News and Notes on Nebraska's Junior Day
Photo Credit: Aaron Babcock

Recruit Profile: Masry Mapieu

February 10, 2017

Nebraska is in rare form in 2018, considering the Huskers have at least three elite-level football prospects that have already emerged at this point. Even better? The Huskers have already landed two of them in Cam Jurgens and Masry Mapieu.

Mapieu, who attends York High School, was offered by Nebraska following an impressive showing on the summer camp circuit in June. After committing to Nebraska, Mapieu tallied 75 tackles from his nose guard position for the Dukes. Mapieu’s efforts earned him first team all-state honors while also helping lead York to a 7-3 record and the first round of the Class B playoffs. He is also currently listed as a three star recruit with an 85.3 rating on Hail Varsity’s composite.

Who Else Was Interested

Mapieu saw his recruiting stock soar over the summer, as several impressive camp showings led to Iowa, Iowa State and Central Florida all offering the talented defensive tackle. While those were impressive offers, the really impressive offer came on June 13 when UCLA swooped into Lincoln and extended an offer to Mapieu. It marked the first time in a long time that UCLA came to Nebraska to recruit a player.

Despite the impressive offers, Mapieu immediately shut things down and committed to Nebraska upon receiving an offer from the Huskers on June 17. Regardless, several schools have stayed in touch with the talented defensive tackle, as Mapieu has shared that Notre Dame has remained in consistent contact with him.

Eye Test

Mapieu currently measures in at 6-5 and 280 pounds and is a massive individual. He has a huge lower body and an upper body with plenty of room to fill out. Mapieu did not start lifting weights until his sophomore year of high school, meaning  he has tremendous potential to grow and get stronger as he continues to mature. Mapieu’s frame and potential to grow makes him an ideal fit for the nose guard position in Nebraska’s 3-4 scheme. When Mapieu is finished filling out, I would expect him to measure in at 6-5 and at least 320 pounds, making him a massive presence in the middle of Nebraska’s defense.

https://www.hudl.com/video/3/5465599/581a387b688ec257e0d07cc3

Strengths

His natural strength: Mapieu is simply immovable at the high school level, as he has the natural size and strength to completely dominate the line of scrimmage. The scary thing is Mapieu’s strength is only going to improve, especially now that he has embraced the weight room and has seen his strength totals jump noticeably since his sophomore season. Mapieu’s strength on the football field will also improve as he refines his technique and becomes more consistent with his pad level. The most important aspect of playing nose guard is being able to anchor down against double teams and hold his ground, Mapieu has the ideal size and strength to do that, making him a perfect fit for Bob Diaco’s defense.

His hand use: I was pleasantly surprised with Mapieu’s hand use when I scouted his junior season. The big defensive tackle did a solid job of striking with his hands and getting extension on film. This showed a tremendous improvement for Mapieu from his sophomore to junior year, as he did a much better job of controlling the action between him and the opposing offensive linemen and then getting rid of them instead of allowing them to stay engaged. This is usually one of the toughest areas for a young defensive tackle to improve on, so it is great to see that Mapieu is already showing promise in this area.

His motor:
Mapieu plays hard on film, something you love to see out of a big guy with talent. Mapieu shows tremendous hustle from sideline to sideline on defense, getting off of blocks and running down ball carriers with his surprising speed. Perhaps his most impressive performance came against McCook, as he was all over the field against the Bison’s triple option offense and shut it down. Parrella loves high motor guys on his defense, and Mapieu will fit right in to his coach’s mentality.

His potential: If you have some time, go watch Mapieu’s sophomore film and then watch his junior film. Mapieu doesn’t even look the same person in his junior film, having taken a huge step forward as a junior. This is just a small example of the enormous potential that Mapieu will bring with him to Lincoln. Mapieu didn’t begin playing organized football until his freshman year of high school, meaning he is still a raw player at this point with plenty of room to improve. Nebraska may need to be patient with Mapieu in his freshman year as he adapts to a more difficult defensive scheme in Lincoln, but if they stick with him they could be rewarded by a truly special player once Mapieu puts it all together.

Weaknesses

Pad level: Mapieu plays too high right now, allowing opposing blockers to get underneath him and forcing him to play from a less athletic and less powerful position. Mapieu has gotten away with this so far in his career simply because he is bigger and stronger then everyone else, but if he tries to play high against Jerald Foster and Tanner Farmer as a freshman, he is going to be put on his back. Mapieu needs to work on exploding low out of his stance and then staying low throughout the play in order to be consistently effective from his nose guard position.

His foot quickness: Mapieu is never going to be the quickest guy, but I’d still like to see him work on getting his footwork a bit quicker when he gets to Lincoln. Mapieu has a tendency to stop his feet and lunge into contact instead of keeping his feet underneath him for a sustained push. This leads to him playing off balance and being easier for opposing linemen to block. Keeping his feet underneath him will make Mapieu a quicker and stronger player against the run while also helping him become more of a presence as a pass rusher.

Becoming more consistent with his hand use: As I stated earlier, I was pleasantly surprised by Mapieu’s ability to use his hands as a junior. But Mapieu still needs to be more consistent with his hand placement if he wants to become a truly great defensive lineman. Mapieu doesn’t always hit home with his initial strike forcing him to play from an off balance position. I’d also like to see Mapieu make better use of his hands as a pass rusher, as he is currently relying on the bulrush a bit too much for my liking.

Conclusion

Nebraska offering Mapieu prior to his junior season was a gamble by John Parrella, considering he was still a very raw prospect that hadn’t found a role on York’s defense until late in his sophomore season. However, Nebraska’s gamble appears to be paying off big time after Mapieu took a huge step forward as a junior and is now one of the top defensive lineman prospects in the Midwest. Mapieu is also a tremendous fit for Nebraska’s new defense under Bob Diaco and he can immediately get to work at the nose guard position. Great early find by the Cornhuskers, who landed the two top prospects in the state 18 months before signing day.

College comparison: Taller version of Arkansas defensive tackle Bijhon Jackson

Pro comparison: Chicago Bears nose guard Eddie Goldman

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