The predraft analysis, stats and projections for the Vikings' third pick in the sixth round.
The book on: Center Brandon Fusco
Slippery Rock University The Rock
Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania
Seneca Valley High School
Regarded as the premier blocker from the small college ranks, it is very rare for a player at his level of competition to prove to professional teams that he can excel vs. elite competition. Based on his solid performances in practices leading up to the prestigious 2011 Senior Bowl, Fusco showed that he could be "The Rock" in the middle of the line for an NFL team.
The 2010 Gene Upshaw Lineman of the Year Award recipient (given to the top NCAA Division II blocker), the three-time All-American has been the anchor for an offense that struggled to generate much of a passing game since his freshman campaign. After red-shirting as a freshman offensive tackle, he went on to start his next 44 games at center, as the two-time team captain collected 332 knockdowns with 42 touchdown-resulting blocks.
Fusco was a "late bloomer" on the football field, as he did not play until his junior season at Seneca Valley High School. He lined up at offensive tackle for the Raiders and despite performing for a team that won just one of eighteen contests during his two varsity seasons, Fusco earned All-WPIAL Class AAA-1 and honorable mention Quad North All-Star honors.
With a lack of experience at the prep level, Fusco enrolled at Slippery Rock in 2006, spending the season as a red-shirt on the scout team, where he performed at offensive tackle. In 2007 spring drills, Fusco shifted to center. Having added 25 pounds to his frame, he posted 53 knockdowns for an offense that generated 5,099 yards and scored 52 times, including 29 touchdowns on the ground.
As a sophomore, Fusco received All-American honorable mention, All-Super Region I and All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference first-team honors. He started all eleven games at the pivot, delivering ten touchdown-resulting blocks for a unit that rushed for 29 scores. He had 74 knockdowns to help The Rock rank second in the conference with an average of 484.14 yards per game.
Fusco received All-American, All-Region and All-PSAC first-team accolades as a junior. Named the team captain, he also received squad MVP honors. He led the PSAC Western Division with 98 knockdowns and eleven touchdown-resulting blocks, despite the team's lack of a strong aerial game that ranked 59th in the nation. It was his drive blocking skills that helped The Rock finish fifth nationally in rushing (239.54 ypg) and seventh in total offense (456.69 ypg).
Fusco became the 19th player in school history to garner All-American first-team honors more than once in a career, as the 2010 Gene Upshaw Award winner and team captain captured All-PSAC honors for the third consecutive year. With a limited passing game, The Rock again relied on his drive blocking skills to place tenth in the Division II ranks with an average of 247.38 yards per game rushing. He capped off an excellent career by becoming the first player in school history to compete in the Senior Bowl.
Fusco started all 44 games of his Slippery Rock career at center, recording 332 knock-downs, 42 touchdown-resulting blocks and 28 blocks down field…Also experienced a lineman's "dream" by catching a pass for 9 yards vs. Edinboro in 2010…Is the 19th player in school history to earn All-American first-team honors at least twice in a career (2009-10)…The 2010 Gene Upshaw Award winner was the first player in Slippery Rock annals to compete in the Senior Bowl.
Fusco earned All-American first-team honors from The NFL Draft Report, the Associated Press, D2football.com, the American Football Coaches Association, Daktronics and Don Hansen's Football Gazette….Named as the 2010 recipient of the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award, the Dave Rimington Award as the top Division II center in the nation and as a member of the Associated Press Little All-American team for players at NCAA Division II and Division III and NAIA schools…The first-team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-West selection each of the last three seasons, Fusco was also the first Slippery Rock player to attend the NFL Scouting Combine…The team captain for the
Second-straight season, the center also received invitations to participate in the Cactus Bowl, East/West Shrine and NFLPA postseason all-star games…Started all eleven games at center…Did not allow a quarterback sack or pressure, as he delivered a career-best 107 knockdowns, adding seven blocks down field and thirteen touchdown-resulting blocks, as he also caught a 9-yard pass in the Edinboro contest…Paved the way for The Rock to lead the PSAC and rank 12th in the Division II ranks in total offense (476.85 ypg) and place tenth nationally (second in the conference) with an average of 247.38 yards per game rushing.
First-team All-American selection by The NFL Draft Report, Daktronics and Don Hansen's Football Gazette…Added first-team All-Region honors and finished third in the Super Region One voting for the Gene Upshaw Division II Lineman of the Year Award...Earned first-team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western Division honors for second consecutive season...Named The Rock's Offensive Most Valuable Player and was elected by teammates to be one of the team captains...Started all eleven games at center, posting 98 knockdowns with eleven touchdown-resulting blocks for a unit that led the PSAC and finished seventh in the nation with an average of 456.69 yards per game in total offense…
The rock also ranked fifth in the Division II ranks in rushing (239.54) as he led a front wall that allowed the sixth-fewest quarterback sacks in the nation (0.92 spg).
Fusco received All-American honorable mention from The NFL Draft Report…Was a third-team All-Super Region One choice by Don Hansen's Football Gazette…Added first-team All-Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-Western honors…Started all eleven games in the middle of the line, producing ten touchdown-resulting blocks and 74 knockdowns, as The Rock averaged 421.31 yards per game in total offense, including 220.23 yards on the ground, the second-best average in the PSCA and 12-best in the NCAA Division II ranks.
Fusco took over center duties as a red-shirt freshman, receiving All-PSAC second-team honors…Credited with 53 knockdowns and eight touchdown-resulting blocks, as the offense generated 5,099 yards and 52 touchdowns in eleven games.
Red-shirted as a freshman, performing as an offensive tackle for the scout team…Moved to center in 2007 spring camp.
No major injuries reported.
5.21 in the 40-yard dash…1.84 10-yard dash…3.02 20-yard dash…4.43 20-yard shuttle…7.29 three-cone drill…28 1/2-inch vertical jump…9'0" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 26 times…33 ¾-inch arm length…10-inch hands…80 1/8-inch wingspan.
Attended Seneca Valley (Harmony, Pa.) High School, playing football for head coach Ron Butschle…Did not play until his junior season...Lined up at offensive tackle for the Raiders and despite performing for a team that won just one of eighteen contests during his two varsity seasons, Fusco earned All-WPIAL Class AAA-1 and honorable mention Quad North All-Star honors…Also was an Honor Roll student.
Safety and Environmental Management major…Son of Debbie and Stephen Fusco…Born Brandon M. Fusco…Resides in Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania.
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