|01-21-2008, 01:27 PM||#1|
Lost In Space
Join Date: Apr 2004
Matt Forte Story
Nice little read- notice his forty time in bold
Forté must prove his NFL value
Tulane RB competing in talented draft class
Sunday, January 20, 2008
By Mike Triplett
Tulane tailback Matt Forté rushed for 2,127 yards last season, the seventh best rushing season in NCAA Division I-A history.
But now he really has to make himself stand out.
In the next three months leading up to the NFL draft, teams will pick him apart, trying to figure out where he fits among one of the deepest running back classes in recent memory.
His first big test will come this week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., where coaches, scouts and general managers will watch him practice and meet with him individually throughout the week, then analyze his play in Saturday's game.
Next month is the NFL combine in Indianapolis, followed by a series of trips to various NFL facilities.
But Forté said he isn't nervous or stressed, just excited.
"It's something that you've looked forward to since you've been playing little league football, and now it's a reality, almost unreal, that you're actually training to go to the NFL," said the Slidell native, who has been preparing for the past month at the Perfect Competition athletic development center in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. "You've got to be focused while you're training. It's not so much pressure. You're used to playing in front of big crowds and things like that. I just need to perform like I know I can."
Early draft projections rate Forté outside of the top 10 among running backs, though those rankings will fluctuate quite a bit after the Senior Bowl and combine.
Forté, however, said he doesn't plan to get caught up in all the magazines and internet sites.
"That's just based on who's publicized the most. They're not the ones doing the picking for the draft," Forté said. "So until a team comes out with an internet site that says, 'We're gonna pick this guy first, then that guy,' then I'll start believing it. All I can do is be myself and believe in myself."
Forté said he'll treat this week "like a job interview.
"I'm going to play football like I know how to play, answer the questions they have about me, and show them the real Matt Forté," he said. "It will be a chance to meet these coaches and general managers up close and personal. I'm going to tell them about me and show them why I'll be good for their team."
For better and for worse, these next few months can be just as important to a player's draft status as his entire college career.
Teams want to learn about a player's character, intelligence and work ethic. And they want to break down each player's natural physical skills.
Tulane Coach Bob Toledo said Forté can only help himself in all of those areas.
He said Forté is quiet and soft-spoken, but he makes an impression when you get to know him. He said his work ethic is tremendous and he stays in great physical shape year-round. And on the field, he said, Forté can be an every-down back who can run and catch the ball out of the backfield.
"There's no question he's already proven his ability to play football. But the more they see him, they'll realize how good he really is," Toledo said. "There are no negatives with Matt Forté. Whoever ends up drafting him is going to be very happy for a long time."
Toledo has often said Forté is one of the best players he has coached in more than 30 years of college coaching. He said Forté reminds him most of former UCLA tailback DeShaun Foster, who was drafted 34th overall by the Carolina Panthers in 2002, only Forté is a little quicker and a better receiver.
"I find it hard to believe he could go beyond the second round," Toledo said.
Perhaps more important than any of his pre-draft exams will be Forté's time in the 40-yard dash at the combine. The 40 time is incredibly important for all draft prospects, but especially tailbacks. It's one of the things they specialize in at Perfect Competition, where Forté is training alongside a group of roughly 35 draft prospects, including Penn State linebacker Dan Connor and Arizona cornerback Antoine Cason.
The program was recommended by Forté's agent, Adisa Barker. Two years ago, another of Barker's clients, tailback Maurice Jones-Drew, had success with it. Forté said he also considered the program run by New Orleans native Tom Shaw in Orlando.
Like many other predraft development facilities, the trainers at Perfect Competition analyze each player's running stride and break down the 40-yard dash from the jump to the "fly zone," then work on technique and muscle development.
Forté said when he first got there, he had to "humble" himself with an initial run that measured around 4.6 seconds. But he hopes to run near the low 4.4s next month.
His trainer, Pete Bommarito, also did a full-body analysis to target Forté's strengths and weaknesses. Forté, who is 6 feet 1, plans to stay around 218 pounds. But he said Bommarito wants to get his body fat count down and maintain lean muscle mass.
"Honestly, what stands out about him is his genetics," Bommarito said. "He has such raw potential. He's an athletic freak. He's really responding to what we've done."
Forté works from about 7 a.m. until 4 or 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, followed by a half-day Saturday. The long days away from home have been difficult, since he has never spent this much time away from friends and family. But he said that's part of the process, too.
"It's all about working hard," Forté said. "You're gonna get out of it what you put into it."
. . . . . . .
Mike Triplett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (504) 826-3405.
|01-21-2008, 02:07 PM||#2|
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wash DC
Like I've mentioned in other places, I really like this kids game. I'll take vision, patience, work ethic, with great size over straight line speed any day. It also looks like he will be available without wheeling and dealing picks away. So Denver can get the help it needs in other areas, and still get a really good back.