Four More Months

The Lions of East Mississippi won a National Championship in 2012. While many talented play makers have moved on to their four year college homes, the cupboard in Scooba is far from empty. Defensive end Za'Darius Smith returns this fall and the Alabama native will be counted on to bring the heat off the edge.

Za'Darius Smith profile

"Things have gone good for me here at Scooba," said Smith. "I signed on to come here for 16 months and now I have only four months left before I move on to D1 football."

Several programs have shown interest in the talented pass rusher, but one school holds the pole position in the race to signing day.

"The main school I am looking at is Mississippi State," said Smith. "It's not too far from where I am now. It's only about 30 minutes from Scooba to Mississippi State.

"If I decided to go there, I could go over there on the weekends and get to know the players."

Smith reports that he sees the chance to make an impact in 2013 should he elect to enroll at Mississippi State.

"They may be losing two defensive lineman to the NFL," said Smith. "I know (Josh) Boyd is going to be moving on and they are talking like Denico Autry is going to be a one and done player.

"They have a bunch of young guys coming up, so they would need a junior college guy like me to come in and help be a leader."

With his good friend and former teammate, Autry, now enrolled at Mississippi State, Smith has been able to get some inside information about the Bulldogs.

"He has told me that you have to come in and compete for everything," said Smith. "He has been up there since January, so he's told me about how hard they work.

"I was up there about a month ago and I saw some of their workouts. I know they work hard."

Smith reports that he has been impressed with he way the Bulldogs have recruited him, namely his area recruiting coach, Tony Hughes.

"Coach Hughes is a great guy and he's straight up with you," said Smith. "He just tells you how things are.

"I mean Coach Hughes sent his own son up there to Mississippi State.

"To me that says it all."

Smith reports that he plans to make his decision during the middle of the season and that he is on pace to graduate in December in time to enroll at his school of choice for spring practice.

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