Diminutive Forsett seen as asset in new scheme
The new zone-blocking scheme should take advantage of the second-year players small stature and quick feet.
The fact that hes in an NFL uniform at all shows just how good the second-year running back is at beating the odds.
Despite putting up gaudy numbers as a high schooler at Grace Prep Academy in Arlington, Texas, the best offer Forsett had to play running back in his home state was a chance to walk-on a Division-II school. Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech? Not interested.
I went to camps at all those schools, and they said I was too small, said the 5-foot-8 back. They said maybe I could be a defensive player and walk on. No schools in Texas offered me a scholarship. I remember a small school, Abilene Christian, they wanted me to walk on.
Its a blessing though. I dont regret anything that happened. That trial built me into what I am.
At California when Texas schools werent interested, Forsett sent tapes to school on the west coast and the Bears took notice Forsett continued to put up big numbers, but 5-8 was still 5-8, so he wasnt drafted until the seventh round last year.
Yet here Forsett is, still undersized but in his second training camp. With Maurice Morris gone to Detroit, Forsett is all but assured of a roster spot, and he may be more than just a third-stringer who helps on special teams. Throughout the first few days of camp, coaches have raved about Forsetts improvement, and the new zone-blocking scheme installed by offensive coordinator Greg Knapp seems to suit the second-year back.
Hes bigger, stronger and faster than when he came out of college, and then this scheme fits Justin, said Seahawks coach Jim Mora. You watch him, and hes got a real good initial burst. Hes able to put his foot in the ground and change directions quickly, and thats what you want in the zone scheme.
Forsett, who returned punts for the Seahawks last season, averaging 9.9 yards per return, figures his size could even be an advantage in the new offense.
When Ive got these big guys out in front of me, its kind of an advantage when Im back there standing at 5-8 and the defense can barely see me when I make my cut, he said. So its a good scheme for me.
And even at 5-8, 194-pounds, Forsett is hardly a pushover. During Saturday nights practice, the first one in pads, he got everyones attention by lighting up linebacker David Hawthorne in a blitz pickup drill. He drove the 240-pound linebacker back far enough to knock over Knapp as well.
From the time he came in last year, hes made plays, said fellow running back T.J. Duckett. The little guy, he can go. Hes tough.
A role as a featured back isnt in Forsetts immediate future, but that doesnt stop him from dreaming. And when an in-state Division-II scholarship isnt offering a scholarship, and you still end up in the NFL, theres no reason to stop dreaming.
I know I can play with anybody, but other people have looked at it differently because of my size, he said. I try to go out there and just work hard and get better each and every day, and I know with a lot of work I can be up there with the best ... Its just opportunity. When I get an opportunity I have to seize it. I cant mess up when they give me an opportunity.
Herald Writer John Boyle: email@example.com. For more Seahawks coverage, check out the Seahawks blog at heraldnet.com/seahawksblog
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