Ducasse Gains Rave Reviews At NFL Combine
Feb. 28, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - UMass offensive lineman Vladimir Ducasse has been very impressive at the NFL Combine held in Indianapolis. The tackle, who could also play guard at the next level, garnered much attention from the NFL teams with his impressive numbers. He clocked in at 5.21 in the 40-yard dash and had 29 repetitions on the 225-pound bench press Saturday.
The New York Daily News has a feature story on Ducasse and his journey from Haiti to America and possibly the NFL.
Sometimes, Ducasse would rather focus on football than ponder Haiti's problems. It's why he would change the channel whenever earthquake coverage came on the TV in January, and why he walked away from a reporter during the Senior Bowl later that month.
"(Reporters) were asking about football," Ducasse remembers. "Then this guy says, 'Let's talk about Haiti now.' I just left."
ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss has a nice piece on Ducasse with the following mention:
After weighing in at 6-foot-4 and 330 pounds on Friday, Ducasse expressed excitement about being at the combine, where he had plans to meet with several teams. Some of the first clubs he spoke with were the Pittsburgh Steelers, Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears.
Ducasse said he was taking pride in representing UMass at the combine, and is stressing to NFL teams that he's ready to make a big jump to the pros.
"I like competing, I'm physical," he said. "Up at this level, everybody is talented, everybody is athletic, everybody is fast, and they just want to be able to see you finish and be physical. That's what I think I bring to the table."
From Patriots.com, Ducasse is mentioned in a section:
UMass tackle Vladimir Ducasse (6-4, 330), a Connecticut resident who hails from Haiti originally, fielded numerous questions about the plight of his native island nation in the aftermath of last month's devastating earthquake.
At age 14, Ducasse's family sent him and his older brother to live with an uncle in Stamford, in order to escape the poverty and despair of their situation. Several other family members live with him now in the U.S., while his father, two uncles, and some cousins still reside in the capital city of Port-au-Prince.
"It was a little setback when I found out what happened," said Ducasse, who has not been back to Haiti since coming to America.
"The whole city was hit. Our house went down actually. Pretty much everything, they have to find another place to stay ... when I heard from my family and that everyone was OK, after the two days I came back and started working out again."
Ducasse said his spirits have been buoyed by the outpouring of support for Haiti from U.S. donors.
"A lot of people have helped. Much more than what I was expecting, so it was pretty good."
The Associated Press has a segment on Ducasse as well.
FROM HAITI TO COMBINE: Vladimir Ducasse's journey from Haiti, to the University of Massachusetts and then to the NFL Combine has been a long and unlikely one.
Ducasse was sent to live with an uncle in the United States at age 14 while his father stayed in Haiti's capital, Port-au-Prince. He didn't play football until his junior year of high school, when coaches and friends persuaded the then-275-pounder to try out.
He chose to attend Massachusetts, even though larger schools pursued him after his initial decision. He developed into an All-American offensive tackle, played in the Senior Bowl, and now, the 6-foot-5, 330 pounder is at the combine.
"Not too many small-school players get the chances I get, so there's a lot of pride behind it," he said.
All was well for Ducasse until the earthquake hit his homeland in January. His father's house went down, but he was unharmed.
"It was a little setback at first when it happened, but I heard from my family, I heard that everybody was OK, so after two days, I came back and started working out again."
Now he's focused on bringing pride to both Massachusetts and Haiti.
"I like competing," he said. "I'm physical. Up at this level, everybody's athletic, everybody's talented, everybody's fast. They just want to be able to see you finish and be physical, and that's what I bring to the table."
Arrowhead Pride, a blog that covers the Kansas City Chiefs has a lengthy Q&A session with Ducasse. Here it is:
Perhaps the most popular project player available in the draft, University of Massachusetts offensive tackle Vladimir Ducasse is as raw as they come -- at least among the players still considered a top prospect at the NFL Combine. He's been linked to the Chiefs for a few weeks as a possible grab in the draft, and Scott Pioli personally attended a workout early on in the off-season.
Here at the Scouting Combine, Ducasse measured in impressively, but even his interview seemed as raw as his experience. Still that shouldn't sway the Chiefs from possibly cashing in on his tremendous potential.
Q: How has it been for you since the Senior Bowl?
A: Everything has been going well. I'm excited to be here. It's a blessing to be here, not many people get a chance to be invited to the NFL combine, so the experience is great. So far, so good.
Q: Being from Haiti, how much of a jolt was the earthquake in Haiti?
A: It was a little setback when I found out what happened. When I heard from my family and that everyone was okay, after the two days I came back and started working out again.
Q: What have you done at the combine?
A: I've had a couple interviews and went to the hospital for a couple of X-rays. Just got done benching.
Q: What teams have you met with so far?
A: So far, I've met with a lot of teams. Steelers, Cardinals, Bears. A bunch.
Q: How many family members do you have in Haiti?
A: My father is still back there. I have two uncles. A couple of cousins.
Q: How much family do you have in the States?
A: I have a good amount of family here.
Q: What city are you from in Haiti?
Q: So how did it work there?
A: The whole city was hit. Our house went down actually. Pretty much everything, they have to find another place to stay at.
Q: Last time he has been to Haiti?
A: I haven't been back ever since I came here.
Q: How did you feel about the response from U.S. for Haiti?
A: Pretty much it went pretty well. A lot of people have helped. Much more than what I was expecting, so it was pretty good.
Q: What have combine interviews been like?
A: Nothing was a surprise. Everything was expected and was great.
Q: What'd you measure in at?
A: I'm about 6-4 ½ and weighed in at 330 pounds.
Q: What position are you playing?
A: Right now they have me listed as offensive tackle. Left side, right side, I can play any position on the line.
Q: What did you learn at the Senior Bowl about handling the inside moves of pass rushers?
A: Pretty much, one thing I've learned is that the inside move, the problem was that I was oversetting and getting out too much. I need to be a little more patient.
Q: Can you talk about the level of competition coming from a small school?
A: It was great, pretty much what I was expecting, the speed and strength. Everybody is strong. Everything I can do at a small school I can do at the Senior Bowl so it was challenging but I got adjusted to it.
Q: Do you have some pride coming from a smaller school to the Combine?
A: Oh yeah, definitely. Not too many small-school players get a chance like that. A lot of pride in that.
Q: Why'd you go to UMass?
A: I didn't know the difference between D-I and D-IAA and UMass was my first scholarship. It was close to home so I went to UMass.
Q: How'd you start playing football?
A: I started playing football my junior year of high school. I was walking down the hallway, I was about 275 [pounds], and a couple of my friends and the coach came out and wanted me to try out for football.
Q: Why do you think you'll make it in the NFL?
A: I like competing, I'm physical. Up at this level, everybody is talented, everybody is athletic, everybody is fast, they just want to be able to see you finish and be physical and that's what I think I bring to the table.
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