Nick O'Malley of the Springfield Republican has a story on Vladimir Ducasse who signed with the Minnesota Vikings after playing the last four seasons with the New York Jets. Ducasse was a 2010 second-round draft pick following his career at UMass.
Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal has a story on Vladimir Ducasse and his recent success with the Jets who are using him exclusively in "Jumbo Formations" where he plays as a third tackle/tightend.
Mike Reiss of ESPNBoston.com has a Q&A session with James Ihedigbo as the New England Patriots head to the New York Jets on Sunday. Ihedigbo started his NFL career with the Jets and will face fellow Minuteman Vladimir Ducasse his former teammate in New York.
Former University of Massachusetts and Amherst Regional standout James Ihedigbo made the New England Patriots final roster as the Patriots cut two-time Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather to trim their roster to the limit of 53 on Saturday.
Ihedigbo was one of five Minutemen to survive cutdown day. Victor Cruz, who is expected to see regular playing time in the New York Giants wide receiver rotation after missing most of last year with an injury, made the roster out of camp for the second straight season. Jeromy Miles, who started last year on the Cincinnati Bengals practice squad before being elevated during the season, made the 53-man roster out of camp this year.
Jeremy Cain starts his sixth NFL season and his third with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He's primarily a long snapper.
Vlad Ducasse begins his second season as a reserve guard for the Jets.
"In the future, Vlad is going to be a much better football player than me," Matt Slauson said last week at Jets camp. "God-gifted, just a freak. If he knew the in's and out's of the playbook like (a veteran), he'd be an All Pro."
According to the Jets Insider, Vladimir Ducasse will be switched to tackle this year after getting most of his reps at guard last season. That is reflected in a preseason depth chart on New York Sports Today which lists Ducasse as the No. 2 left tackle.
New York Jets GM and UMass alum Mike Tannenbaum was on Ruocco and Lundberg on ESPN Radio 1050 in New York on Tuesday talking about Jets training camp and several player personnel topics. Among those, Tannenbaum pointed out former UMass lineman Vladimir Ducasse as someone that could surprise everyone this season and also spoke about the contract situation with former Minuteman and free agent safety James Ihedigbo. Follow the link above and go to the 8:00 mark for Ducasse and 8:45 for Ihedigbo.
New York Jets linebacker Bart Scott is quoted as saying the NFL lockout is actually helping some veteran players because they can focus on preparing their bodies better than they can during a normal offseason.
Scott said one Jets veteran, second-year offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, is an example.
"Vlad Ducasse is ripped up right now," Scott said of his sometime training partner in New Jersey. "I've watched Vlad on the inclines with almost 400 pounds and he's worked off all that baby fat. All gone. He's working ridiculous. He's lean. He's 345 pounds. If I can say a lean 345, he's a lean 345."
The Stanford Times has a good story on Vladimir Ducasse and his journey so far with the New York Jets. The article looks at his transition to the NFL along with how the lock out has affected the players so far this summer.
If you had the chance to ask a professional football player one question, what would it be? The 100 kids who met Vladimir Ducasse and Alex Joseph at the Stamford YMCA on Friday afternoon asked the athletes for their opinion on Justin Bieber's music and whether they knew LeBron James.
It was impossible to miss the close friendship between the two Stamford High School graduates. They constantly made jokes at the other's expense and playfully shoved each other around.
"Vladdy was my little brother," Joseph, a linebacker with the San Francisco 49ers, said of the two back in high school. This got the kids to laugh because even at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds, Joseph looks tiny next to the 6-foot-5 Ducasse, who weighs in at 325 pounds.
The two explained the importance of having good friends and told how it helped them reach their goals on and off the football field.
Several reports today on the New York Jets have them bringing back Damien Woody to play right tackle because the coaching staff has not been able to work with Vladimir Ducasse during the offseason due to the lockout.
Chris Herring of the Wall Street Journal has a piece on the New York Jets and several players, including Vladimir Ducasse, who have headed to Boca Raton, Fla., to hold informal workouts because of the NFL lockout.
...entering his second year with the Jets, (Ducasse) said workouts are critical for young players. "We're still trying to learn everything. I see this as my chance to get ahead and to learn how to avoid the mistakes I made last year," he said Tuesday while working out at the TEST Football Academy camp.
Jets LB Bart Scott and OL Vladimir Ducasse are planning to be in Miami next week to work out with a group of Dolphins in what is being billed as a "Lockout Camp." In reality, it's a gathering of clients from the TEST Football Academy, which has facilities in Boca Raton, Fla., and Martinsville, N.J. Scott and Ducasse have been regulars this offseason at the Martinsville location.
Scott and Ducasse will be joined by Dolphins Channing Crowder, Randy Starks, Benny Sappand rookie RB Daniel Thomas, according to The Star-Ledger of Newark. Scott and Crowder are two of the most notorious trash talkers in the league, so that should be interesting. Crowder is best remembered for his war of words with Rex Ryan in 2009.
The players will work out for four days, spending an hour in the weight room, followed by position-specific drills on the field. The players reportedly will pay their own way to Florida; the sessions will take place on the campus of Florida Atlantic.
With the release of veteran Damien Woody this offseason, the competition for starting jobs along the right side of the offensive line is wide open. A second lineman out of the UMASS, Ducasse has shed eight pounds this offseason working his way down to a spry and limber 317. Ducasse was quick to credit the training program developed by trainers at TEST Sports Clubs.
"I'm doing everything: working on strength, speed and agility and trying to gain more flexibility," Ducasse told GWR. "We are doing exercises over and over again until it becomes muscle memory."
Rich Cimini of ESPN New York.com has a look at the New York Jets offensive line heading into the 2011 season. He writes a lot about UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse, who is expected to start this season.
The microscope will be focused intensely on Ducasse, who attempts to replace the popular Damien Woody as the starting right tackle. Ducasse has a lot stacked against him -- virtually no experience, new position, small-school background -- but the Jets' brass believes he can get it done.
According to ESPN New York, the Jets have moved UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse to right guard.
The NFL off-season is filled with uncertainty, but one thing we do know: Though they haven't made any public announcements, the Jets have decided to move second-year offensive linemanVladimir Ducasse to right tackle. That, of course, could impact the future of incumbentDamien Woody.
Ducasse, a second-round pick from UMass, played in only two games as a rookie, mop-up appearances. The organization talked him up after the draft, claiming he would battle Matt Slauson for the starting job at left guard. Ducasse, overwhelmed by the position change (he was a left tackle in college) and the speed of the NFL, never mounted a serious challenge. He was inactive for 11 games.
At 6-5, 325, Ducasse has the size to play right tackle. The question is whether he has enough agility to hold up in pass protection. Because of his raw power, he has the potential to be a terrific strong-side run blocker.
UMass alums with the New York Jets including safety James Ihedigbo, offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse, general manager Mike Tannebaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen saw their football season end on Sunday with a 24-19 loss to the Steelers. Here are a few stories with mentions of Ihedigbo, who received much TV time. Ducasse was also shown on the sidelines during the game.
The New York Jets and their UMass alums are off to the AFC Championship game after the green and white pulled off the 28-21 upset win at New England. General Manager Mike Tannenbaum, assistant GM Scott Cohen along with players James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse all earned degrees from UMass. Ihedigbo served as a team captain for the game in carrying out a No. 90 Dennis Byrd jersey. Coach Rex Ryan had invited former defensive end Byrd to address the players at the team hotel Saturday night to convey to them the urgency of seizing the opportunity that was ahead of them.
The Newark Star-Ledger has a feature story on how UMass has so many connections with the New York Jets.
Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and assistant general manager Scott Cohen are both graduates of UMass. In recent years, the addition of guard Vladimir Ducasse and safety James Ihedigbo, also Minutemen, further advanced a pipeline that seems to grow by the year.
With the final day of the NFL regular-season here, UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse is expected to see the most playing time of his young career with the New York Jets as they take on the Buffalo Bills with a playoff spot secured. The game kicks off at 1 p.m. Fellow Jet and UMass alum James Iheidgbo is out with an injury. Here are a few stories mentioning Ducasse and his additional time on the offensive line.
Other UMass alums in action including Jeromy Miles with the Cincinnati Bengals in their final game against the Baltimore Ravens. Miles could see more time in the secondary in addition to his duties on special teams.
Also, Jeremy Cain will snap for the Jaguars against Houston in their finale at 4:15 pm. The Jags could clinch a playoff berth with a win and a Colts loss to the Texans earlier in the day.
Here's a look at UMass' alums in action in the NFL over the holiday weekend.
With the New York Jets, James Ihedigbo suffered an ankle injury in a 38-34 loss to the Chicago Bears and is expected to miss next week's game vs. the Buffalo Bills. Ihedigbo did not make a tackle in his limited action before the injury. Vladimir Ducasse dressed as a back-up lineman, but didn't play. The Jets clinched a playoff berth despite the loss as the Jaguars lost putting Gang Green into the postseason.
In the Bengals' 34-20 win over the Chargers, to end their playoff hopes, Jeromy Miles played on special teams for the Bengals, and downed a punt.
UMass' other NFL products didn't play: Victor Cruz on injured reserve with the Giants, Matt Lawrence on physically unable to perform list with the Ravens and Jeremy Horne on the practice squad with the Chiefs.
Check out UMass' alums in action in the NFL on Sunday.
• James Ihedigbo returned to action in the Jets' 22-17 huge win at the Steelers, after missing a game with a leg injury. Ihedigbo had a tackle on defense and played his usual impact role on special teams. Vladimir Ducasse dressed for the game for the Jets, but didn't play.
• In the Bengals' 19-17 win over the Browns, Jeromy Miles was in on a tackle that resulted in a forced fumble on kickoff.
• With Jaguars, in a 34-24 loss to the Colts, Jeremy Cain snapped seven times for the Jags on punts and kicks.
• UMass' other alums are not active at this time, with Matt Lawrence on the PUP list with the Ravens, Victor Cruz on the Giants' Injured Reserve. Jeremy Horne is on the Chiefs practice squad.
Here's your weekly look at UMass' pros in football:
In the NFL
• The Jets won their third game in a row in dramatic last-second fashion, beating the Texans 30-27. James Ihedigbo had four tackles for the Jets on defense and special teams. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive again.
With the Jaguars, Jeremy Cain snapped six times in a 24-20 win over Cleveland.
Matt Lawrence continues to be on the physically unable to perform list with the Ravens. Victor Cruz is on injured reserve with the Giants. Jeremy Horne is on the practice squad with the Chiefs as is Jeromy Miles with the Bengals.
In the CFL
Brandon London will have a chance to win the Grey Cup next weekend with the Montreal Alouettes, as they beat the Toronto Argos 48-17 in the Eastern Final on Sunday. London didn't play in the win, as he's injured.
In The UFL
Marcel Shipp will have a chance to win the UFL title next weekend, on Saturday at 11 a.m. He played close to his college home in Hartford with the Las Vegas Locos, in a 27-14.
Shipp had just 12 yards on 11 carries for the Locos.
Matt Lawrence remains on PUP with the Ravens, who lost to the Falcons, 26-21. Victor Cruz' Giants lost to Cowboys, 33-20 in Jason Garrett's debut as Cowboys head coach.
Jeremy Horne remains on the practice squad with the Kansas City Chiefs and Jeromy Miles on the PS with the Cincinnati Bengals.
IN THE CFL:
In the CFL Western Semifinals, the BC Lions dropped a 41-38 OT game to Saskatchewan. UMass' Keron Williams had a huge game with three sacks and four tackles for BC and Anton McKenzie also made four tackles but BC's season ended.
In the CFL Eastern Semifinals, the Hamilton Tiger-Cats with Shannon James lost to the Toronto Argos 16-13. James didn't make a play and finishes with the season with 11 solo tackles.
UMass' other CFL player Brandon London, plays for Montreal, which had a bye into the Eastern Final as the Alouettes will play Toronto next weekend.
Here's an update on UMass alums in the pro football ranks.
In The NFL:
With the Mew York Jets, James Ihedigbo played a bunch on defense and special teams with one tackle and called a key timeout for the Jets in their comeback 23-20 OT win over the Detroit Lions. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive.
New York Giants WR Victor Cruz took time out while on injured reserve to come to UMass' win over Maine on Saturday at McGuirk Stadium.
Brandon London made his CFL debut with the Montreal Alouettes as his team suffered a 30-4 loss to the Toronto Argos. London didn't have a catch but made a tackle on special teams.
In The UFL:
UMass' all-time rushing leaders matched up as the Sacramento Mountain Lions beat the Las Vegas Locos, 27-24. Las Vegas clinched a berth in the UFL Championship in last week's win at Omaha, but Sacramento dominated play throughout the opening half. Marcel Shipp had four carries for 10 yards and a catch for nine yards. Steve Baylark had a carry for Sacramento.
Here's our weekly look at UMass products in pro football.
In the Jaguars' 35-17 win over the Dallas Cowboys, Jeremy Cain snapped 10 times on kicks and punts.
In the New York Jets 9-0 loss to the Green Bay Packers, James Ihedigbo made the game's opening tackle on a the Jets kickoff. He also played in some secondary packages. Vladimir Ducasse was inactive, but was visible on the sidelines.
UMass also has alums on practice squads: WR Jeremy Horne with the Kansas City Chiefs and DB Jeromy Miles with the Cincinnati Bengals.
Additionally WR Victor Cruz is on the injured reserve list with the New York Giants while RB Matt Lawrence is on the physically unable to perform list with the Baltimore Ravens.
The BC Lions picked up a 23-17 win over Saskatchewan as both UMass alums Anton McKenzie and Keron Williams each had three tackles. The Lions are making a push for the postseason.
Here's a recap of UMass products in action in pro football this past weekend:
In the NFL:
In the New York Jets huge comeback win over the Denver Broncos, 24-20, James Ihedigbo played defense and on special teams. Vladimir Ducasse was not active, but got plenty of TV on the sidelines.
In the Kansas City Chiefs' 35-31 loss to the Houston Texans in a thriller, Jeremy Horne played on special teams and made the first tackle of the second half on the opening kickoff. He also had one pass thrown his way, that was incomplete.
On Monday night football, Jeremy Cain snapped on all punts and kicks for the Jaguars in their loss to the Tenneesse Titans.
If you missed it Victor Cruz was played on injured reserve by the Giants and Matt Lawrence remains on physically unable to perform for the Ravens.
UMass' top career rushers faced off and Marcel Shipp's Las Vegas Locos got the best of Steve Baylark's Sacramento Mountain Cats, 26-3. Shipp scored the game's only offensive touchdown on a five-yard run up the middle in the fourth quarter. He finished with 15 carries for 69 yards. Baylark has his best game to date with 46 yards on four carries including a long of 29 yards.
The Newark Star-Ledger has a feature on UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse, who is in his first season with the New York Jets.
Vladimir Ducasse can look back at training camp now and realize how overwhelmed he was as a rookie trying to hold his own among a veteran offensive line.
"I feel like I kept making the same mistake over and over again," the second-round pick said. "Every time I made a mistake, I would go back and keep thinking about it, instead of focusing on the next play. Now if I make one mistake, I just keep on going. Don't worry about it; we'll fix it later."
2003 UMass football All-American Jeremy Cain and his Jacksonville Jaguars picked up a 36-26 winover the Buffalo Bills on Sunday. The NFL long snapper, snapped eight times on five Josh Scobee field goals and three extra points. The Jags are now 3-2 overall.
In other NFL action, UMass' Victor Cruz and Jeremy Horne were both in active for the New York Giants and Kansas City Chiefs, respectively.
On Monday night, UMass grads James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse will be in the action with the New York Jets against the Minnesota Vikings on ESPN.
Week 5 of the NFL season is sure to be an exciting one. Most fans in New England will have a chance to watch a pair of 2009 UMass wide receivers in the 1 p.m., games on Sunday. On CBS, the unbeaten Kansas City Chiefs (with Jeremy Horne) take on the Indianapolis Colts. On FOX, the New York Giants (with Victor Cruz) battle the Houston Texans.
Other UMass alums will be in action as the Jacksonville Jaguars with long snapper Jeremy Cain play the Buffalo Bills at 1 p.m.
On Monday night, the Jets duo of UMass alums James Ihedigbo and Vladimir Ducasse, will be in action against the Minnesota Vikings on ESPN.
The Baltimore Ravens host the Cleveland Browns at 1 p.m. Matt Lawrence continues to be on the PUP list for the Ravens. Alum and Sunday's feature item in the Springfield Republican Clarence Brooks coaches for Baltimore as well.
With backup offensive lineman Wayne Hunter out with a badly bruised right shin, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan said rookie Vladimir Ducasse of Stamford will be the team's backup offensive tackle and tight end against the Miami Dolphins on Sunday.
Ducasse, the team's second-round pick out of UMass and former Stamford High standout, has not been active after losing the competition for the job at left guard to Matt Slauson.
In the Chiefs' 16-14 win over the Browns, WR Jeremy Horne made hi on-field NFL debut in No. 11 and made a tackle on special teams in the fourth quarter.
DB James Ihedigbo played great on special teams in the New York Jets' 28-14 win over the Patriots. OL Vladimir Ducasse was inactive for the second week in a row.
LS Jeremy Cain snapped three times all on kicks in the Jaguars' 38-13 loss to the Chargers. Interestingly, the Jaguars never punted in the game as they scored, fumbled, were intercepted or failed on a fourth down conversion.
With the Giants, in their game against the Colts, WR Victor Cruz is active in place of WR Ramses Barden, who wasn't much of a factor in Week 1 and had a ball bounce off his hands for an interception.
In the CFL, the BC Lions beat the Hamilton Tiger-Cats 35-31 as a trio of UMass alums saw action. For BC, LB Anton McKenzie racked up five tackles and DE Keron Williams made three tackles. LB Shannon James didn't have a tackle for Hamilton.
In the UFL, the Sacramento Mountain Lions lost to the Hartford Colonials 27-10. TB Steve Baylark didn't have a carry for the Mountain Lions.
The Las Vegas Locos lost to the Florida Tuskers 27-20. RB Marcel Shipp had 13 carries for 48 yards for the Locos.
Many UMass football alums will have their NFL teams in action tonight as part of Monday Night Football's doubleheader on ESPN.
The opener between the Jets and Ravens will have three players that wore the maroon and white along with several other alums in the front office and on the sidelines. With the Jets: No. 44 James Ihedigbo will play in the secondary and on special teams. No. 62 Vladimir Ducasse was the Jets second-round NFL Draft pick this past April. He will play as a back-up on the offensive line. Along with Ihedigbo and Ducasse, Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and several members of the Jets front office graduated from UMass.
With the Ravens No. 32 Matt Lawrence will not play as he is sidelined with a knee injury. UMass alum and former Redman football player Clarence Brooks continues as an assistant coach with the Ravens.
Another story from New York, comes from the Daily News as Victor Cruz garners tons of attention. The story mentions how Cruz benefitted from his time at UMass and having Vladimir Ducasse getting lots of looks from scouts in 2009.
He grew up just 15 minutes from Giants Stadium in Paterson, N.J., and starred at Paterson Catholic HS, scoring 19 touchdowns in an undefeated senior season in 2003. But hardly anyone noticed, the first slight in a career full of them. Even after a year of prep school, the wideout had few college suitors, and wound up at Division I-AA UMass. He thrived, becoming the sixth receiver in school history to top 1,000 receiving yards (in his junior year), and teaming with offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse to fuel an offense that averaged 26.8 points per game last year.
Cruz figured that would draw NFL eyes, especially since scouts were flooding UMass games to evaluate Ducasse, who was picked by the Jets in the second round this April. Cruz thought he'd get a few workouts, eventually hear his name called in the draft.
In the CAA, Maine hosts Albany at 7 p.m.; Delaware hosts West Chester at 7 p.m.; Rhode Island plays at Buffalo at 7:30 p.m. and Towson plays at Indiana at 7:30 p.m.
We will have updates here on JTAM throughout the night.
In the Springfield Republican, Ron Chimelis has a great story in Sunday's paper about UMass' revamped offensive line. Chimelis leads the story with the man taking over Vladimir Ducasse's No. 72 -- Nick Speller. The story also focuses on Speller's fellow transfers Greg Niland and Anthony Dima.
Three former UMass football players will be in action tonight in NFL preseason games as Jeremy Horne and the Kansas City Chiefs will host the Philadelphia Eagles at 8:00 p.m. The Arrowhead Addict Chiefs' blog lists Horne in its five players to watch.
Those of you who watched Hard Knocks this week on HBO saw "Big Vlad"...UMass' own Vladimir Ducasse get some attention in the Rookie Show. The New York Post mentions the portion of the episode:
When defensive coordinator Mike Pettine tells the team about the
upcoming King Ugly contest at the Rookie Show: "Worst-looking guy
doesn't always win. So that's why I think Vlad [Ducasse] has a chance
to finish second or third."
Jim Leonhard announces the winner of the King Ugly contest:
"Surprisingly, third place . . . thought he was a leader the whole time
. . . goes by many names . . . Big Vlad." Applause. "In a surprising
twist -- first time ever -- second place . . . Big Vlad!" Laughter.
Ducasse and fellow former Minuteman James Ihedigbo will take on the Redskins tonight as the New York Jets will face Washington tonight in new Meadowlands Stadium.
UMass product Jeremy Horne caught the Kansas City Chiefs' first touchdown of the night in their 20-15 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Saturday. He hauled in a 6-yard pass from Matt Cassel in the first quarter.
In the Giants' 24-17 loss to the Steelers, Victor Cruz had two catches for 30 yards including a 20-yard grab. He also returned punts for the Giants. UMass' Brandon London didn't have a catch.
With the Jets, in a 9-3 win, James Ihedigbo had two tackles while Vladimir Ducasse played left guard for much of the second, third and fourth quarters against the Carolina Panthers.
In a game delayed by severe lightning, the Jacksonville Jaguars lost to the Miami Dolphins 27-26. Jeremy Cain snapped seven times on punts and kicks.
Check out Jeff Thomas' story on UMass' connections with the NFL in the Springfield Republican. It includes the eight UMass alums on NFL rosters in preseason along with a mention of some current assistant coaches that played at UMass. Jeremy Cain is joined in Jacksonville by a pair of former UMass captains in Joe Cullen and Ben Albert. Cullen is the defensive line coach and Albert his assistant.
Here's a quick update on some UMass alums that are performing well in NFL camps and garnering attention over the last two days -- aside from Victor Cruz.
The Kansas City Star says "Keep An Eye On" Jeremy Horne with the Chiefs. ''He's shown skill,'' coach Todd Haley said. ''He can run. He can get off the line. But with him, like a lot of these guys, it's going to be that other side of trying to be that other side of trying to become a talented football player."
Steel City Report mentions London and his long frame. "Leftwich also threw a high pass to 6-4 Brandon London that London went up to pluck out of the air in the back of the end zone. No one could've defensed."
In other news, with the New York Jets, Vladimir Ducasse was running with the first-team offensive line at left guard while the player he is battling with Matt Slauson played right guard at practice due to an injury to Nick Mangold. Read about it in the Star-Ledger.
UMass product Victor Cruz had an amazing debut game with the New York Giants. His first catch came on a one-handed 64-yard TD grab from Jim Sorgi late in the third quarter. After a nice 21 yard grab showing his great hands once again, Cruz hauled in a 34-yarder from Sorgi to give the Giants a 24-16 lead in the fourth quarter. Cruz had 145 yards on his six catches for his hometown team in the first-ever game at the New Meadowlands Stadium.
Cruz was so popular that LeBron James tweeted @KingJames about Victor Cruz and "Victor Cruz" was listed among the top "trending items" on Twitter.
James wrote: KingJames - Victor Cruz going nuts on the Jets tonight on #MNF. Undrafted rookie from UMass. He's gonna have a job this year for sure
In New York and its surrounding metro area, the game is a preseason
meeting between the region's two National Football League teams in a new
stadium. But in western Massachusetts, tonight's 8 p.m. game between
the Jets and Giants in the Meadowlands has added meaning.
game, which will air on ESPN, will feature three former University of
Massachusetts football players on the field as James Ihedigbo and
Vladimir Ducasse of the Jets will battle Victor Cruz, who is competing
for a spot on the Giants.
Matt Slauson and Vladimir Ducasse are The Odd Couple of the Jets' offensive line. They're two big men from different parts of the world who have little in common, from their skin color to their paths to the NFL. Even communicating can be a challenge: The American-born Slauson speaks with a stutter, and English isn't the Haitian-born Ducasse's first language.
Check out the feature story from the Associated Press which ran in newspapers and on websites nationwide on Saturday.
Jeremy Horne gets praise in Chiefs camp from Warpaint Illustrated: "I love the potential of Jeremy Horne from UMass. He made a great catch back of the end zone catch in the afternoon practice before crashing into the barrier."
Check out a great new Photo Gallery of former UMass football players in the NFL. The gallery includes all eight UMass players in NFL camps this summer: Jeremy Cain (Jaguars), Victor Cruz (Giants), Vladimir Ducasse (Jets), Jeremy Horne (Chiefs), James Ihedigbo (Jets), Matt Lawrence (Ravens), Brandon London (Steelers) and Jeromy Miles (Bengals).
Check out this story in the New York Post for the latest on UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse, who is battling to start at left guard for the New York Jets. Here's Jets' All-Pro D'Brickashaw Ferguson's take on the competition with Matt Slauson.
"Vlad is a very strong young athlete, and his presence physically is more than people can handle," Ferguson said. "For Matt Slauson, he's been around a little bit longer, and he's had an opportunity to really adapt to the system here well, so he's a piece that fits. He's a guy that knows how to play the game."
The Newark Star-Ledger reports that one Day 1 of Jets training camp, Matt Slauson and second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse each took reps with the first-team offensive line at left guard. Ryan said that rotation will continue so they can give each a fair shot -- but once the coaches identify the new starter, he will take the reins.
The New York Times has a preview of the New York Jets start of training camp. Former UMass All-Americans Vladimir Ducasse and James Ihedigbo will be key players in 2010. The Times mentions both the "330-pound straight-line mauler" and that Gang Green will look to "chiseled James Ihedigbo."
Also, the Bleacher Report mentions Ducasse as one of the team's breakout players. BR cites: What happens when your team releases nine-time Pro Bowl left guard Alan Faneca and drafts Vladimir Ducasse, a second-round pick from UMass? As coach Rex Ryan told the New York media, "We're getting better."
UMass alum Vladimir Ducasse continues to be just one of two NFL Draft
Picks from the top two rounds to have signed a contract. The Boston
Herald mentions this fact in a story on Patriots draft picks
standing unsigned. Due in part to factors of the uncertain market amid
the uncapped season and expiring CBA, only second-rounders Brian Price
(defensive tackle, No. 39) of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Ducasse -
had signed as of last night.
Report has a story on the Top 25 NFL Rookies that will make an
impact this season. Heading the list is UMass product Vladimir
Ducasse. The site writes: "Ducasse will become an instant
contributor after the Jets released guard Alan Faneca. Ducasse is a
physical player who will do well in the Jets smashmouth offense. Ducasse
will be brought along slowly."