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The Sports Daily > Duck Stops Here
Getting to know the 2011 Oregon Duck newcomers: Jamal Prater

Jamal Prater
OL – 6-4, 290
Etiwanda, Calif. (Etiwanda HS)

2010 stats: Team Record 6-6, 3-2 league, lost in round of eight in CIF Southern Section playoffs

                   2,036 rushing yards and averaged nearly six yards per attempt in 2010

                   All-State and All-Valley League first teams

                   Rated three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com while garnering two stars from ESPN

Off the field he’s a normal kid, who likes Nu Movement and Erykah Badu, and wishes his friend’s houses were connected to his by secret tunnels (who hasn’t wished that).

But putting on a football uniform, Jamal Prater is the rare raw material, a 16-year-old who 6-4 and 290 lbs., naturally strong enough to take other large, determined young men and stack them like Pringles next to a hot dog.

He was a three-year letter winner in football at Etiwanda High School under head coach Stephen Bryce, which means he played varsity as a sophomore, making second-team all-league as a junior.

Oregon’s had good luck in the San Bernardino area, a lush recruiting ground for prep football talent.  In the last two years they’ve signed Prater, Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Devon Blackmon, Rodney Hardrick, DE Tony Washington, Colton S Derrick Malone and Colton K Alejandro Maldonado from area schools.   They’ll have extra motivation when they Ducks play UCLA or USC, and they’ll meet many ex-teammates and former opponents throughout the PAC-12.  It helps too as a new freshman a 15-hour drive from home, to have some kids around you used to run into at the movie theater or the 7-11, who miss the same restaurants and sunny days in November.

According to espn.com, Jamal is “a size prospect who will need to improve both his athleticism and playing strength to remain at tackle in college. Has the bulk and height for the offensive tackle position at the major level of competition. Appears to have some lower body stiffness.”

That’s the evaluation going in, but it neglects the heart he displays on the football field, and the training, coaching, and nutritution he’ll get at Oregon.  Steve Greatwood’s been molding lineman for over twenty years, and he’s adept at taking youngsters and molding them into men, more than a handful into NFL players.  Prater’s high school coach, Steve Bryce told Clay Fowler of The Prep Sports Bulletin, “Schools in the Pac-10 look for the prototypical 6-7 type of tackle with the really long arms so they can engage those pass rushers off the end,” Bryce said. “Jamal is 6-4 and knocking on the door of 300 pounds, and it’s an athletic 300 pounds. He’s only 16 and his dad is 6-7 so he could still grow, which would turn him into a significant human being.”

With a deep line and a deep recruiting class of offensive linemen, the Etiwanda strongman will have time to develop to his full potential.

    

Notes and observations:

:15 a pass play, walls off his man with good footwork, and the qb has plenty of time to survey the field and room to step up in a well-defined pocket :28 seal block on the right edge pushes his man inside and with no contain, the back goes for a big gain.  Uses his size and strength well, gets nice and wide for a good push. Tough to get around, stays on the block. :35 has the linebacker on an off tackle play, and the defender has no opportunity  to get in the play as it gains ten hard yards in the red zone.  Prater shows good effort and desire, uses his arms well for leverage.  Has a powerful base, legs like Redwoods. 1:18 Prater   keeps the defensive end occupied as the back runs off his right hip for a solid gain. 

Can use improvement on his conditioning and agility, but Steve Greatwood, James Harris and Jim Radcliffe will give him tools to become a dependable D-1 linemen.  The raw material is strong and his effort level is promising. Drives his man sideways and turns him ten yards out of the play.  1:38 strongside tackle against a three-man line, and he caves it in to make a big hole for his teammate.  Easy to see how the Etiwanda offense rolled for 2,036 rushing yards and nearly six yards per attempt last season.  1:55 Sustains his block 8 yards up the field on a shovel pass, showing some of the mobility he’ll need to make second-level blocks in the Oregon system.  Has the “bust block” part down; he can learn and develop as an athlete.  Not as agile or finished as Andre Y, Fisher or Johnstone, but he’s a big, physical linemen with good work habits. Does his job.  2:20 just manhandles smaller players, taking good advantage of his size and strength advantage.  How will he handle Ricky Heimuli, Wade K, Taylor Hart and Jared Ebert?  Blocking school starts in less than a month.  Will take a redshirt season to get Jamal acclimated to the demands of the Oregon pace. 2:48 fights hard to keep his man off the play and opens another nice hole, doing a good job of using his hands and keeping them inside the shoulder pads, out of the penalty zone.  

2:55 As a big guy, doesn’t look as low or assertive in his stance as he could be yet. This will be an area to refine his technique. Has a tendency to get upright and hand fight, but he’s so strong he overmatches most high school players.  Needs a better stance and fire out to play against top competition, but that’s teachable. 3:10 goal line short yardage, and Prater double teams with the guard on his side and just destroys the defensive front for an easy touchdown.  Looks more like a guard at the next level.  Fans who wanted Oregon to recruit bigger and more powerful linemen will like Prater, who might play at 320 after two years in the strength and conditioning program with training table.  3:45 pancakes one guy and shoves off another on a long run. 

The Eagles had a lot of confidence in Jamal, running a lot of big plays on his side, relying on him in short yardage. 4:24 sustains a block a long time on a slow-developing play, shoving his man off the hole once, twice and three times as it goes for a big gain. He’s persistent and diligent.  Doesn’t have the mean edge you see in some of the newcomers, but he’s effective and powerful. 4:50 Gets a little lost on a draw play. Lets his man take himself out of the play, but doesn’t look comfortable downfield.  Runs a little choppy and top heavy, looking a little unsure of who to hit.  5:18 he’s at his best when he can just drive on somebody at the line of scrimmage.  This defender has decent size, but Prater overpowers him.

Might be a coaching thing, but he tips pass and run a little bit with his stance.  His head and shoulders are noticeably more upright when preparing to pass block.  6:20 You can run all day behind him.  Does an excellent job of taking his man inside and collapsing the run defense.  6:28 moves his feet well in pass blocking.  7:10 If the defender makes the wide rush, he just takes him wider and off the quarterback.  He’s a big obstacle to beat with a speed rush.  Has a good sense of where his quarterback is and how to protect him, give him another count or two to make a play.