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The Mid-American Conference is known as a tough, "meat and potatoes" league, where defensive standouts Jonathan Goddard (Marshall, 2004), Jason Babin (Western Michigan, 2002-03) and Bazuin (2005-06) have ranked among the nation's leaders in sacks in recent years.
Bazuin, the first Chippewa to compete in the East-West Shrine Game since Scott Rehberg in 1996, was the first CMU football player to earn Academic All-American honors since Rob Turner, who was a second-team selection in 2002 and first-team choice in 2001. Bazuin is the 13th player in program history to be named an Academic All-American.
A marketing major with a 3.39 grade-point average, Bazuin was the only student-athlete from the Mid-American Conference to be named to the 2006 Academic All-America football team. Bazuin was a two-time Academic All-District first-team pick and two-time Academic All-MAC selection. He was a national semifinalist for the Draddy Trophy in 2006.
A three-time All-MAC first-team honoree, Bazuin holds the school career records for tackles for loss (60) and sacks (33) and single-season records for tackles for loss (26.5) and sacks (16). His 16 sacks in 2005 tied what was then a MAC single-season record. He ranks eighth in MAC history in tackles for loss and fourth in sacks.
Bazuin led McBain High School to the Division VI state title game (the school lost) in 2001, earning All-State and All-Conference honors. He was ranked No. 29 in the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list. He earned three letters in track and football and two in basketball, picking up All-State honors in all three sports.
His football teams went 30-6, winning two conference and district titles. He finished his career with 262 tackles and three interceptions, as he garnered All-Conference accolades three times and All-State honors twice. He also led the McBain basketball team to the 2002 state championship.
Bazuin redshirted in 2002 at Central Michigan. He took over weak-side defensive end chores in 2003, earning Freshman All-American second-team recognition from The Sporting News. He posted 70 tackles (40 solos) while tying for the team-lead with six sacks and leading the way with 14 stops for losses. He also recovered two fumbles and caused another.
"Buzz," as his teammates nicknamed him, would pick up All-MAC and Academic All-MAC first-team honors in 2004. He started all 11 games, coming up with 50 tackles (20 solos), three sacks and eight stops behind the line of scrimmage. He blocked four kicks and registered four quarterback pressures while also recovering one fumble.
As a junior, Bazuin was an All-American honorable mention. The MAC Defensive Player of the Year was an Academic All-MAC selection, ESPN Academic All-District IV first-team honoree and a member of the Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award preseason watch lists. He led the nation in tackles for loss (26.5) and ranked second in sacks (16). His 16 sacks tied a conference single-season record. He also recorded 74 tackles (48 solos) with five forced fumbles, one fumble recovery and three pass break-ups.
Bazuin earned All-MAC first-team honors, starting 13 games, but he also had his consecutive start string end at 38 when he was forced to sit out the Kentucky game with a knee sprain. A summer bout with sepsis saw him hospitalized briefly, and he failed to match his 2005 figures during his final year. He also had to deal with the tragic loss of his younger brother Darin in June, who died two days after an apparent suicide attempt. Bazuin's family made the tough decision to take Darin off a respirator and donate his organs to the "Gift of Life" program.
Bazuin went on to register 67 tackles (24 solos) in 2006. He had 10.5 sacks and 15 stops behind the line of scrimmage, adding a pair of pressures. He recovered a pair of fumbles, returning one for a touchdown. He also caused four fumbles and batted away four passes. He would then end his collegiate career by picking up MVP honors in the East-West Game.
Bazuin started every game he played in (47) at Central Michigan, including 38 consecutive at one point. He recorded 261 tackles (132 solos) as he set school career-records with 35.5 sacks for minus-268 yards, 63.5 stops for losses of 354 yards and 10 forced fumbles. He added seven quarterback pressures with six fumble recoveries, including one that he returned for a touchdown. He deflected nine passes and blocked four kicks.
Positives: Has a thick upper body with broad shoulders and tight midsection...Has good arm length and even-proportioned thighs and hips...Move-oriented type of defender who is best coming off the edge or making plays down the line rather than working in-line...Emotional team leader who plays with a high motor and good aggression...Has good weight room strength that generally translates well to the football field (bulk issues cause him to struggle in attempts to split the double team, though)...Smart and instinctive player who flows to the ball well and it is rare to see him caught out of position, especially if disengaged from blocks...Effective at getting to the running backs in pursuit, showing good hip snap and leg drive, as he also takes proper angle adjustments on the move... More of a straight-line charger, but needs to improve his lateral agility...Only adequate generating quickness off the snap, but compensates with good react/react ability...Has a very good feel for block pressure (more of a see-and-go type) and will close with good urgency when he locates the ball...Maintains his balance getting through the trash and in back-side pursuit...More of a collision-type tackler, but is effective at breaking down the play while facing up to the opponent with good upper body power...Lacks ideal range to explode into tackles along the perimeter (more of a cause of his over-exuberance to make the play, causing him to out-run the action), but when given a free lane, he is smooth in his stride, showing good body control working down the line...Has the hand punch to defeat single blocks...Better edge rusher than a take-on type, using his hands decently for grabbing and positioning...Shows good strike power making contact on the move and has the ability to dip back under on the pass rush...His hands are not very active to separate (will give a shoulder), but shows the ability to rip and pull...With his straight-line burst, he is effective at avoiding the offensive tackle to pursue and pressure the pocket when coming off the edge...Capable of turning the corner, taking a wide loop and still getting to the passer...Plays at a low pad level, which allows him to maintain balance...Shows the quickness to stay with the tight ends in the mid-range passing area, using his hands properly to keep separation...Flows to the ball with good effort, going low with his pads to take the running backs off their feet.
Negatives: Lacks the bulk to split double teams or face up to the bigger tackles, but his frame has little room left to add more bulk...Has decent lateral agility, but gets too reckless in his pursuit and then, you can see some hip stiffness, as he struggles to redirect...A move to linebacker might not be possible, as he needs to show a better feel for zone drops as he does not always anticipate the switch-offs...Tends to play too upright at times, getting a little frustrated when his initial moves fails to work...Fails to keep his hands active or inside the frame in attempts to defeat blocks...Has good timed speed, but fails to explode coming off the snap...Has functional flexibility, but not enough to redirect smoothly...Not always decisive enough to locate the ball, as he does take false steps when biting on the quarterback's fakes...Even with his lateral agility, he is not sudden in his movements to the perimeter...Can stack blocks, but his hands are too slow for him to effectively shed blocks when an opponent gets into his chest...Gets most of his success taking angles or slanting, as he doesn't have an array of moves to full a lineman on the pass rush...More of a pile jumper and you would like to see him make more uncontested plays (24 of 67 tackles in 2006 were solo stops)...Must learn better wrap-up tackling technique, as runners have success slipping off his hits when he leads with his shoulder and fails to extend his hands.
Compares To: JASON BABIN-Houston...The comparisons are inevitable -- both dominated as pass rushers in the Mid American Conference, both lack the ideal size you look for in a basic defensive end. Both are known for their quickness, but despite that speed, both lack explosion coming off the snap. Bazuin is a better athlete than Babin, but like Babin proved in the NFL, just because you have speed does not mean that you can easily adjust to playing linebacker. Bazuin's play tapered off in 2006, as he struggled to split double teams. After a banner junior season, he reverted to 2004 form of jumping on the pile (low amount of solo stops) and until he can show the ability to make the uncontested tackle with consistency, he is just another situational type who needs a free lane in order to be effective.
Shattered the school career records with 33.5 quarterback sacks and 61 tackles behind the line of scrimmage, topping the previous marks of 22 sacks and 40 stops for losses by Jon McCall (1996-98)...His 61 tackles behind the line rank eighth in Mid American Conference history behind Brian Pillman of Miami (77, 1980-83), Kenny Philpot of Eastern Michigan (74, 1998-2001), Jason Babin of Western Michigan (74, 2000-03), Bob Beemer of Toledo (73, 1982-85), JoJuan Armour of Miami (68, 1995-98), Joel Smeenge of Western Michigan (66, 1986-89) and Jonathan Goddard of Marshall (63, 2001-04)...Bazuin's 33.5 career sacks rank Fourth in MAC history behind Babin (38), Jon Wauford of Miami (35, 1988-91) and Smeenge (34)...Bazuin's 16 sacks in 2005 set a school single-season record and his 10.5 sacks in 2006 rank second on the team's annual record charts...His 16 sacks also tied the MAC single-season record, first set by Goddard in 2004...Bazuin's 26.5 stops for losses in 2005 set a school single-season record and rank ninth on the MAC's single-season record books...Started all 47 games he played in, including 38 consecutive contests before sitting out the 2006 Kentucky game with an injury.
All-Mid American Conference first-team and Academic All-MAC first-team choice...Semi-finalist for the Draddy Award...Added Academic All-American (CoSIDA) and All-District IV accolades...Nominated for the Walter Camp Award (national player of the year), Bednarik Award (nation's outstanding defensive player), Nagurski Trophy (nation's top defensive player), Lombardi Award (nation's top defensive or offensive lineman), Hendricks Award (nation's top defensive end) and Lott Trophy (defensive player who also excels in the classroom and community)...Finished third on the team with 67 tackles (24 solos) while starting thirteen games at left (weak-side defensive end...Paced the squad with 10.5 sacks for minus 65 yards and 15 stops for losses totaling 74 yards...Credited with a pair of quarterback pressures...Caused four fumbles and recovered two others, returning one 32 yards for a touchdown...Also deflected four passes.
All-American third-team pick by The NFL Draft Report, earning honorable mention from Sports Illustrated...All-MAC and Academic All-MAC first-team pick...Named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Year...ESPN Academic All-District IV first-team pick and a member of the Nagurski Trophy and Lombardi Award watch lists...Led the nation in tackles for loss (26.5 for 181 yards) and ranked second in sacks (16 for 146 yards)...His 16 sacks set a school single-season record and tied the MAC mark first set by Jonathan Goddard of Marshall in 2004...His 26.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage set another CMU single-season record...Ranked second on the squad with a career-high 74 tackles (48 solos) while starting all eleven games at weak-side defensive end...Caused five fumbles (tied for the national lead) and recovered another...Also deflected three passes.
First team All-MAC and Academic All-MAC selection...Started all eleven games at weak-side defensive end...Recorded 50 tackles )20 solos) with three sacks for minus 20 yards and eight stops for losses of 46 yards...Credited with four quarterback pressures and recovered one fumble...Deflected one pass and led the conference with four blocked kicks.
Named second-team Freshman All-American by The Sporting News...Started all twelve games at weak-side defensive end...Recorded 70 tackles (40 solos), tied for the team lead with six sacks for minus 37 yards and led the squad with 14 stops for losses of 53 yards... Recovered two fumbles and caused another...Also batted away one pass.
2006: Entered the hospital in July to get treatment for sepsis that developed a 105-degree fever from an infected cut on his right big toe...Missed most of the second half vs. Eastern Michigan (9/23) and sat out the following week vs. Kentucky (9/30) with a knee sprain.
Campus: 4.68 in the 40-yard dash...405-pound bench press...Bench presses 225 pounds 26 times...555-pound squat...30-inch vertical jump...6.94 three-cone drill...4.1 20-yard shuttle...9'4" broad jump...32 1/4-inch arm length...10 1/4-inch hands...Right-handed...23/32 Wonderlic score.
Attended McBain (Mich.) High School, leading the team to the Division VI state title game (the school lost) in 2001, earning All-State and All-Conference honors...Ranked No. 29 in the Detroit Free Press Fab 50 list...Earned three letters in track and football and two in basketball, picking up All-State honors in all three sports...His football teams went 30-6, winning two conference and district titles...Finished his career with 262 tackles and three interceptions, as he garnered All-Conference accolades three times and All-State honors twice...Also led the McBain basketball team to the 2002 state championship.
Marketing major, earning Academic All-American, All-District IV and All-Mid American Conference honors with a 3.39 grade point average...Son of Janell and Ted Bazuin... Nicknamed "Buzz"...Born 7/22/83...Resides in McBain, Michigan.