Central Cali S Reminding Many of NFL Veteran

Austin Fugate

Corcoran's (Calif.) Austin Fugate is a tall, blonde safety who comes from a small city not known for being a recruiting factory. It sounds very similar to former Chowchilla (Calif.), Fresno State, and current six-year NFL veteran Cameron Worrell's story. With ferocious hits and his knack for making plays, Fugate drew comparisons to the former Bulldog at the Passing Down skills camp…

Austin Fugate (6-0, 170) impressed all the spectators, as well as the current and former NFL players coaching with the skills he possessed at the Cameron Worrell Passing Down skills camp this past weekend.

During the third annual camp held at Clovis (Calif.) Buchanan High School, Fugate – on the camp's first day – grasped what he learned from the former Fresno State Bulldogs who now play at the professional level. On the second day, he showed the current and former NFL players what he could do when he steps on the football field in full gear.

The talented safety followed the football wherever it went during coverage drills. He then displayed his aggression level when he stepped up and halted ball carriers in their tracks.

Fugate impressed everyone with his ability to locate ball carriers and make tackles. Even with his tall frame, he got low enough to stop any forward progress. He was one of the most talked about defenders during the two-day camp.

"It was a great camp. There was a lot of contact," Fugate said. "It's a lot of fun when you have people in pads going at it. It's just a lot of fun all around."

He was able to draw comparisons to a former All-WAC performer who starred in the defensive backfield for the Bulldogs, the man running the camp Cameron Worrell.

"It's great just to be compared to him," Fugate said. "I just hit. I don't care who it is. I'm just going to hit them."

Worrell was another high school football star who did not get a lot of exposure during his prep career. He played his high school football in the small town of Chowchilla where he was a North Sequoia League Offensive Player of the Year.

He walked on to Fresno State where he did not play as a red shirt freshman in 1999. He then transferred to Fresno City College before returning to the Bulldogs in 2001.

The Chowchilla native went from dominant offensive player, to Fresno State walk-on, to a junior college player and then became a hard-hitting safety known to be around the football.

Worrell earned All-WAC honors for leading the Bulldogs in tackles and interceptions, including returning one for a touchdown. After observing Fugate on the first day of the camp, Worrell himself began to buy into the hype of "Cam Junior".

"I wasn't sold at first but when we got to competing with 1-on-1's, I could see the similarities," Worrell said. "Like Me, he's not a guy who's not going to stand out at the combine. He's not a guy who's going to run fast and blow you away athletically."

Fugate competed at the last two Scout.com/FoxSports Regional Combines in the San Francisco Bay Area. However, as Worrell stated, he is not a player that impresses in shorts and a t-shirt. Nonetheless, when he straps on the helmet, opposing ball carries have to be on the lookout as Fugate is one of the fiercest hitters in Central California.

Fugate at last month's Scout.com/Fox Sports Regional Combine in San Francisco.

Worrell, a six-year NFL veteran safety that played for the Bears, Jets and Dolphins, began to notice the similarities when Fugate got a chance to show his skills during the passing drills at the football camp.

"Once he got on the field and started competing, you can see how smart of a player he was," Worrell said. "He was reading the quarterbacks and making breaks when other guys weren't."

Fugate was glad that Worrell, Richard Marshall, James Sanders, and the other NFL players who were once Bulldogs were teaching him.

"They know what they're doing," Fugate said. "There's a lot of good techniques that they show you."

Even though Fugate was one of the players who stood out defensively at the camp, he is yet to receive any college football offers. He also is not too sure what will happen after his high school football career is over.

However, Fugate does seem open to playing close to home if he gets an offer from Pat Hill. He may now get some interest from Fresno State after showing his skills to former Bulldog players.

"If Fresno State offered me something, I'll think about it," Fugate said. "I would like to go there."

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