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Trenchmen’s Corner: Scouting Report on Michigan State OT AJ Arcuri

Former CFL scout Dave Van Nett breaks down the Michigan State Spartans offensive lineman AJ Arcuri, and he was extremely impressed with the young man’s abilities to move.

AJ Arcuri is one of the most underrated prospects in the entire draft. He had a dominating performance at the Hula Bowl this year. Check out this Trenchmen’s Corner!
  • Anthony “AJ” Arcuri – Michigan State University
  • High School – Olentangy Liberty
  • Hometown – Powell, Ohio
  • Parents – Anthony & Marci / 3 Siblings
  • Jersey # – 76
  • Position – OT
  • Height – 6’7*
  • Weight – 308*
  • Hand – 11 inches*
  • Arm – 34.25*
  • Wing – 83.5*

* Official Hula Bowl Measurements

Personal:

Anthony “AJ” Arcuri is the third of four children of Anthony and Marci Arcuri from Powell, Ohio.  Anthony is an engineer at Honda/Acura and his mother, Marci, is a middle school teacher.  AJ attended Olentangy Liberty High school where he lettered in both football and basketball.  

Overview:

In my article on NFL Draft Diamonds, Trenchmen’s Corner: Breaking Down the Michigan State Spartans Offensive Line Group, I introduced AJ and his teammates as one of the most experienced offensive lines in the NCAA.  AJ has shown incredible growth and leadership through his years at Michigan State University (MSU).  AJ has logged 1677 offensive snaps in his career, third to his two graduating classmates Matt Allen and Kevin Jarvis.  AJ is a four-year letter winner who played in 40 career games with 25 starts (five in 2019, seven in 2020, 13 in 2021).  He started 17 career games at left tackle (five in 2019, seven in 2020, five in 2021) and eight at right tackle (2021).  He was named to the Academic All-Big Ten five times, joining a group of just five Spartans in program history to earn that distinction.  AJ graduated with his bachelor’s degree in packaging in December 2020.  AJ was also named a semifinalist for the 2021 William V. Campbell Trophy, presented by the National Football Foundation. To top off his career AJ was invited to two of the four All-Star Games, the Hula Bowl and the NFLPA Bowl.

2022 Hula Bowl – AJ was deservingly invited to the 2022 Hula Bowl where he played with Team Aina.  I had the honor of not only being the Senior Scout for this game, I also had the honor of coaching the offensive line with the legendary Tony Wise.  AJ showed incredible leadership and knowledge throughout the week.  His teammates looked to him for guidance and leadership.  He showed his technical skill each day in practice against some of the best players in the country.  On the field he showed the technical skills, aggression and focus it takes to be in the NFL.  Off the field he was respectful, and very professional, both desired qualities in a pro athlete.   

Film Review:  

I have watched the entire 2020 & 2021 season of the MSU Offensive line.  AJ has been just a part of this amazing offensive line.  He makes his teammates stronger and his teammates demand just as much strength from him.  He has shown incredible growth in his time at MSU.  AJ has all of the qualities of an elite offensive tackle.  One of his biggest attributes in my opinion is his patient aggression.  He has the uncanny ability to sit and wait for the defender to attack before he explodes into him.  This is a coach’s dream.  As offensive line coaches we preach, in pass protection, to be patient and not attack, to wait and deliver that pass punch when the defender tries to attack and is off balance, this is one of things that AJ is great at.  His overall technical ability is at an elite level as well.  For a 6’7, 308 pound young man he has very good explosiveness off the ball and his overall speed is very good as well.  AJ will be a dominant force in the NFL for years to come.  He isn’t the big marquee name from Alabama or Georgia but he will be very dominant in the NFL for years to come.  For this report, I am focusing on the beginning, middle and end of the 2021 season to show both his consistency and his ability to grow and learn. 

Assessment:  2021 Games watched – Northwestern, Michigan, Ohio State, 2022 Hula Bowl

AJ played most of the season at RT until late in the season when he was moved to LT to cover for an injured teammate.

AJ has a well balanced and strong stance.  His hips stay parallel to the line of scrimmage.

He has decent knee and ankle bend as well.

In pass protection, he maintains a strong, balanced stance and his kick step is clean and crisp.

In run protection, he attacks with explosive aggression and usually dominates the defender across from him.  He demonstrated this throughout the 2021 season.

AJ’s hand fighting skills are at an appropriate level.  He is very strong and his pass-punch is very violent and accurate.  

He double teamed very well, and has the ability to climb to the second level easily and accurately.

He keeps his eyes up and is able to protect the blitz while engaged with a defensive lineman.

His inside and outside zone work is at an elite level.  His leverage points are hit accurately and dominantly.  

AJ exemplifies leadership on the field, he demonstrates it in every game.  

AJ has logged 1677 regular season snaps in his career.

At the Hula Bowl, AJ was a true leader all week.  He was able to take a new style of coaching and technique and turn it into what he knew with ease.  In doing this his teammates continually looked to him for guidance.  

Throughout the four practices AJ not only held his own against some of the best defensive players in the country, he dominated.  Only being beaten twice all week, once by Vi Jones from NC State, and once by Tomon Fox from UNC.

Injuries:  Femoral Nail and tightrope ankle surgery in 2017

Prediction:

AJ is a coach’s dream player, patient, aggressive, well-rounded, intelligent, big bodied, and a true leader.  Off the field, he is well mannered, professional, highly intelligent, and family oriented.

I would rate AJ Arcuri as a solid A.  AJ has all the tools to be in the NFL for years to come.  Unfortunately, he didn’t get the media hype that he deserved.  I truly feel that the NFL scouts will see past that and realize the genuine article when they look at AJ.  AJ has faced some of the best players in the country week in and week out, being in the Big 10 Conference.  He dominated in some of the biggest games of the year, Michigan and Ohio State.  AJ continually is trying to learn and increase his knowledge base, this is going to benefit him and any team that picks him up in the Draft.  

With the massive oline and dline draft class this year, I think AJ will slide down to the third to fourth rounds, he didn’t get the media hype that he deserved.  He is a late first round or second round player, in my opinion.  He is going to be an immediate game changer to whichever team he goes to.  I have a feeling he will be surprised on where he actually gets drafted, for the better.

NFL Draft Diamonds was created to assist the underdogs playing the sport. We call them diamonds in the rough. My name is Damond Talbot, I have worked extremely hard to help hundreds of small school players over the past several years, and will continue my mission. We have several contributors on this site, and if they contribute their name and contact will be in the piece above. You can email me at [email protected]

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