Cyrus Gray is having another big season for DeSoto and one of the reasons is his left tackle, Chris Atchinson (6-foot-3, 280 pounds). Head coach Dave Meadows uses Atchinson on the offensive line, but feels he has the ability to play on either side of the ball.
"He's on the offensive line, but he could play defense line," coach Meadows responded when asked about his standout lineman. "I can't even tell where he'll end up at the next level, because we may play him on defense next year. He has that type of ability and he's definitely an explosive guy. He moves his feet well. He's a strong guy and he's got good hips. He can pull, he can get downfield and block. He can stand up a defensive end or linebacker… he's just athletic.
"He might play some defense next year, but we don't play many guys both ways. He's a good guy. He's smart and he has big hip explosion. He plays left tackle for us. If we did throw the ball a lot, which we don't, he could protect the quarterbacks backside. He's trained to play center, he's athletic enough to play just about anywhere. He's the type of player that every team needs.
"When we run something outside with Cyrus or one of other backs, he'll have a stand-up guy to block and he'll get around and pick up his guy," coach Meadows said. "He's started since he was a sophomore. He's an all-conference guy.
"He's a kid quiet. He's just plays. He plays to the whistle and will play downfield. The only reason he isn't playing defense for us is because we needed him on the offensive line. He could play on the other side in a second. We don't have anyone who can do what he can do on offense. We have some other guys that can play defense, probably not as well as he could do, but our defense can operate without him over there. For us, he would be a defensive tackle, but it will depend on where he goes. His footwork and agility is probably good enough to play end."
When the Notre Dame coaches were beginning to recruit Gray, it didn't take them long to notice Atchinson.
"The Notre Dame coaches have been here several times," coach Meadows explained. "Coach Weis was here a while back and coach Ianello was here last week to see us play. They have film on Chris. They have asked about him, but just about every coach that has been through here has asked about him. I can tell they like him though and we've spoken several times about him.
"I think Notre Dame would be a school that he'd be interested in, but we don't talk to him about that stuff. We don't get into that until the offseason when they're going into their senior season.
"I'd hate to start naming all the schools that have been sending stuff to him, because I'd forget to mention as mention as I named," coach Meadows said. "He's just one of those guys that just about everyone that comes through tends to look at him. From Texas to Tulsa and beyond that. He's a guy that you want to be on because you don't want to let him go somewhere else. Everybody will take a look at him when they come in. "