"Actually, in sock feet, he is about 6-3.25. The weight is right. He was 216 when I weighed him last week."
Do you know what his forty speed is?
"His forty speed is 4.8. I clocked them today (March 25)."
Do you have his lift information, such as bench press, squat and dead lift?
"I looked at that information today. He is a 265 bench, 425 squat. We power clean instead of deadlift. He is 285, which is real good. We do the power clean because I think it is the best lift in football. It is more of a technique lift and not necessarily a strength lift. It is more of a football exercise."
What are things that you like about him?
"He has great hands. We are going to flex him out and use him as a wide receiver. I am not going to say that he is as good as Rufus French (a former High School All-American who played for Amory HS then went on to play for Ole Miss), but he is along that same mode. He is big kid with a big frame who can run and who has great hands."
You seem to be projecting him to grow larger as he gets older, aren't you?
"Oh, no doubt. His growth potential is perfect for a red-shirt year."
When did he first start for you?
"He started for me as a junior. As a sophomore, he was about 6-2, 175. He was a fairly decent-sized kid but he had a senior who started in front of him for two years. He added a couple of inches and put on 25 pounds. Prior to hurting his MCL in the first round of the playoffs against New Albany, he caught 19 passes for 300 yards and 4 touchdowns, I believe. We have switched offensive coordinators and I think we are going to try and utilize him more than we did. He can play and we want to get the ball to him the best that we can."
Has he started receiving letters from colleges?
"Oh yeah, he is getting them from Memphis, Southern Miss, UAB, Auburn, Ole Miss, Tennessee, LSU and quite a few others."
Has he gone to any Junior Days at the various colleges?
"He went to Mississippi State's and Ole Miss'."
I know it is very difficult to project a player as a D-I prospect, but, based on what you have seen so for, who are some other players on your team that you feel are possible D-I prospects?
"We have an offensive lineman who will be a senior next year. His name is John Griffith. He is 6-3, 289. He was an offensive tackle and defensive tackle last year. We have moved him to center for next season. He has a mean streak. He is a really tough kid."
What is his forty speed?
"It is 5.4. He has gained 30 pounds since the fall. It is the right kind of weight but he is having to learn to handle that additional weight."
Does he have good feet for an offensive lineman?
"He has really good feet. We let them run one forty on their own, then, after that, I took the linemen and we did the shuttle run where they bear-crawled and did some other things. He did great in that. It is a 25-yard shuttle run and he did it in less than five seconds."
The center is usually one of the smartest offensive linemen because he has to make so many calls on the line.
"He is football smart, there is no doubt about that."
What is his bench press, squat and power clean?
"He benches 305, squats 500, and power cleans about 270."
How long has he been a starter for you?
"This coming season will be his 3rd year to start for me. He was a part-time starter his sophomore year on the offensive line. This past year, he started for me both ways. He will strictly be an offensive lineman for me this year because we will have more depth on the defensive side."
Did John go to any Junior Days?
"He did. He went to both Ole Miss' and Mississippi State's."
Is he receiving letters?
"Auburn, Ole Miss, Arkansas and Mississippi State have sent him letters."
Any other players?
"We have a wide receiver, Andrew Garth, who will be a junior next season. He is 6-4, 195, with a huge frame. He is a 4.8 forty guy. He is a big possession-type receiver. We may use him as an outside linebacker next year. He is a 240 on the bench, 410 on the squat and 230 on the power clean. His brother, Garfield Garth, played for the University of Memphis this past season."
Thanks for your time, Coach Byrd.
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 (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports and Mississippi high school sports on the internet. You can contact him by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.