In the FCS Huddle: The curious case of App State
Philadelphia, PA – It's not as if DeAndre Presley's college career was only seven games long. But that's the experience he must build off as he tries to build an NFL career.
There are 22 players from FCS programs who have been invited to the NFL Combine later this month in Indianapolis. The list of invites that came out Tuesday could not have had an odder background than Presley and Brian Quick at Appalachian State.
Quick seemingly is the cream of the FCS crop this year, perhaps a second- or third-round selection with his 6-foot-4, 220-pound size, speed and skill all ideal for an NFL wide receiver.
Presley's invite is indicative of his athleticism as well. It's just that he's now playing a position nobody at Appalachian State envisioned him at four months prior to the Combine - cornerback.
In 2010, Presley was the toast of Boone, N.C., when he stepped out of former quarterback Armanti Edwards' imposing shadow and led Appalachian State to a sixth straight Southern Conference title. He also finished third in the voting for the 2010 Walter Payton Award, which is presented to the outstanding player in the FCS by The Sports Network and sponsored by Fathead.com.
He became just the fourth player in FCS history to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in a season.
But Presley had a subpar start to the 2011 season and then injured his throwing shoulder in the fifth game on Oct. 1. Following a bye, he missed a game against The Citadel while his replacement, Jamal Jackson, started taking control of the offense.
Presley returned to action on Oct. 22 against Samford, but in the days leading up to the game, Mountaineers coach Jerry Moore asked the 5-11, 170-pound native of Tampa, Fla., if he would be willing to fill a need for the team in the secondary as a cornerback.
Presley obliged without question. He also soon found himself as a wide receiver and punt returner and went on to finish his senior season with 812 passing yards and four touchdown passes, 163 rushing yards and four scores, five receptions for 66 yards, 204 yards on nine kickoff returns, one punt return for three yards, 17 tackles (12 solo), one-and-a-half tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and two pass break-ups.
In addition to playing cornerback in Appalachian State's final six games, Presley played the position in the Battle of Florida all-star game Jan. 21 in Boca Raton, Fla. He was in on three tackles and returned four punts for 75 yards, including a 65-yard touchdown.
His trip to the NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium will come with the final group of participants from Feb. 25-28. No matter how much he impresses teams in interviews, testing and workouts, he most likely will have to go the unsigned free agent route to make it to an NFL training camp.
His body of work doesn't match up with the many cornerbacks in the draft class. All Presley wants at this point, however, is a chance to prove himself.
That, of course, is what Quick did so well over his four-year career. He finished it as the program's all-time leader in receptions (202), receiving yards (3,418) and touchdown catches (31). He saved his best for last as a senior, catching 71 passes for 1,096 yards and 11 touchdowns, while the Mountaineers were making the Presley-to-Jackson change.
Quick will participate in the Combine from Feb. 23-26. Maybe he will put in a good word for DeAndre Presley.