Who is this guy? IUP CB Akwasi Owusu-Ansah Sporting News Comments (1)More Login or register to post commentsPrinter-friendly versionTuesday, Mar. 23, 2010 - 12:10 p.m. ET NFL teams know big-time college production doesn't necessarily mean a player will be a great pro. For this prospect, the weeks left before the draft will be spent answering big questions about his identity. Overlooked or overrated? Pull out a map and point your right index finger to northeast Pittsburgh. Between your first and second knuckle sits a tiny town named Indiana, where the Division II Crimson Hawks produce NFL talent like Jamaica does hockey players. But they found him there at Indiana University Pennsylvania, all right. The good people of Blesto Scouting rolled into Indiana two years ago to analyze Akwasi Owusu-Ansah. Only there was one problem: It was snowing. So instead of losing the moment, instead of potentially losing for good a chance to run in front of scouts, Owusu-Ansah said he'd run inside. In a hallway. "We moved some tables and chairs, and I ran," he says. And his time? "They never told me. But the scouts started coming to our practices and games after that." NFL scouts like to brag about their ability to find small-school players, the next Jerry Rice or Walter Payton, who eventually develop into big-name stars. And Owusu-Ansah is intriguing, if for no other reason than he fits the mold of a Division I player. He has the size (6-1, 205) and speed (sub-4.5 40) that jump out at NFL scouts but doesn't have the advantage of having played against elite competition. A shoulder injury suffered late this season kept him from playing in the postseason all-star games and has hurt his draft stock. Owusu-Ansah has been in Naples, Fla., the past two months, working out with a group of college stars while his shoulder heals. He turned in a solid performance at the NFL Combine and will have another workout for scouts later this month. "I don't care where he's from -- he can play," says Cincinnati wideout Mardy Gilyard, who is working out with Owusu- Ansah in Naples and whose stock rose after a big Senior Bowl performance. "Football is a game. Doesn't matter where you're from. If you can play, you can play anywhere." Four years ago, no one thought Owusu-Ansah could play anywhere in Division I. Not Ohio State (he grew up in Columbus), not anyone in the Big Ten or even the MAC. IUP coach Lou Tepper, who coached at Illinois in the early 1990s, found him because of recruiting connections in the state. "I didn't know what to expect when I got to (IUP)," Owusu-Ansah says. "I just wanted to play. Once the scouts found me, it gave me more of a sense of urgency. It's every kid's dream to play in the NFL." Akwasi, he will tell you, means "born on Sunday." "Then again, my brother's name means 'born on Monday,' " Owusu- Ansah says, laughing. "If you go to Ghana, Akwasi is a very common name. A lot of men were born on Sunday." Leave it to the NFL to somehow find those who can play on Sunday. — Matt Hayes If Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie can do it ... Go to camp, adjust to the game, start out on special teams—and the next thing you know, you're starting in the NFL. In the past two drafts, the Cardinals have selected a player from the NCAA's lower divisions. Dominique Ro dgers-Cromartie (I-AA Tennessee State) is one of the game's best cornerbacks, and Greg Toler (Division II St. Paul's) is a p otential starter at corner in 2010. Akwasi Owusu-Ansah's 4.47 40 speed will start the process in any team's camp. Cardinals G.M. Rod Graves says: "The player, in many instances, will have to get adjusted to the speed of the game and what's required of them to play at the NFL level. There may be a little bit of a lack of education in terms of coaching technique; they may not have had the ideal weight program, nutrition -- all those things he may have gotten the benefit of at a larger college. But if he has the ability, we will get him on the field." — Matt Hayes Scouting report What's to like: He's got NFL size (6-1, 205), NFL speed. He's got punt return ability and kickoff return ability. He'll develop and play special teams his first year in the league, and then you hope he can become a starter. In this year's draft, the number of guys with his kind of size is few. What scares me: He played at a lower level, so the step up in competition is going to be big for him. I don't think he's a very instinctive type of player. His ball skills are kind of iffy. He hasn't gone up against the bigger and better wide receivers. He's raw fundamentally. Final verdict: No later than the third round, probably second. — As told to Dennis Dillon This story first appeared in the March 15, 2010 edition of Sporting News magazine. If you are not receiving the magazine, subscribe today, or pick up a copy, available at most Barnes & Noble, Borders and Hudson Retail outlets.