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March 11, 2009 | Big C's NFL Blitz

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Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Draft sleeper WR Julius Pruitt grabbing attention

Every year during draft time you always seem to hear about a sleeper prospect that suddenly appears on NFL team’s radar. Last year it was Costa Carolina wide receiver Jerome Simpson who the Cincinnati Bengals selected in the second round of the 2008 draft. This year it appears to be Ouachita Baptist wide receiver Julius Pruitt who is gaining momentum as we approach draft day.

Pruitt worked out for the St. Louis Rams and Green Bay Packers on March 3 where he ran a 4.42 in the 40-yard dash, posted a 31 1/2-inch vertical and a 9-foot, 4-inch broad jump. The scouts where impressed with the performance so much that the Rams where back in the area on Wednesday for a second look.

Pruitt caught every pass thrown his way and made several acrobatic catches during receiving drills.

The 6-foot-2, 209-pound Pruitt dominated at the Div II level finishing the 2008 season with 77 catches for 1,116 yards and 11 touchdowns. Pruitt’s biggest game of the season came against cross-street rival Henderson State in the 82nd “Battle of the Ravine” where he caught 10 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns. He set school records for receiving yards and TD catches in a game.

The receiver’s performance helped the Tigers to a fourth quarter, come from behind road victory 43-36 over the Reddies. Maybe more impressive was that Pruitt accomplished the feat matched up against the Conference’s top ranked cornerback Devon Hughes, who earned All-American honors three straight seasons and was named first-team All-Region and All-GSC in 2008.

When watching the receiver on film, he absolutely jumped off the screen. Pruitt has good size, speed, explosion and subtle quickness. He’s very strong, squats over 600 pounds, and shows great leaping ability, body control and athleticism.

Pruitt is a pretty good route runner with solid hands and is a willing blocker. He’s a physical possession-receiver who loves to catch the ball over the middle and shows a strong desire to play the game. Pruitt is a high character guy and is great in the locker room. He was voted most valuable player by his teammates.

On film, Pruitt appears to be the total package, but will need to work on refining his skills at the next level.

According to Ouachita Baptist head coach Todd Knight, Pruitt is a better NFL prospect than receiver Reggie Barrett was when the Detroit Lions selected him in the third-round of the ’91 draft. Knight coached Barrett as an Assistant Coach at the University of Texas at El Paso from 1990-1992.

Coach Knight added that if teams look at the Pruitt’s ability on the field and not the level of competition in which he played, he stacks up well to this year’s draft class of receivers.

It will be interesting to see if this draft sleeper opened enough eyes come draft day.



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