Each Monday, Wednesday and Friday leading up to the NFL Draft April 22nd, Buffalobills.com will profile one of the more highly touted prospects at each position in the 2010 draft class. A position group video preview will accompany each of these feature stories in the media lounge featuring the top five prospects at each position. We continue our pre-draft feature series with Illinois guard Jon Asamoah.
Injury in your last collegiate season is never a good thing when you’re an NFL draft prospect. For Illinois guard Jon Asamoah it was never a worry, as he lined up at right guard for the Illini for 37 straight games. That all changed however, the first day he showed up for practice at the Senior Bowl this past January.
The durable Asamoah suffered a freak injury fracturing his right shoulder blade and has been healing ever since.
“It was the first day, first practice, in one-on-ones,” said Asamoah. “No surgery, just waiting for the bones to come together. I went home to have it checked out.”
Asamoah’s Senior Bowl week was over in a day as he flew home to Illinois to have physicians provide him with a proper course of action. Widely considered one of the top two or three guards in the 2010 class, Asamoah is scheduled to work out for NFL talent evaluators on April 8.
As healthy as the technically sound guard has been in his career prior to his recent setback, Asamoah is all too familiar with illness and afflictions.
“My dad’s been real sick since I was young,” said Asamoah whose father is from Ghana. “He’s had diabetes since he was about my age and didn’t take care of it until one day when I was in third grade. He had a big episode and hasn’t been able to work ever since. He had a kidney transplant last spring.”
With his father’s health issues and a mother that works with the disabled, Asamoah spent a lot of time in hospitals. But those experiences also inspired him to serve his community as he was a Wendy’s High School Heisman nominee for outstanding achievement in academics, athletics and community service.
The Chicago native was also the recipient of the Cook County Circuit Court – Black History award for academics and community service.
The impact of his father’s condition was clear after he enrolled at Illinois. Asamoah majored in Community health and Health administration.
“It’s something I knew and something I looked at,” said Asamoah. “My dad’s situation taught me about taking care of your body. We don’t have sweets around the house. I’m big but it wasn’t because of sweets. I must just eat a lot.”
Since his injury in late January Asamoah has been forced to convince scouts and NFL team executives that he can succeed long term in the league at the guard position with his words as individual workouts are still not an option.
“Everybody wants you to be versatile,” he said. “Can you rep every play at left [guard] or right? Does either side bother you? They want to know all of that and I’ll be working on everything. You need to be versatile. That’ll keep you on a roster.”
Provided he can return to his durable self Asamoah should not have concerns about staying on an NFL roster. With a well-rounded skill set and a nasty demeanor to his game, the interior lineman should not see round three go by without hearing his name.
“I want them to know my mentality and how focused I am on football,” he said of his prospective NFL team. “How much I care about what I’m doing, how competitive I am, how I hate when they tell me someone’s better than I am. I’m always going to do my job and you’re never going to have to worry about me.”