As one of the top rated players in the state of Kentucky and a prospect on Kentucky's "big board" I thought I'd take the opportunity to see Christian County High's defensive end, Malcolm McDuffen.
McDuffen has been a warrior for the Colonels this year who have gotten off to a slow start. While he will likely wind up as a linebacker at the division one level, he's played defensive end during his time with Christian County. His coach, Steve Lovelace gave this scouting report to KSR last month.
"He works hard," said Steve Lovelace, Christian County Head Coach. "He plays three sports: football, basketball and track. He doesn't get to spend a lot of time in the weight room," Lovelace continued. "He's going to be really good once he gets more time to focus on one sport," Lovelace said. "He's very quick off the ball. Coach (Rich) Brooks sees him as a defensive end or outside linebacker," said Lovelace. "If they play him at linebacker, he'll need to work on his feet as far as dropping back into coverage," said Lovelace. "The upside is concentrating on one sport. We're already working on his hips and his feet. If they keep him down (on the defensive line) he'll be fine."
Knowing the level of competition in western Kentucky can be iffy at times, I came into the Stadium of Champions not knowing exactly what to expect from McDuffen. His Colonels took on the Pleasure Ridge Park Panthers out of Louisville (Ky.), a test that should have been a stiff one for Christian County.
For two and a half quarters of the game, I focused almost solely on McDuffen.
He did a lot of good things. He disrupted the blocking schemes on several occasions by getting into the backfield. He blocked an extra point coming off the edge, like you'd normally see a defensive back do. He made several tackles on shear effort alone.
As Lovelace said, he's very quick off the ball. As soon as it's snapped he's attacking the line. The only problem I see is that he's just going on pure athleticism and little technique. His tendency is to get out of position and have to come from behind to catch up to the ball carrier. It's clear that he's got good speed and his 6-foot-3, 205 pound frame can easily carry more weight. He's going to need that added strength as he often gets pushed out of the play.
The best things about McDuffen are his overall athleticism and his never-ending motor. He's a player who never quits until the whistle blows. With added strength and experience, he can be a solid outside linebacker. As Lovelace said, he'll need to work on his coverage skills to play a significant role as a linebacker at the next level. He appears to be more of a mid-major now, but he can grow into a BCS type player as his career goes on.
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