NFL call could arrive for USF 'tough man' Kofi Amichia
Something about USF tackle Kofi Amichia didn't correlate. In pre-draft workouts, observers saw a behemoth with burst, a hulk with hip flexibility.
Amichia would hoist 30 or more reps of 225 pounds on the bench, then crush the agility drills.
But where had this guy been against Navy? Against SMU?
"One team told me, 'When you look at his pro day numbers, he's a superior athlete and the film doesn't match the pro day numbers,'" said Austin Atkinson, Amichia's agent.
That's when the details -- gory ones, at that -- would surface. What the scouts saw on tape was a guy wincing through the final stretch of his college career, hoping that right kneecap wouldn't again slide out of place. In the absence of NFL-caliber potential, these evaluators were seeing NFL-caliber perseverance.
"He was playing on survival mode a little bit (last year)," former Bulls offensive line coach Darren Hiller said.
Today, that toughness, combined with a more stabilized knee and at least two head-turning pre-draft workouts, have elevated Amichia's NFL stock. The Georgia native, whose parents were born in Ghana, formally has visited four teams and has received overtures from several others.
He has worked out for the 49ers. The Redskins had him in for a visit that spanned several hours. The Packers began asking about him in early February.
"Most of 'em kind of say the same thing," Amichia said. "They just like my versatility I can bring."
If not taken on Day 3 of this weekend's NFL Draft, Amichia -- a first-team All-American Athletic Conference pick and winner of USF's Tough Man Award last season -- is a lock to sign a free-agent deal shortly after the seventh round.
At a hair under 6-foot-4, he appears destined for center at the next level.
"The common thread by far is that he is a super athletic interior lineman," said Atkinson, based in Charleston, S.C.
"So all of these teams know that he can play either guard or center for them, but he has the flexibility that he could finish out a game at tackle if he absolutely had to. Basically I've heard some form of those exact words from multiple teams."
When they learn of how Amichia's senior season transpired, fortitude joins flexibility on their scouting reports.
Amichia's senior season was altered in the second half of the Bulls' 46-30 loss to Temple on a warm Friday night in Philadelphia. To the best of his recollection, the Bulls were driving in the third quarter when his right foot got stuck in the ground and he heard his right knee pop.
He was still on the field when the kneecap popped back in place.
"I told (the trainers) everything that happened, and at first I didn't think they were gonna put me back in," Amichia recalled.
"But because of everything we had on the line, trying to compete for the conference championship, I told 'em just to wrap it back up and put me back in. I played the rest of the game like that."
After a couple of possessions on the sideline, Amichia returned to his left tackle spot, recovering a fumble in his own end zone that resulted in an Owls safety.
"That just kind of shows you what kind of competitor he is," Hiller said.
A week later, he started at left tackle against Navy, helping the Bulls amass a school-record 412 rushing yards in a critical 52-45 triumph.
He started the last four games after that as well.
"If teams go back and watch last year's film, they're gonna see a wounded guy," said Hiller, now offensive line coach at Indiana.
"I've shown a lot of cut-ups up here, just talking through some of the things that we were doing (at USF), and when I watch him I really feel bad for him because my first spring a year ago when I was there, he was a different guy."
That guy Hiller saw last spring is what scouts have seen this spring.
His surprising level of flexibility (at least for a guy 306 pounds) enables him to bend well into a power-blocking position. At USF's pro day, he ran the 40 in 4.99 seconds before mildly tweaking his hamstring. He even recorded a 33 1/2-inch vertical leap.
Amichia, who played for five different offensive line coaches in as many seasons at USF, says he considers his versatility his best attribute. Aside from that?
"I'd have to say my quickness, definitely my athleticism," he added. "I use that as an advantage all the time. And I'd probably say just a physical tenacity and mentality I bring."
Not to mention a significant pain threshhold.
"That actually earned him, I think, more respect (from NFL teams)," Atkinson said, "because this guy played through the whole season like that."