June 10, 2013

Lassiter looks to be next in line of high school TE's to OL

Central Michigan has slowly turned into an offensive line factory over the past decade, as they have sent players such as Joe Staley, Adam Kieft, Eric Ghiaucic, Drew Mormino and Colin Miller to the NFL. Of course, the Chippewas most recent NFL addition was the No. 1 overall pick in Eric Fisher.

By now just about everyone knows the story of Eric Fisher. Lightly regarded out of high school as a player with limited experience on the OL, Fisher developed after beginning his high school career as a tight end. A player looking to take a similar path is Portage (Mich.) Central OL Hunter Lassiter.

"That was awesome to see," said Lassiter on Fisher being the No. 1 overall pick. "He was so good last year, and he was also a tight end in high school, so it relates to me. But it means a lot that the coaches see some of that potential in me, and it played a big part in my decision to commit."

Lassiter committed to CMU last month over interest from Toledo, Eastern Michigan, Cincinnati, Western Michigan and Michigan State.

"I chose CMU because I just really felt comfortable there, both with the school and the coaches," added Lassiter. "The coaches were real cool, and I really like my offensive line coach (Mike Cummings) a lot. That was a big thing to me, since he will likely be my position coach for the next four years."

Playing both fullback and tight end in high school, the 6-foot-5 and 255 pound Lassiter is being viewed as an athletic fit on the offensive line. Unlike Fisher, he does not plan on making that move while in high school, but he still feels the transition to the trenches will be smooth.

"I don't think the move will be that bad," said Lassiter. "I will have to gain a little weight and add some strength, but the big thing is I have tight end feet. I feel like I have quick feet, and the coaches see me as an athletic guy at tackle who can match up with pass rushers at the next level."

Also a standout on the basketball court as a center/forward, Lassiter uses basketball to stay in shape and develop his footwork. He weighed in the 280+ range following the football season, but has since dropped more than 40 pounds in an effort to be more effective on the hardwood. Lassiter plays for ACB Bank Hoops AAU squad in the offseason as he continues to develop his game.

"I think the biggest thing basketball helps with is you have to have quick hips," added Lassiter. "When I'm doing post moves in basketball, it really helps with the footwork needed for football and there are a lot of similar movements."

Lassiter is a player who has a lot of potential going forward for the Chippewas. He tore is ACL, MCL and meniscus in his left knee following his sophomore season of football, and that injury played a big part in his sleeper status. But he has similar potential to guys like Staley, Fisher and Rocky Weaver who had the athleticism of a tight end, but the size and strength of an offensive tackle.

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