One thing I always have at the top of my mind is that the player that a recruit is now is not the player that he is going to be later. I think that sometimes that gets lost when it comes to evaluating certain prospects.
I can see faults in Waco High cornerback Eric Cuffee‘s game, but I also think those faults are correctable. He also does some things really well and it’s why he is such a highly coveted recruit with offers from in-state schools like Texas and Texas A&M and national programs like Notre Dame and Alabama.
Cuffee has good, but not elite, speed. He does have extremely quick feet and can close quickly when he has to recover in coverage because of it. He’s not a monster on the outside, but has good size and is probably physically ready to compete at the college level right now. I wouldn’t be surprised at all to see him to get to the 200 pound mark in college.
I love Cuffee’s compete level. It starts with him being physical at the line of scrimmage. He gets a great jam and sometimes doesn’t let the receivers even get into their route. He is at his best when he is playing press man and can get in the face of the guy he is covering. His mirroring skills are good and he gets in very good position to make a play on the ball. What he doesn’t do is finish with interceptions. He had numerous chances to pick off the ball and did not show the ball skills to come down with the football.
Cuffee does not look as comfortable in off-man coverage. His footwork is transitions looks to be sloppy and it costs him time when breaking on the football. He doesn’t appear to be comfortable in his backpedal and working from that. I think he has quick feet and it’s more of a technique issue for him. If he can get it cleaned up, he’s going to be fine.
He is an aggressive tackler versus the run and does a nice job of getting off blocks to get involved in the play. He doesn’t catch on contact. Will wrap up and hit through.
When he is playing press, he will get too caught up with his jam and not recognize run. That happens to a lot of corner when playing press, but it’s something he needs to be able to pick up sooner to not completely eliminate himself from the play.
I think he has the physical skills to play in any scheme, but is much better suited to play a lot of press at the next level.
I can see why Cuffee has a 3 star rating from a couple of the recruiting services, but he has some traits that make me believe he can develop into a great cornerback at the college level. He has the tools to develop into a starter for multiple seasons and if he gets in the right scheme, he may be able to make an impact early in his career.
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Jamie Uyeyama was a way too small defensive tackle at Idaho State University and a more appropriately sized rush end at Simon Fraser University. He was a coach at the college and high school level and is the son of Ron Uyeyama, a member of the Delta Sports Hall of Fame and high school football coach for over 30 years (hence the site name, Son of a Coach).