What position do you play?
"I play linebacker, running back, defensive end and punter."
Do you normally play the entire game?
So you play on the special teams also?
"Yes sir, I play on the special teams."
How have you done stats-wise this season?
"I have 119 tackles (8 games), 3 forced fumbles, 1 interceptions, 4 sacks and I believe 6 tackles for losses."
What are your stats as a running back?
"I think I have 413 yards rushing."
What were your stats last season?
"Last year I had 156 (in 10 games) tackles."
What camps did you attend this past summer?
"Middle Tennessee, Georgia Southern, Georgia and the Auburn camp."
How did Mississippi State get in the picture with you?
"It was like the second game of our season."
What did they do, start calling you?
Coach Tompkins usually calls the recruits in Georgia. Is he the Mississippi State coach that is calling you?
How often does he call you, about once a week?
What other schools are calling you?
"Georgia, Florida, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgia Southern and Middle Tennessee."
Are those schools calling you weekly or every few weeks?
Obviously Mississippi State has offered you a scholarship. Have any of the other schools offered?
"Middle Tennessee, Georgia and Florida."
What are the college coaches telling you that they like about you?
"The way I get to the ball so fast and the way I hit."
With so many schools calling you, why did you go ahead and commit to Mississippi State so early?
"Because Coach Tompkins is a good coach. He has coached a lot of players that have gone on to the NFL and all of them have also gotten their degrees. I decided I would go there and he would teach me how to play linebacker better and I would also have a chance to make it to the league and get a degree."
I know you said you like Coach Tompkins. What else do you like about Mississippi State?
"They also have a lot of young players. I know they make young mistakes but by the time I get there, the mistakes will be gone and we will be a good team."
Have you unofficially visited Mississippi State?
They've got a couple of games left. Are you going to try and visit them during one of their remaining games?
"I'm going to try to."
Has Mississippi State talked to you about setting up your official visit?
"Yes sir, it is January 17th."
Your coach said you are an excellent student. Isn't your grade point average something like 3.8?
Have you taken the SAT or ACT? If so, how did you do?
"I took the PSAT and made 1100."
Brad, you really appear to have a good head on your shoulders based on talking to you during this interview. How old are you?
17. When will you turn 18?
You are an extremely young senior.
"Yes sir. The day we graduate I will still be 17."
Have you earned any honors during your high school career?
"On November 17th I will be in the Georgia Dome at an Atlanta game for the (Georgia) Heisman Trophy award (ceremony). I am (among) the top 10 (finalists) in Georgia. They are going to pick the winner of the Wendy's High School Heisman Trophy award for the state of Georgia. The winner will represent Georgia in the national competition."
What criteria do they base that on?
"Academics, athletics and community work."
I hope you win it.
What other honors have you earned?
"At school I'm on the National Honor Society. I'm also on the Who's Who and Students of America."
What honors have you earned athletically?
"I was in the Dandy Dozen, which is the top 12 players in the region. I have been (selected my school's) best linebacker since my freshman year."
So you have been starting your freshman season?
That about does it, Brad. I appreciate you taking the time to be interviewed.
Here's what his coach, Collins Jones, said about Brad.
Talk a little about Brad, things you like about him.
"The first thing is he is a good person, a good citizen. He is also a hard worker who is very dedicated. He hustles on the field. He is very versatile. I think what attracted most coaches to him was his class work. He is very studious. He was inducted into the National Honor Society last spring. When you see this kid, you see that he has a phenomenal physique. If you drew up a body of a kid you wanted in a uniform, Brad Horton would be that kid.
"He is the kind of kid, if you had a grandchild, you would want to baby sit it. He is a really good kid, the perfect student/athlete."
"He plays linebacker, tight end, fullback and he also punts the ball. He is the kind of kid we play 48 minutes because he was the only kid that we really had. Our school is 85 to 90% military and they come in and out. He is one of the few kids who lived in the city and came to Spencer High School. Brad has been in our program for 4 years. He was a kid who was sought after by a lot of other local programs. I told his momma that Brad is supposed to come to Spencer. I told her I would guarantee if he came to Spencer and did what I asked him to do, then he would probably be one of the most heavily recruited kids in this area. And he did. He has also participated in track (in the 200 meters) and baseball."
You mentioned that he runs track. What is his 40 speed?
"He is more like a legit 4.6. And he is quicker than that. He has a very good burst of speed on the football field. He just comes out of nowhere. Another thing I like about him is when it is crunch time, he will put a hit on you. I always try to teach my kids to play smashmouth football. When he gets there, he is going to put a hat on you."
I bet Mississippi State's coach, Jim Tompkins, is really excited about Brad.
"I have known of Jim for a while, but I met him personally at the coaches clinic. Then, when he started recruiting Brad, I was straight up with him. I told him, '(Brad Horton) is like having a Cadillac with Volkswagen mileage.'
"I'll tell you something else about him. He is going to be an asset to your community. Brad is an Eagle Scout. He is more of a leader than a follower.
"I have others like Brad coming up. Brad will be the first one to go to school in Mississippi at the D-I level. I have them spread out other places."
I'm just curious. What are your impressions of Coach Tompkins?
"He is a top grade person. I'm glad to know that my kid will have a coach of that caliber. We have a lot of similarities such as people type traits. He says what he means and means what he says. I'm always concerned when I send my kids to a higher level program if the coach will take care of that kid. As a coach, it is not an 8 to 5 job, it is a 24 hour job. You are always going beyond what is required of you. Sometimes a kid needs for you to be there for him at his lowest point and he needs to feel confident that he has someone he can go to or he can call on. That is Jim. I felt that the moment I talked to him."
What schools besides Mississippi State have looked at Brad?
"Georgia, Auburn, Florida, Troy State, Clemson...basically all the big boys. Indiana has even come down here to look at him."
Talk a little about your other players.
"I have a little (senior) tailback, Shamon Smith, who runs a 4.4 forty. He is very explosive. For a while, he was running about 250 yards a game. Then, we started hitting those heavy hitters, but he was still running about 165 to 170 yards against them. He is a great kid who has a 3.2 grade point average.
"I have two kids (both junior this year) coming up next year that I think are the real deal. I have a quarterback who is very versatile. His name is Jerome Coverson. He is 5-11, 190. He has only been playing two years. The first year he played wide out. He was the leading receiver on the team. I think he finished 3rd or 4th in the region. This year I needed a quarterback. My OC started working with him in the spring. Jerome improves every game. He also plays DB. He is not only a great athlete, but a great kid.
"We have another kid, Chris Peterson, who is about 6-3. His speed is deceptive because he has a long stride. He came into his own last week. He caught 4 passes for 105 yards and 1 touchdown."
Thanks for your time, Coach.
"Yes sir, anytime."
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.