Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Virginia Tech CB Kyle Fuller
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. While he hasn’t been brought in for a pre draft visit that we know of, Virginia Tech cornerback Kyle Fuller is a player that the Steelers could have interest in drafting next month, so here is his profile. Thomas has done these profiles for the NFL for several years and I know that many of you enjoy reading them.
KYLE BRANDON FULLER
Virginia Polytechnic (Tech) Institute Hokies
Mount St. Joseph High School
When the Fuller brothers get together to talk about the “family business” at the dinner table, defensive schemes and statistics are more likely to be the topic of conversation, as brother, Corey, a wide receiver with the Detroit Lions, is smart enough to let the three other brothers monopolize the discussion.
Oldest, wisest and the “grizzled veteran” of the four football-playing Fullers is Vincent, an All-Atlantic Coast Conference defensive back who was the first of the quartet to play at Virginia Tech (2001-04). He was later drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, playing safety for the team until 2010. He spent the 2011 campaign with both Detroit and New England before being released.
Corey was first a track performer at Kansas University for two seasons before transferring to Virginia Tech to test his football skills in 2010. He would be joined by Kyle, an incoming freshman at the time, who would go on to start forty-two games for the Hokies over the last four seasons. Corey was selected by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, spending last season on the team’s practice squad.
Kyle did not have to be the lone Fuller on campus after Corey graduated, though. In 2013, younger brother, Kendall not only joined the Virginia Tech program, he became an instant sensation. With Kyle manning the strong-side cornerback position, Kendall excelled at the “whip” linebacker slot. Both would earn All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors last season, a first for brothers at the school.
Even though Kyle missed the final three games and four total contests after undergoing surgery for a sports hernia, he received All-American second-team honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. The WCFF All-America team is selected by the head coaches and sports information directors of the 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools and certified by UHY Advisors, a New Haven-based accounting firm. Walter Camp, “The Father of American Football,” first selected an All-America team in 1889.
By making one of the five nationally recognized All-America squads (Associated Press, Walter Camp, Sporting News, Football Writers Association, American Football Coaches Association), Fuller becomes the eighth Tech cornerback to earn All-American honors to accomplish that feat. Other Hokie cornerbacks to be recognized were: Jayron Hosley (2010), Victor “Macho” Harris (2008), Brandon Flowers (2006-2007), Jimmy Williams (2005), DeAngelo Hall (2003), Ronyell Whitaker (2001) and Anthony Midget (1999).
“I would like to thank God first and foremost, because without him, none of this would be possible,” Fuller said. “It’s an honor to be selected for this achievement and I am very thankful.” It also gave the younger Fuller “bragging rights” when he talks with Vincent.
Both have gone down similar paths during their playing days at Virginia Tech. Vincent began as a nickel back, later moving to boundary cornerback before shifting to safety. In fifty games at Tech, he delivered 142 tackles with eight interceptions, nineteen pass break-ups and three fumble recoveries.
Kyle’s career started out at nickel back. He moved to “whip” linebacker as a sophomore before taking over strong-side cornerback duties his junior season. In fifty games for the Hokies, he registered 173 tackles with six interceptions, twenty-one pass deflections and four forced fumbles. In 2011, he led the nation’s defensive backs by delivering 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Similar to his senior season at Virginia Tech, Kyle’s senior season at Mount St. Joseph High School was marred by an injury (finger) that cost him considerable playing time. He received a three-star rating from Scout.com, as that recruiting service ranked him 83rd in the nation among cornerbacks. Super Prep rated him the 14th-best overall player in the Mid-Atlantic region and ESPN listed him 42nd on their national cornerback list.
As a junior, Fuller returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns. He also scored on a punt return, along with reaching the end zone with a kickoff return that season. As a senior, he picked off another pass before his finger injury sent him to the sidelines. He returned to play in the Maryland Crab Bowl.
As a true freshman at Virginia Tech, Fuller appeared in all fourteen games, starting seven contests as the team’s nickel back in 2010. He delivered 32 tackles, including four for losses and also broke up six passes, including three on third-down snaps. Fuller split time between nickel back, whip linebacker and field cornerback in 2011. The second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference choice led the nation’s defensive backs with 14.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage that included 4.5 sacks. He also picked off two passes and batted down seven others.
Fuller would remain at cornerback for the remainder of his career, but during his junior season, in addition to taking 749 defensive snaps, he was on the field for 77 plays with the special team units. He posted 52 tackles, including three stops-for-loss and added to his interception figures with two more picks while deflecting five other throws.
The once 160-pound incoming freshman had grown to a muscular 195-pound defender by the time 2013 preseason camp opened. Fuller earned Super Iron Hokie honors for his performance in the training room, where he boasted a 330-pound bench press, 370-pound front squat and 305-pound power clean. Before undergoing sports hernia/core muscle surgery on November 19th, he made 24 tackles, two for losses, along with batting away ten passes and picking off two others for the third-straight season.
Fuller started 42-of-50 games at Virginia Tech – fourteen as a nickel back/whip linebacker and twenty-eight at cornerback … Recorded 173 tackles (129 solos) with 4.5 sacks for minus 39 yards, 23.5 stops for losses of 82 yards, four forced fumbles and one fumble recovery … Field three short punts, blocking two of those kicks to gain 41 yards in returns, including a touchdown in the end zone … Intercepted six passes and deflected twenty-one other throws.
Fuller became the eighth cornerback in school history to receiver All-American honors when he was named to the Walter Camp Football Foundation second-team … Added first-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors from the league’s coaches, despite only seeing action in eight full games and a limited amount of snaps vs. Miami … Underwent core muscle (sports hernia) surgery on November 19th, sitting out Tech’s final three games vs. Maryland, Virginia and UCLA, as he also sat out an earlier match-up vs. Boston College … Recorded 24 tackles (17 solos) with two stops for losses of six yards … Intercepted two passes and deflected ten others … Returned a blocked punt 23 yards vs. Marshall … The team captain was on the field for 438 plays on defense and 69 more on special teams … Returned an interception for 11 yards, also adding four tackles and two breakups in the season opener vs. Alabama … Had a QB pressure and a tackle vs. Western Carolina … Made three tackles at East Carolina … Blocked a punt that was returned for a touchdown while adding four breakups and four tackles in the triple overtime win over Marshall … Forced a fumble and made three tackles, two for loss, at Georgia Tech … Intercepted a pass to start the fourth quarter and finished the win over North Carolina making six tackles … Had three tackles and three breakups in the win over Pittsburgh … Saw limited action in the Duke and dressed but did not play at Boston College due to a groin injury … Made the start at Miami, but was in on just two defensive snaps and one special teams play … Did not dress for the Maryland game due to injury … Had surgery on November 19th to repair a core muscle … Missed the Virginia game, as well as the Sun Bowl vs. UCLA … Earned Super Iron Hokie honors in summer max testing … Posted personal bests in the bench press (330), front squat (370) and power clean (305).
An honorable mention All-ACC selection by the league’s coaches, Fuller started at strong-side cornerback, recording 52 tackles (44 solos), which ranked fifth on the tea … Made three stops behind the line of scrimmage, as he deflected passes and intercepted two others … Played in 749 defensive snaps and contributed on 77 special teams plays … Made a game-changing interception in overtime to get the Hokies the ball back and eventually claim victory over Georgia Tech … Intercepted a pass for the second-straight game vs. Austin Peay … Added three tackles in limited action at Pittsburgh, leaving the game early due to a shoulder injury … Broke up a pass vs. Bowling Green and was in on six solo tackles vs. Cincinnati … Followed with six tackles and a break-up at North Carolina … Forced a fumble and made four tackles vs. Duke, coming up with four tackles at Miami … Had eight tackles, including one for loss vs. Florida State and delivered six tackles at Boston College … Broke up two passes and registered six tackles in the win over Rutgers in the Russell Athletic Bowl … For the second straight year, Fuller was honored as the defensive player who demonstrated the most outstanding leadership during the off-season and spring practice.
Fuller earned second-team All-ACC honors, starting all fourteen games, split evenly between nickel back/whip linebacker and cornerback, as he participated in 850 snaps on defense and 112 on special teams … Recorded a career-high 65 tackles (46 solos), ranking fourth on the team … Fuller not only led the Tech team, but also the nation’s defensive backs, as he registered 14.5 stops for losses of 58 yards, ranking fourth on the squad with 4.5 sacks for minus 39 yards … Added seven pass breakups, two interceptions, five quarterback pressures, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery … Was in on four tackles, including two for losses vs. Appalachian State, as he recovered a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown in the third quarter … Had four tackles, including three solo and two tackles for lost yardage at East Carolina, as he also had his first career interception and was credited with a pass break up, earning ACC Defensive Back of the Week honors … Registered five tackles, including four solo, one and a half sacks, a breakup and two QB pressures in the win over Arkansas State, as he also had a nine-yard punt return … Came up with four tackles, including three solo in the win at Marshall and collected eight tackles with a stop-for-loss in the win over Miami … Had a big game at Duke, leading the team with eight tackles, including two for loss, as he also came up with a sack for 10 lost yards, his first career fumble recovery and three pass breakups. He also made a key open-field tackle on fourth down to stop Duke’s potential game-winning drive late in the game … Moved to whip linebacker for the Georgia Tech game and was credited with four tackles … Returned to cornerback for the North Carolina game and had five tackles, including two for losses and a sack … Added four tackles, including a forced fumble on a sack late in the second quarter at Virginia … Started at whip in the ACC Championship Game vs. Clemson and tallied eight tackles, including two for lost yardage … Had an interception in the Sugar Bowl vs. Michigan … The recipient of the President’s Award, given to the defensive player who demonstrates the most outstanding leadership during the off-season program and spring workouts.
Fuller appeared in every game, starting seven contests at nickel back as a true freshman, recording 32 tackles (22 solos) with a forced fumble, four stops-for-loss and six pass break-ups … Played 70 snaps in a start vs. Duke and had five tackles and a breakup … Started in the Georgia Tech game, contributing five tackles and a pass breakup over 61 plays … Also started at Miami where he had five tackles, a stop-for-loss, forced a fumble and broke up a pass … Followed wit a season-high 10 tackles, including three behind the line, and two pass breakups in a start vs. Virginia.
2012 Season … Left the Pittsburgh game after spraining his shoulder.
2013 Season … A core muscle injury (groin/sports hernia) that required surgery to repair on November 19th forced Fuller to sit out the Boston College, Maryland, Virginia and UCLA games, along with limiting him to two plays vs. Miami.
4.49 in the 40-yard dash … 1.59 10-yard dash … 2.61 20-yard dash … 4.19 20-yard shuttle … 6.90 three-cone drill … 38 ½-inch vertical jump … 10’-8” broad jump (ranked third among all cornerbacks and safeties at the 2014 NFL Scouting Combine) … Bench pressed 225 pounds 12 times … 32 7/8-inch arm length … 9 3/8-inch hands … 77-inch wingspan.
Fuller attended Mount St. Joseph (Baltimore, Md.) High School, playing football for head coach Chip Armstrong … His senior season was marred by an injury (finger) that cost him considerable playing time … Received a three-star rating from Scout.com, as that recruiting service ranked him 83rd in the nation among cornerbacks … Super Prep rated him the 14th-best overall player in the Mid-Atlantic region and ESPN listed him 42nd on their national cornerback list … As a junior, Fuller returned two of his four interceptions for touchdowns. He also scored on a punt return, along with reaching the end zone with a kickoff return that season … As a senior, he picked off another pass before his finger injury sent him to the sidelines … Returned to play in the Maryland Crab Bowl.
Fuller is a Finance major … Son of Nina Dorsey-Fuller and Vincent Fuller … Has three brothers that all played football at Virginia Tech … Oldest brother, Vincent, was an All-Atlantic Coast Conference defensive back who was the first of the quartet to play at Virginia Tech (2001-04). He was later drafted by the Tennessee Titans in the fourth round of the 2005 NFL Draft, playing safety for the team until 2010. He spent the 2011 campaign with both Detroit and New England before being released … Brother, Corey, was a track performer at Kansas University for two seasons before transferring to Virginia Tech to test his football skills in 2010. The wide receiver was selected by the Detroit Lions in the sixth round of the 2013 draft, spending last season on the team’s practice squad … Youngest brother, Kendall, was Kyle’s teammate at Virginia Tech last season, becoming the first brother tandem at the school to receive All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors in the same season … Born Kyle Brandon Fuller on 2/16/92 in Baltimore, Maryland.