|Photo courtesy of fresnocitycollege.edu|
But while all the buzz may go towards the hard-hitting Ram secondary with three potential Football Bowl Subdivision and Division-I prospects, an overlooked but blue collar unit has been the four Rams up front.
This unit may have surrendered 224 rushing yards in the 31-17 bowl loss to Butte College on Saturday, but this same unit didn't give up a single 100-yard rusher, which was something San Francisco City College didn't do in its loss to the Roadrunners.
All season long, these guys have dealt with size and athleticism issues, but have done enough to produce three All-Central Valley Conference players in the 2012 season.
Here's a closer look at some potential space eaters and pass rushers for the next level:
COREY CHILDS, DEFENSIVE END, SOPHOMORE
At 6-foot-1 and 240-pounds, Childs (photo) is one of the smaller defensive linemen for Fresno City. But, he has a Tasmanian Devil-like motor to his game and is either around the football, or around the quarterback. Childs led the Rams with nine sacks this past year. He forced two fumbles and recovered three of them. Also, he was tops among defensive linemen with 49 tackles, including 14.5 for a loss.
His size unfortunately will turn a few schools away. But someone in the FCS or mid-major ranks looking for a hard-nosed pass rusher and blue collar worker can certainly use him.
MORE ON CHILDS: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/474531/corey-childs
TAYLOR FERGUSON, DEFENSIVE END, SOPHOMORE
The 6-foot-3, 245-pound Ferguson plays opposite of Childs and he's just as feisty up front. While Ferguson may not be as athletically gifted as Childs, he's a hustle player who won't stop trying.
Ferguson, who runs a 4.9 40-yard dash, does have an explosive get-off once the ball moves. He's won a lot of one-on-one blocking match ups with his power and push. He may not overwhelm opponents with his size or athleticism, but he's a space eater who was second among defensive linemen in tackles with 30, recovered three fumbles and had five stops behind the line of scrimmage. A school in need of run stoppers can use a guy like Ferguson.
MORE ON FERGUSON: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/773605/taylor-ferguson
IOANE SAGAPOLU, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, SOPHOMORE
The 6-foot-1, 295-pound Sagapolu may have been the best of the bunch for the Rams. His size already makes him look like a legit 3-4 nose tackle. But, its his skill set that should put people on notice.
Sagapolu has a freakish explosion for a guy his size and shoots gaps with ease. His power and hand technique also makes matters worse for anyone trying to block him. Much like Childs and Ferguson, Sagapolu is another hustle lineman. However, what perhaps separates Sagapolu from his other linemen mates is that he's often taken on two blockers and still blows past them with his power and desire.
He does tend to come off too high, but overshadows that flaw with his power. He has enough size and skill to be a lineman that occupies space. He can become a strong challenger for a nose tackle spot for his next team or a one technique tackle in the four man front, much like he was with the Rams.
MORE ON SAGAPOLU: http://www.hudl.com/athlete/773640/highlights
JAMAAL TARRENT, DEFENSIVE TACKLE, FRESHMAN
Tarrent plays the three technique for the Rams and showed off his pass rushing ability versus Modesto College, where he had a two sack game in the 52-42 victory.
He brings good size inside at 6-foot-3 and 255-pounds. For right now, he may not wow people with his athleticism, but he's shown to be a guy who can put on his hard hat, bring his sledgehammer and go straight to work. He's another space eater who can improve as a pass rusher by next season.