With the start of Spring football it is time to hit the film room to break down Florida State's current commits and recruiting targets. At TomahawkNation we like to show specific examples of what we look for in a prospects film, not just listing the prospects strengths and weaknesses. We begin our film breakdown series with of one of Florida State's first commits, Island Coast running back Delmarick "Mario" Pender. Mario Pender is from Island Coast High School in Cape Coral, Florida. He committed to Florida State in October of 2010.
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Pender is speed, but there is much more to his game.
Player Comparison: Jamaal Charles/Felix Jones
Strengths: One of the more sudden and quicker backs in the nation, Pender is an explosive, game changing type of runner with the ability to score from anywhere on the field. Pender is a quick twitched athlete that shows the elite speed to outrun defenders who have a angle on him. But don't make the mistake of labeling him just a speed back, as Pender has no problem cutting it inside to run over a defender as shown in the :45 second mark, 1:10 mark, and 6:56 mark in the highlight below. One quality that we like to see in a running back is consistently making the first man miss, which Pender does with his outstanding agility shown in the 1:23 mark, 1:50 mark, 2:24 mark, 3:52 mark, 5:10 mark, and 6:43 highlight mark . He also does a great job to square up his shoulders and accelerate north-south instead of running east-west like many running backs with his speed do. Pender has the ideal frame for the running back position. He has great body composition for the position with his thick, compact build and low center of gravity. Pender should be able to carry 205-210lbs without losing that much speed.
Weaknesses: Not many. We would like to see Pender catch the ball out of the backfield more to be able to evaluate his hands. Due to the offense that Island Coast runs Pender doesn't get many opportunities to catch the ball. In the few catches that we did see Pender make we would like to see him do a better job of catching the ball away from his body. Another area of Pender's game that needs work is his patience to set up his blockers(1:10 mark, 5:43 mark), which is a problem for most prospects with Pender's speed. He also needs to work on switching the ball to his outside shoulder closest to the sideline as shown in the :08 mark, 3:06 mark, 3:22 mark, and 5:02 mark. We'd also like to see Pender become more mature.
It's also appropriate to note that Pender's competition in class 2B is, for the most part, rather poor. That makes it more difficult to evaluate him. Clearly, he does some things in high school that he will not be able to pull off in college.
Final thoughts: Mario Pender is an elite running back with the speed that makes running back coaches drool. He might be one of the most physically talented prospects that running back coach Eddie Gran has ever worked with, which is saying something as Gran has double-digit backs in the league. He combines 10.6 100 meter speed in a potential 200+ pound frame. If he keeps his head on straight, works hard, and listens to coach Gran, he has the talent to play in the NFL.
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