in 2009, he has demonstrated much better power shooting his hands in attempts to shock and jolt. You can see his great development in using his hands to gain inside position (see 2009 Kansas State and Stony Brook and 2008 Holy Cross, Texas Tech, Northeastern and New Hampshire games). With his improved quickness, he has no problems trying to gain initial position. On contact, he has that natural size and raw power to sustain and finish. Still, with his ability to adjust on the move, he could see action quicker in the NFL as a guard while continuing to improve his pad level and kick slide, as he is one of the better tackle prospects when it comes to angling wide on end-arounds or stepping laterally to scoop a defender when blocking for the inside running game…GRADE-7.3
Ducasse has shown improvement generating explosion as a hip roller, but when he fails to utilize those skills, he still has enough strength and leg drive to easily move out defenders and open large rush lanes. When he keeps his pads down, he comes off the snap with that explosive first step, but still needs to work on developing better hip fluidity. He creates most of his movement with quickness and his body mass, but thanks to vast improvement with a stronger hand punch, he has been quite successful when trying to knock defenders off the line of scrimmage. Late in games, he will bend more often at the waist than with his knees, but when he locks on, he knows how to use his size and natural power to control the defender though. He might not be the quickest cut blocker, but he can accelerate into the second level to finish…GRADE-6.6
Ducasse has enough lower body strength and mass when he comes off the snap with a flat back, but will be even more effective once he learns to keep his pads down and roll his hips better. He has the quickness and blocking angle technique to make the cut off at the second level. He might overextend some, but can recover and drive the defender off the ball. Since the beginning of 2008, he has been very consistent in driving his man off the ball and with his size and power, he has no problem when trying to wash down and seal the lane. His great balance and improved footwork allows him to sustain and finish. The thing that impresses me the most is that with added experience, he is playing with tremendous aggressiveness on the run (see 2009 Albany, Rhode Island and Stony Brook games). He excels at working the combo block, thanks to above average body control and on contact, he stays with his man, showing the intensity to sustain and finish. He is one of the most underrated incline blockers in the 2010 draft, as few can execute the down, scoop and reach blocks that he has produced the last two years…GRADE-7.5
Ducasse has become very comfortable and controlled in his pass protection set. He plays with good awareness and has shown marked improvement using his hands (keeps them inside his frame rather that take wild arm swipes). He demonstrates great balance and body control, along with the footwork to slide and readjust to edge rushers than he did earlier in his career. He is very stout taking on the bull rush and stunts, as he now sets with a good, strong base to anchor. Every game, he demonstrates better hand usage and arm extension. His quickness and kick slide allow him to make reach blocks and he certainly has the balance and feet to mirror, doing a nice job of neutralizing counter moves. He has the base and hand usage to compensate for a lack of ideal knee bend. When he gets his hands into a defender, he will stun his opponent. His long arms and ability to rest his hands consistently lets him keep edge rushers at bay…GRADE-7.7
One reason some pro scouts consider Ducasse as an offensive guard prospect is that he has very good body control and balance on pulls and traps. He is best on long pulls, as he accelerates quickly in space and has his head on a swivel to pick up secondary targets. His change of direction agility lets him reach the cut-off point (when he keeps his base wide and pads down). You can see on film the ease of movement when adjusting down the line of scrimmage (see 2009 Albany and 2008 Northeastern and Bryant games)…GRADE-6.8
Adjust on Linebacker Downfield
On roll-outs, Ducasse gets into the linebacker quickly. When he makes contact, he can wheel and cut the defender off. His feet are nimble for a player of his size and he rarely misses cuts while consistently finishing. He makes good adjustments in space and has shown marked improvement at taking proper blocking angles in the second level. He does a fine job of keeping his feet in space, displaying above average balance and the ability to adjust in attempts to handle counter moves. He can throw the cut block with the best of them, especially at this level of competition, as he has the vision, along with solid effort to adjust on the move when blocking down field…GRADE-6.5
Use of Hands/Punch
Ducasse has that raw, natural upper body strength, long arm extension and large hands that allow him to stun and jolt any defender, if he gets them into the opponent’s chest. He keeps his hands active, doing a nice job when attempting to lock out and replace, as he has become a strong puncher. He gets good hand placement and movement working in-line and has the confidence to use those hands and strength with authority to control and adjust to the defender. He has greatly improved his timing when throwing his hands, as experience has allowed him to develop raw power and aggressiveness in this area. He uses his long arms very well to sustain blocks and shut down the edge rush. He does not hold as much as he should, but he does move his feet constantly to gain position. All he needs to be exceptional here is to flash more strength behind his punch…
With each passing game, you can see the improvement and development in Ducasse’s overall game. He slides with very good balance and control and is alert to stunts and blitzes, as he works hard to reach the cut-off and set points, along with knowing when he has to readjust vs. counter moves. He has become very effective at knowing when to slide off to block. He is very effective reaching the cut-off thanks to his body control, quick feet and above average balance. He rarely gets caught leaning too much and is light on his feet, just like a dancing bear. However, he will cross his feet a bit when trying to change direction heading up field (made good improvement in this area prior to 2009), causing him to look a bit heavy-footed when moving laterally, at times. He can chip block with the best of them at the second level and knows how to use his massive frame to push and create rush lanes…GRADE-6.6
JEFF OTAH-Carolina…While some teams consider Ducasse a better guard prospect than at tackle, he has a lot of the same God-given athletic ability, along with the relative inexperience that Otah possessed entering college. He is a quality road grader, but those that have doubts that he can handle the speedier edge rushers as a left tackle need to note that on 1,842 offensive plays, he’s allowed just one-half a quarterback sack. Whether he begins his career as a guard or tackle, it is evident that with patient coaching, he can surpass the success Otah has had since entering the NFL.
Since his sophomore season (31 games as a starter), Ducasse has registered 236 knock-downs/key blocks during that span…44 of those blocks (18.64%) resulted in touchdowns by Massachusetts, as he also posted 27 of those blocks (11.44%) down field…In his 31 games as a starter, the Minutemen had at least one ball carrier rush for 100 yards in 20 of those contests…In 2008, he led the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision offensive linemen, posting a blocking consistency grade of 91.33%...Since taking over the left offensive tackle position, Ducasse recorded an 89.68% grade for blocking consistency, the highest grade of any lineman in the Football Championship Subdivision during that three-year span…Also produced a solo tackle as a junior (vs. Delaware) and recovered a fumble as a sophomore (vs. Rhode Island)…As a junior, he became the 11th Minuteman offensive lineman to earn All-American honors, joining Bob Foote (1961, first team), Paul Graham (1963, first team), Ned Deane(1975, first team), Bruce Kimball (1977 and 1978, first team), Paul Mayberry (1990, first team), Bill Durkin (1993, first team), Mike Wynne (1999, first team), Maikel Miret (2002, third team), Alex Miller (2006, first team) and Matt Austin (2006, third team and 2007, first team)…In 2008, he received blocking consistency grades of 90% or better in six contests, setting a Colonial Athletic Association/Atlantic Ten Conference season-record (tied Northern Iowa’s Chad Rinehart’s 2005 total, the most by any FCS/ Division 1-AA down lineman in the last fifteen years)…Is the only UMass offensive lineman to post three touchdown-resulting blocks in a game more than once in a season (accomplished that feat in both 2008 – vs. Holy Cross and Bryant, and again in 2009 – vs. Albany and Stony Brook)…Since becoming a starter 31 games ago, Ducasse has registered two or more touchdown-resulting blocks fifteen times (five times in 2007, six times in 2008 and four times in 2009)…Leads all of college football’s active offensive line-men with blocking consistency grades of 90% or better in 15-of-31 starting assignments.
2009 Best Games Albany, Rhode Island, Stony Brook, Delaware, New Hampshire.
2009 Worst Games None.
2008 Best Games Holy Cross, James Madison, Northeastern, Bryant, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Hofstra.
2008 Worst Games Albany, Richmond.
2007 Best Games Holy Cross, Maine, William & Mary, New Hampshire, Hofstra, Fordham.
2007 Worst Games Boston College, Northeastern, Rhode Island.
Midseason All-American and All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team selection by The NFL Draft Report…That scouting service lists Ducasse as the best offensive line prospect in the Football Championship Subdivision ranks and the most underrated offensive lineman eligible for the 2010 NFL Draft…Impressed NFL scouts with his added bulk and improved quickness during spring camp, as he played the season at 333 pounds and was recently timed at 5.18 in the 40-yard dash (5.33 electronically)…Through the team’s first seven games, the starting left offensive tackle graded 91.71% for blocking consistency, as he received grades of 90% or better in four of those contests… Produced 59 key blocks/ knockdowns with twelve touchdown-resulting blocks and seven more blocks down field for a unit that ranks 27th in the nation and second in the CAA in total offense (383.0 ypg), 23rd in the FCS in passing offense (245.86 ypg) and 31st in scoring, averaging 28.14 points per game, as he leads a front wall that ranks 17th in the country and second in the league in fewest sacks allowed, with an average of 1.14 sacks per game…Ducasse’s twelve touchdown-resulting blocks lead all offensive linemen in the FCS ranks.
2009 GAME ANALYSIS
Kansas State…The offense struggled in a tough 21-17 loss, but through no fault of their left offensive tackle, as Ducasse had a key block on that unit’s only touchdown drive and finished the day with seven knockdowns…In the third quarter, his kick-out block on nose guard Raphael Guidry allowed tailback Tony Nelson to run for 10 yards or real estate. Two plays later, Ducasse utilized a backside block on linebacker Alex Hrebec as Nelson scooted by for an 18-yard pick-up…On the team’s next series, he led the charge on an end-around sweep during Nelson’s 8-yard scamper to the KSU 10. On second-&-goal, his slip block forced defensive tackle Jeff Fitzgerald to the ground, giving new QB Kyle Havens time to lob a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Krevis…Head to Head Competition-DE#90-Eric Childs (6:03-257)-One solo tackle…Offensive Impact-Ducasse recorded seven knockdowns, one down field block and one touchdown-resulting block, grading 88%...Helped the team gain 110 yards with no touchdowns on 26 carries (4.23 ypc), complete 10-of-34 passes for 102 yards and one score and generate 212 total yards on 60 plays (3.53 yards per attempt).
Albany…The offense got back on track, generating 302 of their 473 yards over the left side of their offensive line, as Ducasse simply dominated, posting seven key blocks that included three touchdown-resulting blocks and a field goal for the Minutemen in a 44-7 rout…The left tackle showed off his raw power by clobbering defensive end Tony Sparano with a drive block on a 2-yard touchdown run by tailback Tony Nelson early in the first quarter…Midway through the second frame, he teamed with left guard Josh Samuda to scoop block rush end Mike Kelly, allowing QB Kyle Havens the time to uncork a 67-yard touchdown bomb to Victor Cruz…His trap block on Sparano cleared the way for a third-&-2 run by Nelson that kept a second quarter drive alive until UMass settled for a 37-yard field goal…In the third stanza, he trap block took down defensive tackle Zach Gallo on a 22-yard toss from Havens to Julian Talley that set up the QB’s 3-yard touchdown toss to Cruz for a 27-7 lead…Jon Hernandez followed Ducasse around left end for a 12-yard run that led to Hernandez capping the 62-yard, 9-play series with a 1-yard scoring burst…Ducasse would “call it a day” after delivering a crunching fold block on linebacker Chris Simpson that saw Hernandez rush up the crease for a 58-yard touchdown jaunt…Head to Head Competition-DE#97-Tony Sparano (5:11-252)-Six assisted tackles…Offensive Impact-Ducasse recorded seven knockdowns, two down field blocks and three touchdown-resulting blocks, as he also set up two other touchdown drives and a field goal with his key blocks, grading 98%...Helped the team gain 189 yards with three touchdowns on 46 carries (4.11 ypc), complete 20-of-33 passes for 284 yards and two scores and generate 473 total yards on 79 plays (5.99 yards per attempt).
Rhode Island…Facing one of the CAA’s quickest rush ends, Victor Adesanya, Ducasse was more than up to the challenge, delivering nine knockdowns with two touchdown-resulting blocks to lead the way for an offense that amassed 491 yards…He set the tone on the game’s first play from scrimmage, leading an end-around that saw tailback Tony Nelson pick up 11 yards, setting the tone for Kyle Havens to cap that 12-play, 67-yard possession with a 4-yard scoring pass to Chris Zardas…Havens used a reach block by his left tackle to flip a 5-yard touchdown toss to Victor Cruz at the start of the second frame…Later in that quarter, Ducasse opened a hole for a 20-yard run by Nelson on a third-&-1 snap, keeping alive a 71-yard, 10-play series before the left tackle flattened Adesanya on Nelson’s 3-yard touchdown run…Head to Head Competition-DE#91-Victor Adesanya (6:04-239)-Four tackles (1 solo)…Offensive Impact-Ducasse recorded nine knockdowns, one down field block and two touchdown-resulting blocks, as he also set up one other touch-down drive and a field goal with his key blocks, grading 93%...Helped the team gain 162 yards with one touchdown on 39 carries (4.15 ypc), complete 22-of-30 passes for 329 yards and two scores and generate 491 total yards on 69 plays (7.12 yards per attempt).
Stony Brook…Despite being penalized twice, Ducasse shook off those miscues and made up for them with three touchdown-resulting blocks among his eight knockdowns to help UMass pile up 500 yards in a 44-17 triumph…Like he did in the previous game, the team’s great success on their game-opening play from scrimmage was the result of the left tackle using a reach block on linebacker Carl Teague to keep the opponent away from Kyle Havens on the QB’s 49-yard seam pass to Jeremy Horne. Ducasse later ended that 6-play, 76-yard drive with an “old school” scramble block that saw Chris Zardas convert a third-&-goal handoff into a 3-yard touchdown run…Later in the first quarter, Zardas used a chop block by his left tackle for an 11-yard run. Ducasse was then penalized for an illegal procedure, but made up for it with a log block that had Jon Hernandez following the 330-pounder for a 3-yard touchdown burst…A face mask penalty by Ducasse nullified Havens’ 4-yard pass to Jon Hernandez in the third stanza…Later in that quarter, on third-&-goal, the left tackle took down defensive end Michael Marino to clear the way for a 4-yard touch-down run by Zardas…Head to Head Competition-DE#51-Michael Marino (6:02-292)-One assisted tackle…Offensive Impact-Ducasse recorded eight knockdowns, no down field blocks and three touchdown-resulting blocks, but was also penalized twice, grading 94%...Helped the team gain 241 yards with five touchdowns on 39 carries (5.24 ypc), complete 12-of-25 passes for 259 yards and no scores and generate 500 total yards on 71 plays (7.04 yards per attempt).
Delaware…The ground game failed to materialize; gaining a season-low 32 yards on 21 carries that also featured two costly turnovers via fumbles and another on an interception, but Ducasse delivered a season-high ten key blocks/knockdowns, including two bone-jarring shots on two fourth quarter touchdown drives in a 43-27 loss…The team’s only scoring in the first half came on a late first quarter 51-yard field goal that was set up by the left tackle clearing a rush lane on second-&-3 that was used by Tony Nelson for a 4-yard run and with Ducasse taking down rush end John Higginson on QB Kyle Havens’ 14-yard toss to Jeremy Horne that got the ball to the Blue Hens’ 36-yard line before that 8-play drive stalled…Late in the third stanza, Nelson followed his left tackle on third-&-1 for a 5-yard gain and a first down. The possession continued into the fourth quarter, where Ducasse flattened Higginson with a hand punch that gave Havens time to lob a 4-yard touchdown pass to Andrew Krevis, ending a 64-yard, 12-play series…With backup QB Scott Woodward replacing Havens, the Minutemen put together one last ditch scoring drive, as Ducasse’s scramble block saw him lock on to Higginson, pushing the Blue Hen into linebacker Andrew Harrison as Woodward fired a third-&-3 20-yard touchdown toss to receiver Aaron Fears that concluded an 8-play, 65-yard possession…Record Watch-The game marked the fourth straight contest that Ducasse had delivered at least two touch-down-resulting blocks (only active offensive lineman in the FCS ranks to register such a feat)…Head to Head Competition-DE#53-John Higginson (6:02-252)-No tackles…Offensive Impact-Ducasse recorded ten knockdowns, no down field blocks and one touchdown-resulting block, while coming up with timely blocks that led to one other touchdown and a field goal, grading 95%...Helped the team gain 32 yards with no touchdowns on 21 carries (1.52 ypc), complete 28-of-44 passes for 325 yards and three scores and generate 357 total yards on 65 plays (5.49 yards per attempt).
FCS All-American first-team choice by The NFL Draft Report, adding honorable mention from The Sports Network…All-Colonial Athletic Association first-team pick…Started twelve games at the demanding left offensive tackle, leading the FCS down linemen with a career-high 91.33% grade for blocking consistency, as he also led the FCS ranks with 18 touchdown-resulting blocks…Registered at least a 90% grade in six contests, including a perfect 100% vs. Holy Cross (only FSC lineman to record a 100% grade in a game since the 1990 season)…Had multiple touchdown-resulting blocks in six of the twelve games that he appeared in, the most by any FCS offensive lineman in 2008… Ducasse posted eleven down field blocks and was penalized just twice on 749 offensive plays… Leader of a front wall that led the league and ranked second in the nation, allowing just six quarter-back sacks for losses of 38 yards (UMass did not give up any sacks in their five contests), as the unit gained at least 400 yards in total offense five times during the course of the campaign…Also posted a solo tackle vs. Delaware.
Super Sleeper Team and All-CAA first-team selection by NFLDraftScout.com…Started twelve games at left offensive tackle, sitting out the Towson clash…Helped the front wall hold the opposition to only 17 quarterback sacks for losses totaling 108 yards, as Ducasse graded 86.83% for blocking consistency, leading the conference and ranking fourth in the FCS ranks with fourteen touchdown-resulting blocks…His pass protection skills saw the Minutemen average 248.31 yards per game passing, as the left tackle recorded nine down field blocks for a running game that scored nineteen times on the ground…Also recovered a fumble in the Rhode Island contest…Posted a blocking consistency grade of 90% or better in five contests, including a season-best 96% mark vs. New Hampshire.
CAMPUS AGILITY TESTS
5.18 in the 40-yard dash (hand-held)…5.33 in the 40-yard dash (electronically)…1.75 10-yard dash…3.03 20-yard dash…4.73 20-yard shuttle…7.44 three-cone drill…30-inch vertical jump…9’3” broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times…425-pound bench press…
Attended Stamford (Ct.) High School, playing football for head coach Kevin Jones…Was named the recipient of the 2005 Aswad Tonge Black & Orange Award, given to the team’s Most Valuable Player in the school’s winter and spring workouts. The award bears the name of a former teammate, Aswad Tonge, who would have graduated in 2004. Oz, as he was affectionately called, passed away on June 15, 2003. The winner of this award has shown the same dedication that Oz showed in his pre-season preparation…Started the final twenty games of his career, lining up mostly at offensive guard… Garnered All-State first-team honors from the Connecticut High School Coaches Association and was a first-team All-Fairfield County by the FCIAC Coaches Association…Selected to play in the Governor's Cup All-Star Game against Rhode Island prep all-stars…While he started mostly on offense, Ducasse also competed as a defensive lineman and on special teams… Recorded 18 tackles (12 solos) as a senior…Some of his better games that year was a four-tackle effort on defense while coming up with touchdown-resulting blocks on a 74-yard pass play from Donald James to Chris Patterson and on Patterson’s 18-yard run vs. Danbury…Made three solo tackles while registering touchdown-resulting blocks on a 10-yard run by Patterson and a 1-yard punge by QB Brendan Salvatore vs. Bridgeport Central, adding four tackles (3 solos) vs. Staples and two touchdown-resulting blocks on carries of 73 yards by Patterson and 38 yards by Alex Joseph vs. Trinity Catholic…As a junior, he added five tackles and also blocked a pair of field goals – one each in the Bridgeport and Norwalk contests…Clobbered rush end Steve Guynn on Salvatore’s 57-yard scoring pass to Ken Fersner vs. New Canaan…Took down two defenders on a 67-yard touchdown toss from David Rich to Fersner in the Westhill clash…Excelled on the front court for head coach James Moriarty as a junior and for coach Scott Derosier as a senior while lettering on the Samford High basketball team…Also lettered in track-and-field, twice winning the league title in the discus while finishing second in the shot put…At the 2006 FCIAC Track Championship, he won the discus championship and gold medal with a toss of 139’0”… Topped his personal best in the shot put (had a 50’11” throw at the city champion-ship) with a throw of 53’ 8 ¼” in the FIAC finals, as he qualified for the State Class LL track meet in both events.
African-American Studies…Son of Delinois Ducasse, who still resides in Haiti...Guardians are his aunt and uncle, Virginia and Lezanoro Ducasse...Moved to the United States with one of his brothers, McArthur (has another brother, Jeffrey and a sister, Gemima), in 2002...Born Vladimir Ducasse on 10/15/87 in Port Au Prince, Haiti...Resides in Stamford, Connecticut.
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