Coach Roy McCrory, Columbus HS

This is another interview in a series of interviews that Gene's Page is conducting with high school coaches in Mississippi. Today's interview is with Columbus High School head football coach Roy McCrory, soon to be a 25-year veteran of high school coaching.

Talk about your seniors first. The first name I have on my list is Gary Hodges
"He is about 5-11, 185. Gary is a hitter, he is very physical, that is the biggest thing about him. He plays cornerback for us. He has extremely good speed, probably a 4.5 forty. He has good technique. He is a 300-pound bencher and a 550 squatter. Up until this year, he has played a lot of different positions. He played running back behind Stephen Pusha. He started last year but he was sort of a role player. He would go in at outside linebacker one series, then running back the next. He has been overlooked by a lot of people because he has been used that way for so long. He will be a steal for some college. He is an excellent student."

The next senior is Bobby Colvin.
"Bobby is about 6-3, 225 and runs the forty in 4.6. We've played him out of position. He is a tight end/defensive end on the next level. He has very good hands, runs good, and is extremely strong. He benches over 300 pounds and squatted 590 in competition. He plays offensive tackle for us because I really don't have anybody else I can use there. The reason we play him there is in our spread offense, when we pull folks in our single back, he will be out in front of the back trying to block. A lot of times he will be out-running the back trying to block. Sometimes, he will lead the back forty yards down the field. He is another good student. Memphis, when they were up here recently, is very interested in him."

Tell me about your next senior, linebacker Quinton McCrary. I know a lot of schools are looking at him.
"He is probably one of the top outside linebacker recruits in the country. He is the best outside linebacker that I have ever coached. I would say that Gabe (O'Neal) is the next one. (O'Neal is a junior-to-be linebacker on CHS.-Gene). Quinton has 4.5 speed and is 6-3, 225. He looks to me like a big tailback who plays outside linebacker. His bench is about 280 to 285 and he squats over 500. He is a hitter, also. He is just an athlete. He is very smart and knows the game. It is hard to run to his side. You just don't run a sweep to his side. His senior year will be his 3rd year to start for me."

The next senior is running back Stephen Pusha.
"His bench is right at 300 and 550 on the squat. He has real quick feet. He is versatile in the fact that he can run and catch. He is short and compact and when he runs inside, people have a tendency to bounce off of him. This year, since I have been here and, I guess, since the school has been in existence, he will become the all-time leading rusher. Stephen is a real good baseball player also. He probably leads the team in home runs. He will probably get recruited in baseball. Folks want him to go to some of these baseball Showcases."

Talk about senior receiver Bruce Edwards.
"In all my years of coaching, the three best receivers that I have coached are Rashad Anderson (plays for the Carolina Panthers), Todd Pinkston (plays for the Philadelphia Eagles) and Bruce Edwards. Bruce is not as tall as Todd, but he is built about the same. He can fly and has exceptional hands. He can catch a ball in a crowd. When we were playing South Panola, he went up over two of their defenders and got the ball. He landed on his head and shoulders, but still caught the ball. He is very acrobatic. Todd was also that way. That is why I compare those two. Bruce is an honor student.

"Bruce is also a very good baseball player. When they hit one in the gap, they think it is going to be a double or triple, but Bruce will catch it and make it look easy doing it."

A senior I don't know anything about is Marco Ashford.
"He is 6-4 and about 360 to 370. He moves fine. He has good feet and long arms. Over the years, we have had a lot of short, compact linemen. They were all good linemen, but now-a-days, the deal in D-I is linemen with a lot of height. Marco is not short like those guys. Up until this year, his motor really hadn't begun to run. He didn't have that bite. I think he is ready to play now. Now, he is benching over 300 and squatting over 500. He is also a good student. I think if he plays well, (colleges) will be looking at him."

Diciente DeLoach is next.
"He is like Quinton, someone will sign him and really enjoy having him on their team. He is a hitter. In fact, he will hurt you. He has such long arms that it is hard to block him. As a 9th grader, I didn't think he would ever play. But through a lot of hard work, weight work, bleacher work, pulling tires, he has become a player.

"All of the SEC schools are giving them (DeLoach, McCrary, Edwards), attention. People out in California (Stanford). Memphis was on the field yesterday. (DeLoach and McCrary) are the two most highly recruited kids I've had at Columbus."

Benjamin Porter.
"Ben is an inside linebacker. He is about 6-2 to 6-3 and weighs 190 to 200. He runs a 4.6. He plays inside but could probably play outside better. He will hit you. He will grow a lot more."

Tea Conner.
"He is going to be like Chauncy Brown (a CHS senior last season). He is 5-10 to 5-11 and weighs 250 to 255. He runs a 5.0. He plays on the defensive front for us. He is a hitter. Mentality-wise, he has what you want in a football player. He has good grades."

NEXT UP ARE THE JUNIORS.

Talk a little about Gabriel O'Neal.
"He is a sophomore right now. He is 6-2, 190, 4.6 forty. He probably benches 245 to 250 and squats 450. He probably played a better outside linebacker as a sophomore than Quinton did as a sophomore. He has a knack for knowing where the ball is. When we joked about a slobber-knocker during a game it is normally Gabe we are talking about because he is going to make two or three big hits in a ballgame. He and Quinton have the ability to catch you from the backside. If a team throws a toss on the other side, they will run it down. You don't find that every day.

"When we went through the spring his freshman year, he was sort of sitting back. We stuck him in the spring game against Tuscaloosa (where former Starkville HS coach Chuck Friend is). He made about the first 4 or 5 tackles in the game. They were ferocious licks. After the game was over - we had some recruiters there - they all came out of the stands wanting to know who number 16 was. He is a great student."

Next up is Victor Knight.
"Victor is in the same grade as Gabe. He is a wide out/running back/free safety type. He is about 6-1, and probably weighs 190. He has extremely good speed, 4.6. He has good hands and is very athletic. He did not play as a sophomore but will start this year. He is going to make some big plays for us. I think by the time he is a senior he will be highly recruited."

Reco Johnson
"Reco is a sophomore right now. He will get some playing time this year. He is 6-3, probably 160 and runs a 4.6 forty. He has extremely good jumping ability. He qualified to go to the North State in the high jump. He has good hands and runs well. We will use him at wide receiver."

Cory Duckworth.
"He is going to be a player. He is 6-3 and about 250. He runs about a 5.0 forty. He plays defensive tackle. He wasn't ready to play as a sophomore, but he is ready to play now. I like him because he is probably the hardest worker that I have. He is very intense. His dad played at Southern Miss and went on to make the final cut for Tampa Bay. He is related to the Duckworth's out of Taylorsville. He is a good student."

Joey Bragg.
"He is D-I quality offensive lineman. He is 6-5, weighs about 260. He is not fat and could add more weight. He has good feet and good technique. Up until now, he hasn't been mean enough, but it is coming out now because he wants to play."


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 swindoll@genespage.com.

Gene's Page Top Stories