Player Profile #88 – SS Ahmad Black

Four years ago when Ahmad Black showed up on the campus of the University of Florida, it took only a few weeks before head coach Urban Meyer saw enough of his new recruit from Lakeland. “He told me he was moving me to another position,” Black said.

Defensive coordinator Charlie Strong took it another step. He told his new player that he was too small and too slow to be able to play defense at Florida or anywhere else in the SEC.

Strong was wrong – Black played four years for the Gators, including a national championship season. He became a big-player performer for the defense at strong safety despite his lack of size and speed.

Now, Black is being told again that he’s too slow and too small, as he prepares to enter the 2011 NFL Draft.

Here’s his story.

FAMILY MATTERS

Ahmad Black

Born – December 12, 1989 in Lakeland, Florida.

Parents – Bruce and Michelle Black.

BODY OF WORK

  • Height – 5-feet, 9½ inches.
  • Weight – 184 pounds.
  • Arms – 31 inches.
  • Hands – 9 7/8 inches.
  • 40-yard dash – 4.70 seconds (4.83 and 4.85 at Pro Day).
  • 20-yard dash – 2.61 seconds (2.64).
  • 10-yard dash – 1.59 seconds (1.63).
  • Bench press – 18 repetitions at 225 pounds.
  • Vertical jump – 35½ inches.
  • Broad jump – 9-feet, 11 inches.

HIGH SCHOOL

Black spent two years his freshman and sophomore seasons at Kathleen High School in Lakeland, FL. He finished up his last two seasons, his junior and senior years, at Lakeland Senior High School.

He made big contributions with both teams, but really established himself as a big-time Division 1 recruit with his performance as a junior.

Basketball was also part of Black’s time at Lakeland High, where he was the second leading scorer.

FOOTBALL

2006 – As a senior with the Dreadnaughts, Black had 82 total tackles, 4 interceptions and 8 passes broken up. Lakeland won a third consecutive 5A state championship and a second straight mythical USAToday national high school championship while pushing its winning streak to 45 games. They beat Ft. Lauderdale Thomas Aquinas 45-42 in double overtime.

2005 – Black moved to Lakeland High for his junior season and was part of a state championship team, contributing 71 total tackles, 6 interceptions and 11 passes broken up.

2004 – At Kathleen High, Black played his sophomore season for the Red Devils, with 71 total tackles and 10 interceptions.

RECRUITING

Black was one of the most recruited safety prospects in the country in 2006, when he committed to Florida on June 6, 2006. He was also recruited by Alabama, Clemson, Florida State, Ohio State and Nebraska. He was part of a freshman recruiting class that included TE Aaron Hernandez, the Pouncey Brothers, Joe Haden and Carlos Dunlap.

COLLEGE

He studied for a bachelor’s degree in Recreation Programming.

As a three-year starter, he contributed 244 total tackles and with 13 interceptions, the fourth most in Florida history. He returned 3 of those interceptions for touchdowns. As a senior, he earned second-team All-America honors as well as being a consensus All-SEC first-team selection. As a sophomore, Black earned second-team All-SEC honors. Then as a junior, he was an honorable mention All-SEC choice.

Black finished his college career by being named the MVP of the Gators’ victory in the 2011 Outback Bowl over Penn State with two interceptions, including one he returned 80 yards for a TD against Penn State.

2010 – Elected team captain he played in all 13 games for the Gators. Black led the team and was eighth in the country among defensive backs with 102 total tackles. He added three interceptions. Against South Carolina, he posted a career best performance with 16 tackles.

2009 – Turned in one of the biggest plays of the season, with his interception of Sam Bradford in the BCS National Championship Game against Oklahoma. That gave the Gators the BCS title.

2008 – He started all 14 games for Florida, with 59 tackles, 7 INTs and second team All-SEC status.

2007 – Black played in seven games as a freshman cornerback and contributed seven tackles.

 Year

 

G

 

S

 

Tk.

 

TFL

 

Sks.

 

INT.

Ret

Yds

 

TD

 

FF

 

FR

 

PD

2010

13

13

109

10

1

5

171

1

3

2

5

2009

14

14

57

2.5

1

1

0

0

0

0

5

2008

14

14

54

.5

0

7

191

2

0

0

5

2007

7

0

7

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

TOTAL

48

41

244

13

2

13

362

3

3

2

15

EVALUATION FOR PRO FOOTBALL

STRENGTHS – Athletic, with good body control, agility. He has quickness and a short burst that allowed him to close and recover. While small, he’s not afraid of contact; in fact, he seeks it out not only against the pass, but vs. the run. Black has tremendous instincts and understanding of the game. What he lacks in size, speed and quickness he more than makes up for with his brains. Durable and available, he’s not missed a game since his freshman season and will play through the bumps and bruises. A very mature leader that last year worked with younger safeties to make sure they were up to speed in the Florida defense.

WEAKNESSES – His small frame and limited height and bulk are drawbacks. So is his lack of speed, and that calls into question how much area he can cover in the secondary. Black is not an “in-the-box” strong safety because he’s too small. Will compete for every ball in the air, but frequently gets outmuscled for the pill. Plays aggressively, but sometimes too aggressively and will get pulled out of position by biting on play action.

ANALYSIS – Black plays the game bigger than his size and faster than his 40 times. He has a great sense of where the ball will go on both run and pass plays, allowing him to position himself to the ball. What he lacks physically, he more than makes up for by being a football player, a very good football player. This guy has been a winner his whole life, with three national championships (two in high school, one in college) and he understands how to lead and how to be a role model for younger teammates.

WHAT THE SCOUTS SAY

From an AFC scout – “I love this kid but I’m not sure he can make up for his deficiencies. You watch this guy in the Combine or a Pro Day and there’s no way he’s going to be considered draftable. Then you talk with him, and throw on the tape and the kid knocks you over with his personality, his charisma and his intelligence. My guys are going to get hung up on his lack of speed more than his lack of height.”

From another AFC scout – “If you put this guy in the right situation, you’ll be able to mask his lack of speed. His situation is a lot like Brandon Spikes last year (Florida LB). He couldn’t run fast either and (Bill) Belichick got him on the field and the guy contributed as a rookie.”

WHAT HE HAS TO SAY

“At the end of the day it’s how many plays you make and if you make plays. I just make plays, and that’s all I can do.”

“I had to go out and show people that size isn’t everything. I go out there and try to prove my doubters wrong.”

“As a freshman, I got told to go get Gatorades for the whole position group. Trying to get a rep at practice was like pulling teeth. To go from that, where I was, to where I’m at now is just a tremendous opportunity. I thank God for everything I got.”

WHAT OTHERS HAVE TO SAY

Florida LB Brandon Hicks – “You can’t ask for much more from a guy. He’s not a guy who stays down. If he’s hurt, he’s going to come back in. Even if it’s on one leg and three fingers, he’s going to play. Ahmad has been great for me since we got here as freshman. No player on this team can say anything less than the fact that they respect Ahmad Black for everything he does.”

Florida secondary coach Chuck Heater – “I had a pro scout tell me that (he is the best tackler in college football) today. He’s got a gift for it. First off, he’s tough. If a guy doesn’t want to make a tackle, all that other stuff doesn’t really matter. Some guys don’t want to make a tackle. He’s a tough guy. Then it becomes just that ability to weave himself through people and around people and make plays the way he does. He’s extraordinary. Anybody who watches football can appreciate the quality player that he is now.”

Florida defensive coordinator Teryl Austin – “He’s a good open field tackler and when he squares you up, he will hit you. He’s stumped guys. He’s good, he’s really good. He looks like a player. He’s not going to pass all the height, weight, speed contests. But when you put on the film, boy he is a football player. When you put on the game tape, I’d be hard pressed to find a better safety.”

DOES HE FIT WITH THE CHIEFS?

Like a glove, he fits with what Pioli/Haley are looking for when it comes to the tangible intangibles. The lack of size and speed hurts him, but this guy brings to the situation so many important things that the Chiefs value – durability, leadership, passion, intelligence. He’s a poster child for the “right 53.”

Comments are closed.



Get the Flash Player to see the slideshow.


Categories

Other News

Archives


RSS


Pages

Home