Vlad Ducasse is one of the great sports stories to come out of Stamford. Plucked from the hallways of Stamford High School because of his size, and having recently moved from Haiti with little knowledge of English, coach Kevin Jones got Ducasse to join the Black Knights’ football team. At the time, Ducasse didn’t even know how to put on shoulder pads.
The rest is a poor man’s version of The Blind Side. Ducasse earned a scholarship to UMass, developed his game and now is considered likely to be picked anywhere from the bottom of the first round to the third round of the upcoming NFL Draft.
Ducasse’s excitement has been tempered by the catastrophe in his homeland, where all his family survived the earthquake and Ducasse was able to send over 20,000 bottles of Vitamin Water.
I interviewed Ducasse Sunday afternoon — he got back to me in the third quarter of the Jets-Colts game! — for a story that will be running in Thursday’s paper, and he said one of the motivators is to use some of the money he hopes to earn from the NFL to help the people of Haiti.
Ducasse is in Mobile, Ala., this week and will play in Saturday’s Senior Bowl. During yesterday’s first practice, Ducasse was engaged in a one on one blocking drill with Wisconsin’s O’Brien Schofield, who earned defensive MVP honors at the East-West Shrine Game last weekend, when Schofield tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.
Ducasse was not at fault but shaken up by the incident.
“What happened to him, I’m a little down about that right now,” Ducasse told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
Look for a complete column on Ducasse Thursday in The Advocate.