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Rico Bussey

Scouting Notes: Rico Bussey Jr, WR, Hawaii

Redshirt Senior | 6’1″ 193 lbs | Lawton, OK

 

A receiver with precise route running ability who is looking to prove he is the same receiver he was before his ACL injury

 

Overview:

Rico Bussey Jr. is a Redshirt Senior transfer from North Texas who is currently playing for Hawaii. While with the Mean Green, Bussey played in a total of 34 career games. Throughout his tenure with North Texas, he was named to 1st Team All C-USA following his 2018 performance. There is a good chance he would have doubled up on that performance in 2019 if it weren’t for him suffering a torn ACL that ended his season just two games in. 2020 will be a year for Bussey to prove his 2018 wasn’t a one hit wonder and that he is still a reliable target on the outside.

Strengths:

– He catches most throws with his hands rather than his body, and plucks balls out of the air
– Large catch radius
– Sees the field and tracks the ball downfield well
– Willing to make catches outside the framework of his body
– Savvy route runner. Cuts his routes short or comes off his route completely to help his QB when he’s in trouble
– Uses precise footwork and initial speed to create separation and is able to fine holes in zone coverage
– Quick release off the line of scrimmage
– Possesses an initial burst and an ability to accelerate that other receivers do not
– Able to stop and change direction on a dime
– Hard cuts when coming out of his breaks

Areas to improve:

– Most of his snaps come from the left side of the field and on the outside. It is rare to see Bussey on the right side or in the slot
– Not a consistent blocker
– Poor contact balance. He gets knocked off his feet and to the ground easily
– Struggles to break tackles and gain YAC
– Overpowered by CBs and SAFs of stronger competition
– He is caught off guard when jammed at the line of scrimmage and has difficulty freeing himself
– Fast, but does not possess break away speed to beat defenders of stronger competition
– Has shown he can run an abundance of routes, but he runs the same four routes the most
– Not proven as an every down receiver. He is pulled from the field multiple times a game in the middle of drives

 

Injury concerns:

– Hamstring injury suffered against UTSA on 11/24/18
– Tore ACL in second game of the season against Cal on 9/14/19 (missed entire season)

Projection:

Despite his size, Bussey may be considered a prime slot receiver in the NFL with his initial burst and his ability to accelerate. That, along with his precise footwork, are enticing aspects of his game. Bussey could potentially be taken late on day 2 or early day 3 of the upcoming NFL draft.

What to watch for in 2020:

Can Bussey prove that he is the same receiver that he was prior to the torn ACL he suffered in 2019? Prior to his 2019 season-ending injury, Bussey was though to be a mid-draft selection. He will need to show that he can still be as precise of a route runner as he was prior to his severe injury. Will Bussey show that he can be more physical in not only the pass game, but the run game as well? He struggles to fight through being jammed at the line of scrimmage and he looks timid at times when blocking for his teammates.