Same body, new position serve as springboard for ex-Saluki’s pro ambitions

Former Southern Illinois guard Ze’Veyon Furcron has moved to center as he pursues a professional football career. (Photo by XFL/Guardians)

By Dan Verdun

Former Southern Illinois offensive lineman Ze’Veyon Furcron’s body hasn’t changed, but his position has.

Furcron, listed at 6-foot-2 and 327 pounds his senior season, was a two-time first team All-Missouri Valley Football Conference selection at guard while at SIU.

Two games into the XFL season, Furcron has made the transition to center.

“I’m the same size I was in college,” Furcron told Prairie State Pigskin last week. “I’m really just taking care of my body more, just fixing all the things as I carry myself through the season as a pro now. Getting those extra massages, getting those extra treatments.”

A year ago, Furcron had hopes of finding his way into an NFL training camp. When that didn’t happen, an opportunity presented itself.

Furcron (SIU photo)

“Coach (Nick) Hill blessed me with the GA job at SIU,” he said.

As a result, Furcron spent last fall learning the coaching side of the game — well, sort of . . .

“Honestly it was a different experience for me because I was still in player mode. Even though I was in all the coaches’ meetings and so forth, I was still training as a player for my goals of playing at the next level,” Furcron said. “It was a good position to be in, being around the guys and being able to share the knowledge that I’ve gained in my career. And it was great to see things from the coaching side. It was a good experience.”

Yet, Furcron wasn’t about to give up on continuing his playing days. He attended an XFL showcase at Jackson State last July.

In November, the Orlando Guardians picked Furcron in the sixth round of the league’s draft.

Furcron, a Joliet Catholic Academy graduate, not only made the team; he found himself in the lineup after making the switch to center.

This after making 46 straight starts at left guard for the Salukis.

“It’s taking my mental part to the next level,” Furcron said of the transition. “(That means) seeing safety rotation, linebacker, linemen (position and movement), picking up on that.

“Those type of giveaways allow me to be a better center when it comes to making calls and making sure everyone is on the same page.”

Furcron sees his strengths as “my physicality. I hang my hat on being the most physical player on the field no matter whether it’s offense or defense.”

A higher goal

For now, Furcron is focused on playing his best football and helping Orlando win. Yet, he readily admits why players have chosen the XFL — to garner attention from NFL personnel.

“I would be lying to you if I said that wasn’t the main goal,” Furcron said.

He adds that the XFL is a solid testing ground.

“We’ve got some guys out here,” he said. “We’re going against NFL bounce-backs every week. You’ve got to bring it every week, even at practice. You can’t take any days off or you’ll get embarrassed. Playing at this level, you’ve really got to be on your A game.”

‘Dawg day recollections

The 24-year-old Furcron can easily rattle off his favorite memories as a Saluki:

1) “Making the playoffs and beating Weber State on the road.”

2) “Beating North Dakota State at home and breaking that (39-game Bison) winning streak.”

3) “Scoring a touchdown at South Dakota State in a playoff game.”

Furcron played in 54 of a possible 58 games in his SIU career (Photo by

Furcon is joined by another former Saluki, defensive back Roman Tatum, on the Orlando roster.

In addition, Orlando defensive coordinator Tony Carter served as SIU’s secondary coach last fall. Carter, a former NFL cornerback out of Florida State, also has NFL coaching experience.

“For now, it’s to win here at Orlando, to have the best team we can,” Furcron said. “(By doing that) we’ll bring the scouts here and give us an opportunity to play at the next level.”

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