WR – 5-9, 166, 4.24
Miami, Fla. (Christopher Columbus HS)
2009 Stats: 54 catches 994 yards 17 touchdowns … Recorded two scores on kickoff returns and accumulated four interceptions, including one for td
Tacoi Sumler is the fastest freshman football player in the United States. At a Nike SPARQ camp last summer, he was clocked in the 40 at 4.24. That’s faster than anyone on the Oregon roster, including Kenjon Barner, Dior Mathis, Lache Seastrunk and LaMichael James, and they’ve all competed for the Oregon track team.
What’s even more impressive about Sumler is that he’s a very polished, finished receiver. His father Tommy was a youth coach in South Florida for 30 years, for the Florida City Razorbacks, and he’s given Tacoi a tremendous foundation in the game. He runs precise patterns, cuts at full speed, catches the ball at its highest point, runs extremely well after the catch.
Sumler had over 25 offers, including Auburn, Clemson, Florida St., Mississippi, Nebraska, Oregon, Rutgers, South Carolina, South Florida, Stanford, Tennessee, and West Virginia but some coaches were concerned about his size. A couple of the combines measured him at 5-8, 157, and some thought he’d have trouble against more physical cornerbacks. He won’t. He plays a lot bigger than his size, with great leaping ability and timing. Sumler told oregonscout.com, “I’m a playmaker. I have good speed and I use my jumping ability well (claims a 38-inch vertical). I’m not 6-foot-3, but I play like it. I go up and fight for every ball.”
Also, the spread offense is a perfect fit for him. It will get him one-on-one matchups, and lined up at slot, he’ll be a yard or two off the ball and harder to jam. These are among the most terrifying words a defensive coordinator has ever heard: Tacoi Sumler in the open field, blockers in front of him, one man to beat.
Oregon always had good luck with smaller receivers, partly by necessity. For years, the 6-4, 220-lb. guys went to UCLA and USC. Oregon has a long history of quick, tough, smart little receivers who showed up with clutch catches and big plays. Cristin McLemore. Lew Barnes. Tony Hartley. Keenan Howry. Damon Griffin. Samie Parker (5-11, 185). Even Jeff Maehl was listed at 6-1, 184.
small but great leaping ability and instincts. catches the ball at the highest point. Tremendous separation speed. Good concentration, looks the ball into his hands. Can catch in coverage and takes a hit to get the ball, outs, crossing routes. Excellent body control. good footwork at the sideline. rarely lets the ball get to his body, VELCRO hands 1:01 outleaps and outfights two defenders at the goal line for a touchdown catch. 1:18 catches a simple bubble screen and blows by the entire defense enroute to a long touchdown. Very dangerous after the catch, explosive acceleration. 1:24 Reminds me of Cristin McLemore, with the knack for the tough catch and great footwork at the sideline. 1:54 another leaping catch at the sideline, fade route. Defenders are very vulnerable to fades with him because he is so fast they have to turn their hips early, and he has the great leaping ability and timing, body control and coordination. 2:21 blows by double coverage on the deep post, and again, looks the ball into his hands. Has great habits as a receiver. 2:34 adjusts to a ball thrown high and behind him with a defender near, transitions quickly and quickly past him for a score. An absolute nightmare to cover one-on-one, one of the fastest players in college football as a true freshman.
With the quartet of strong-armed quarterbacks at Oregon Sumler will be even more effective–they can get the ball out to him and out in front of him. In his high school video he often outruns his quarterback’s ability to throw and is often pulling up or waiting for the ball. Getting the ball to him quickly on short routes and having the ability to launch it long, will increase his effectiveness. 3:30, 3:38 doesn’t play little. Runs tough. Has a tendency to dance a little which Frost will teach him out of.
3:48 just a little bit of hot dog in him, but a good receiver has to be a little cocky, has to like getting the ball and making plays, has to believe there isn’t a matchup he can’t win or a defender he can’t beat. A good receiver comes to the sideline and tells his quarterback, “I’m open, I’m open.” In his mind, he’s always open.
Tacoi Sumler is always open. And for the next four years, he’s a Duck, with four of the best passers in the country throwing to him.
When he committed, Tacoi told the Sporting News,
“I was always a fan of the ducks and love the team through a college football fanatic perspective. I really started to consider them as my school of choice when my dad told me that I would fit into Oregon’s offense as a 9th grader. As the years came, I adapted to this theory and came to the conclusion that he was right. I fit right into that fast pace offense of Oregon. Also, I plan on majoring in business so where else to get a Business degree than from Oregon’s top Business Center.”
The speedy freshman takes school seriously with a 3.4 grade average. He told Larry Bluestein of the Miami Herald, “From the time I could remember, classroom was a priority in our family. There was never a choice. If you didn’t make the grades, you didn’t play. My dad saw too many great athletes never make it because they had no motivation to do well in school.” He’s also an All-State Bowler, so he’s goes to the bowling alley to maintain his 206 average. He likes video games and Hip-Hop & Rap. His favorite artist is Lil Wayne, and his favorite tv show is “The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air.”
Sumler also chose Oregon to be a part of a winning tradition. “I’m thinking Oregon’s going to be the top team for the next 10 years, just like USC had their run for those seven years,” he said in his Sporting News interview. “Coach Chip Kelly has come in and he’s taking recruiting everywhere, getting people from Florida, Texas, everywhere. I like the offense they’re running right now. They’re bringing in good recruits and everything is going together.”
The positive attitude and extreme competitiveness are traits he shares with a lot of the new Ducks, and it’s a mindset that will get them through the PAC-12 and the endurance race of an NCAA inquiry and resultant media scrutiny.