Sure, the offensive linemen he easily cast aside during his high school days had been replaced by behemoth NFL veterans like Jon Jansen. And yes, the quarterback he had targeted was not a lesser known athlete from Stony Brook or Marist but rather first-round draft pick and NFL starter Jason Campbell.
The former Georgetown star was one of eight rookies signed by the Washington Redskins to free agent contracts after the team’s three-day tryout. The first days of workouts marked the first time the 6-foot-4, 246-pound defensive lineman had not been the physically dominant player on the field.
“It was a little bit humbling,” said Buzbee, who was more accustomed to the role of big man on campus. “I was always really confident in how I played all through high school and college. But these guys are big cats. They aren’t freaks of nature though — I can usually get a feel for the game after the first play — and when I wasn’t stuffed and embarrassed, I knew I was good enough to play in this league.”
While Buzbee, a three-time All-Patriot League performer for the Hoyas, still must survive this month’s minicamp and preseason workouts just to earn a spot on the practice squad, the fact he has made it this far is fairly remarkable.
Shortly after his dominant yet disappointing 2-9 senior season ended with a 38-30 loss to Fordham in late November, the Chester, N.J., native made a big decision: He would pursue pro football full-tilt.
That would mean sacrificing nearly everything — the job security that usually accompanies a Georgetown degree, a final semester on campus to hang with the boys and, most importantly, a little bit of his ego.
At Seton Hall Prep, Buzbee was an all-state defensive lineman who doubled as the team’s tight end and also played some quarterback. In college, he served as the Hoyas’ co-captain his senior year and finished his career ranked third among the school’s all-time sacks leaders.
Buzbee has labored to achieve his new goal, sweating through grueling, two-hour training sessions with Georgetown strength and conditioning coach Augie Maurelli six times a week to add muscle and improve his quickness.
“You have to give the guy credit,” said Maurelli, who believes Buzbee could have been drafted as high as the fifth round had he played at a school known more for football. “At Georgetown, he’s immediately at a disadvantage because of staff and poor facilities, and he gave it a shot anyway.”
Instead of getting caught up in the excitement of the men’s basketball team’s Final Four run, Buzbee spent his Saturday mornings in the cramped McDonough Gymnasium weight room. A government major and psychology minor, Buzbee — who graduated with a 3.0 grade-point average — spent draft day writing a term paper in the library and anxiously checking his phone for calls.
“As a high school athlete, every rep of every practice, he played like it was fourth-and-1 in the state championship game,” said Eric Gobble, who coached Buzbee at Seton Hall Prep and now serves as coach and athletic director at Trinity Episcopal in Richmond. “Alex didn’t know anything but all-out.”View Entire Story
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