03/08/2013 - 2013 West Texas A&M Pro Day: Representatives from 15 NFL teams gathered at West Texas A&M's pro day, where seven players worked out. Due to windy weather conditions in Canyon, Texas - where West Texas A&M is located - the workout was moved to Amarillo (around 20 miles away) and held inside an indoor soccer facility outfitted with FieldTurf.
Manase Foketi, OT (6-foot-5 1/8, 317 pounds) - Foketi - who was at the NFL Scouting Combine but opted not to run the 40-yard dash - ran the 40 at his pro day in 5.77 and 5.54 seconds. His short shuttle time was 5.12 seconds. He had a 26 1/2-inch vertical jump and an 8-foot-11 broad jump. He stood on his combine numbers in the three-cone drill (8.11 seconds) and lifts (25 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press). While Foketi played offensive tackle for the Buffs, NFL scouts see him more as a guard in the pros. Because of his size, Foketi could be drafted as high as the seventh round. - Gil Brandt, NFL.com
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Technically, Foketi began 2012 still a member of the Kansas State Wildcats' football program, but not by his own choice. The senior left tackle, who missed virtually all of the 2011 season due to injury, had been attempting to transfer for his final season of eligibility, but Kansas State had been unwilling to grant his release.
Foketi was an all-conference performer in his two seasons at Mt. San Antonio College before transferring to Kansas State after the 2009 season and starting all 13 games as a junior left tackle in 2010. He started the first two games of the 2011 season before suffering a tear to his Achilles tendon, ending his year. He was given a medical redshirt, giving him one final year of eligibility.
Foketi, who graduated this past May, didn't participate in spring practice and requested his release from the program, but his application was denied. Kansas State's explanation for their unwillingness to allow him to transfer was provided in their handbook for student-athletes, which states that the school doesn't grant scholarship releases "except for the most compelling of circumstances which place an undue burden on the student-athlete."
Unable to transfer to another D-I program, Foketi wound up playing at West Texas A&M in 2012. Not surprisingly, he dominated at the lower level, grading out at 95% for the season and being named one of three finalists for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award. Foketi was invited to the East-West Shrine Game but after measuring in was unable to practice.
Considering the severity of the 2011 injury, as well as Foketi's issues at Kansas State, he's a prospect whose draft stock won't be finalized until teams get an opportunity to see him up close at the Combine. They'll want to... as he possesses legitimate talent.
STRENGTHS: Much lighter on his feet than his thick build would seem to indicate. Possesses a typical Polynesian build with little muscle definition but good overall weight distribution and surprisingly long arms (34.25"). Eases off the snap in pass protection, showing good depth and balance in his kick-slide.
Has the agility to slide laterally and mirror defenders, as well as the physicality and strength to latch on and control his opponent. Physicality and athleticism translate into the running game, as well as Foketi is an aggressive striker who can rag-doll opponents and looks to intimidate them with pancake blocks when he can.
WEAKNESSES: Only spent one season at the FBS level and operated that year at left tackle for a Wildcats' team that featured a highly mobile quarterback in Colin Klein, thus his ability to pass protect is a bit of a projection.
While surprisingly athletic, does not appear to have the foot speed to remain at left tackle and hasn't played any other position in his collegiate career. Some concerns about maturity given the contentious nature of his exit from Kansas State, a program led by a head coach in Bill Snyder highly regarded by NFL scouts.
Compares to: Marshall Newhouse, OT, Green Bay Packers -- Like Newhouse, Foketi doesn't necessarily look the part of a starting tackle but he's proven surprisingly capable thus far. He may wind up eventually moving inside to guard. Regardless of his ultimate position in the NFL, Foketi has the physical talent to warrant developing and could surprise if he's committed to his craft.