|Draft prospect uses social networking to try to break through||04.21.10 at 8:44 pm ET|
Looking for a local underdog on draft weekend? Check out Conte Cuttino.
The running back, who had 3,067 collegiate rushing yards for Stony Brook in New York, is a 5-foot-10, 200-pounder who has popped up on the radar screens of NFL teams with impressive Pro Day numbers and workout stats that compare favorably to many of the elite running backs. (His 4.44 time in the 40 would have placed him fourth among the running backs at February’s combine.)
Cuttino was off the charts in his career at Stony Brook, including a junior season when he finished with 1,195 rushing yards, an average of six yards per carry, and six games where he topped 100-plus rushing yards (and two where he broke the 200-yard barrier). The 21-year-old has a size and skill set compares to Brian Westbrook in that he’s a running back who has the ability to catch passes out of the backfield.
What has really made him stand out is his aggressiveness when it comes to building pre-draft buzz. In the months leading up to the selection process, Cuttino reached out to draft insiders and pro football writers via social networking sites such as Twitter for interviews. He also has an impressive website, as well as a blog that details his thoughts, as well as what others are saying about him. In addition — like any prospect — he’s also harnessed the power of YouTube, posting his own highlight video.
“I’m just trying to reach out to anybody and everybody in hopes of getting my name out there,” he said. “Coming from a small school, it’s a challenge just for people to know who you are. Hopefully, it’ll help out in the long run.”
Despite the fact he has crazy numbers, he knows that coming from a small school, there are preconceptions about his ability to make it at the next level.
“It’s hard,” he acknowledged. “Despite what you do in these workouts and the numbers you put up in college or how you do at a Pro Day, you always get that tag line. My whole attitude is that you have to take the opportunity that’s placed in front of you and smash it. If you’re average, they won’t even look at you.
“There are a lot of guys in the league who are from small schools, and they all know you can’t measure the heart of a player. That’s where a lot of teams go wrong.”
He has worked out for several teams and spoken with several others. The days leading up to this weekend’s draft have been “nerve-wracking,” but he remains “definitely excited” about the whole thing, and is “looking forward to a phone call” from whoever takes him.
The Long Island native would love to be picked by an area team, but knows that wherever he ends up, he’ll be living a dream he’s had since he was 7 years old.
“I’m a man of faith, and I know throughout this whole process, God has had my back and is guiding me the whole way,” he said. “I can guarantee to any team that takes me that I will be a pick they will remember. My character is up there, and my playing ability is definitely up there. You can count on me.”
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