Coach Phil Short, Greenville (MS) High School

I interviewed Coach Phil Short, head football coach at Greenville High School, on March 28. Coach Short is going into his 4th year as head football coach at Greenville. Taking over a program that had trouble winning games, he and his staff have steadily built the program into one that is becoming one of the best in the state.<P> Greenville HS, under his guidance, has gone from 2-9 his first year to 6-5 and 7-4 his last two years. This past season, they had the top defense in their conference

Coach Short, tell me a little about your background.
"I went to school in Greenville and went to college at Texas Southern. I first coached at Greenville in 1992, then went into private business after that. A few years later, I got back into coaching and then took over as the football coach at Greenville High School three years ago."

You seemed to have really turned the program around at Greenville High School.
"We have gone from 2-9 our first year to 6-5 and 7-4 our second and third years. We have really tried to stress our program, including our weight program. Plus, we have gotten a lot of great athletes and kids to come out for our team."

Although your players have not gotten a lot of attention from some recruiting gurus and newspapers, you were recently visited by one of the top recruiting analysts in the country, weren't you?
"(Prep Football Report's) Tom Lemming (*see note below about Lemming) came by yesterday to talk to four of our players, Demarcus Scott, Quenton Groves, Devrick Hampton and Kevin Sanders. Several of the players have been nominated for pre-season All-American honors."

You must have really been doing a great job of getting their names out to have Tom Lemming know about them.
"We try to. We took a lot of players to a couple of camps at Ole Miss and Mississippi State and we hope to take them to even more camps this summer. The coaches at both camps really liked our players and spoke highly of them."

Have your juniors started receiving letters from colleges?
"They are receiving letters from colleges all over. We have received letters from Memphis, Auburn, Ole Miss, Mississippi State and many, many others. In fact, I have several letters right now that I need to give to the guys."

Tell me a little about the juniors you currently have on your team that you feel are legitimate division-one prospects. I saw a couple of them on your film that you showed at the MSU high school coaches' clinic, numbers 58 and 89. Both of them showed exceptional speed for such big guys.
"Number 58 is Demarcus Scott. Demarcus is a linebacker for us. He is 6-2, 245 pounds and runs a 4.7 forty. He led our team in tackles last season with 104. He is a very physical player who is very strong. He benches 320 pounds and squats 505.

"Number 89 is Quenton Groves. He is currently 6-4, 235 pounds and runs the forty in 4.6. He really moves well and could be one of the top players in the state and southeast next season. Quenton was 205 pounds last season and played on the defensive line. He will play defensive end for us next season. He led (the 5A classification) in sacks this past season with 15. He is very aggressive and loves the game. He benches 315 pounds and squats 515. He had 86 tackles for us last season while playing inside.

"A third junior we have that is very good is Devrick Hampton. Devrick (whose number is 90) will play defensive tackle for us. He is a very, very good player. Devrick is 6-4, 275 pounds and runs the forty in the 4.7 to 4.8 range. He is very strong, benching 365 and squatting 515.

"The fourth junior we have is fullback Kevin Sanders. Kevin (number is 40) is 5-11 and 245 pounds and good speed, very good hands and is very physical. He is probably the strongest player on our team, benching 335 pounds, squatting 540 and dead lifting 575. He is one of the top power lifters in the state. We spread the offense out last season so he didn't get a lot of yards. I believe he ran for 450. He is a very good blocker.

"All four of these kids are not only great athletes and players but great kids as well."

Who are some of your other top underclassmen?
"We have a quarterback, David Surney, who is a sophomore. He is 6-0, 185 pounds and runs the forty in 4.6. He started all of our games his freshman season and was outstanding. In fact, he was second in the conference behind Michael Spurlock. This past season, he hurt his pinky finger and had to sit out all but four or five games. He is 100% now. He is very poised, has great character, and has a very good arm. He benches 245 pounds and squats 365. He has a chance to be one of the top players in the state by his senior season.

"Another player we have is just a freshman right now. He has a chance to be an outstanding player. His name is John Sibley. He will play defensive end for us this coming season. He is already 6-4 and weighs 255 pounds. He runs a 4.75 forty. I haven't maxed him out on the bench but he squatted 450 pounds. He moved away from Greenville several years ago but moved back three years ago. The things that I like about him are that he is very physical, which is unusual in someone so young, and he is very fast. After he completed his ninth grade season, we brought him up to the varsity squad and started him against South Panola and Madison Central. He wasn't intimidated by them at all. He also has a brother who is close to his size already and is only in the 7th grade."

Do you have any others that you can think of off the top of your head?
"That's all that I can think of right now. We'll know more about our other players after spring practice."

Thanks, Coach Short.

Coach Short told me that his team will play in the high school Delta jamboree that will be held in Cleveland on May 18th.-Gene

*A little background information about Tom Lemming. Tom is one of the most well-known recruiting analysts in the nation. During the spring, Tom drives across the United States to visit with the players that he considers the best in the nation. To have him visit your school and interview your players is considered a great honor. He, along with the Max Emfinger and SuperPrep's Allen Wallace, are three long-time national recruiting analysts who are considered three of the most well-respected people in the high school and junior college football recruiting industry.-Gene

Note: Many players physically develop later than others and there is no way to know this until it happens. Therefore, the players mentioned above may not be the only potential D-I prospects on the team.-Gene

Gene Swindoll is the owner of Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at

Gene's Page Top Stories