THE NEXT BIG THING

[Premium article] A big-time wide receiver is not supposed to register a tackle as the first statistic of his career. But, after sitting out his first season Antonio Hargro let his emotions get to him during the first action of his red-shirt campaign. After one play, and a personal foul, Hargro was benched until late in the fourth quarter.

"I just let my emotions get to me during that play, I was so excited to get on the field that it just got the best of me," Hargro said of his excitement during the season opener against Memphis. "I explained to Coach Sherrill what happened and he understood, but he sat me to let me know that we couldn't have those types of things."

Hargro did not just sit on the bench and complain about being benched. He took that incident to heart, and learned one of the biggest lessons of his still young college career.

"I learned right then that I had to mature," Hargro said of his growing pains. "That was one of the most important things I have learned since being here, and that really has helped me."

Not only has Hargro learned how to act on the field, he is also learning how to produce for the Bulldogs on the field. This being only his fourth year of organized football, Hargro has had to learn the basics of being a top-notch receiver.

"I have learned how to run great routes, and that is something that I am still working on every day," Hargro said. "Randy Moss is just a great athlete and can go deep, but he doesn't run routes well. Cris Carter runs great routes, but he can't really go get the deep ball. I want to be a combination of both." The only thing holding Hargro back right now is his experience. At six foot four inches, he already has the height to be a great receiver, but add in SEC caliber track speed and you have a gifted young player.

"Coach Sherrill talks about somebody going out and making a play, and that is what I want to do," Hargro said of his goals on the field. "I know that I am young, so I have to make the most of opportunities and prove myself."

Hargro, red-shirted during football last season, helped out his football career as well as the MSU track program during the spring. Hargro competed in the 200 meters as well as other events.

"I think most of all it helped me to learn the speed of the SEC. We ran against teams from the west and everyone in the SEC is faster than them," Hargro said of his track experience. "I also learned how to run and not waste movements, that will definitely help me on the field. I learned how to control my body."

Hargro is hoping that he is not the only football player to test the waters of SEC track this spring.

"I would love to see a relay team of just football players," Hargro said. "I have had guys come up to me and ask about coming out, and I tell them to come on. We have guys like Richard Ball who want to run, and I would like to see Ray Ray (Bivines) out there." No matter how much success he finds on the track, Hargro, also known around campus as Bob because of a name tag that he found, knows why he is at State. He is not willing to let that slip his mind.

"I know that the reason that I am in school here is to play football, they brought me here and they sign my scholarship," Hargro said. "I run track because I love it and it makes me better on the football field. And all I really want to do is go out there and be a better receiver than everyone is expecting me to be."


Grant Alford is a free-lance correspondent for Gene's Page. He is a student at Mississippi State University. You can contact him by email at hammer634@hotmail.com.


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