Eli Dickerson: His Coach's Take

GoPokes.com interviewed the high school coach for each of the Oklahoma State commitments in the days leading up to National Signing Day. In this installment of "His Coach's Take," we visit with College Park High School head coach Richard Carson about Eli Dickerson, a 6-6, 270-pound offensive lineman from The Woodlands, Texas.

What are his strengths as a football player?
Richard Carson: He's a big, athletic guy. I think in my time coaching he is the most athletic guy that I've coached being that big. He throws his body around, he moves well, he'll hit the ground, pop up and then go get another one. He's a strong kid but when they get to college they make them stronger. His athleticism is probably his greatest asset.

What do you believe will be his biggest challenge in going from high school to playing in the Big 12?
Richard Carson: The speed of the game. We play good football where we are here in Texas. Obviously in Texas we're prejudiced but we think we play the best (high school) football in the country, but chasing a high school linebacker is different than chasing one in the Big 12, and pass protecting against a defensive end in high school is different than the Big 12. He's a hard worker and he's not afraid of the weight room but he's going to have to get stronger.

Was there one game, or maybe even one play, during his career that you'll always remember?
Richard Carson: At the end of his junior season when we realized what we had in him. The last game of the season (against Conroe in 2008) we just ran left (over him the entire game). We didn't hide it, we just ran right behind him and won the game doing it. We told him, we're going to run behind you and you need to understand that. It was at that point that we realized we can rely on him for this, and there were times during (the 2009) season that we didn't care (how the opponent lined up) we ran behind him. He was our best guy and we didn't make any bones about it, and we attacked people right behind him. We're were putting our best one on their best one and we always felt like we had an advantage.

What are three words that describe him as a football player?
Richard Carson: Athletic. Aggressive. Smart.

Why do you think he chose Oklahoma State?
Richard Carson: Eli is a very intelligent kid. Academics are very important to him and his family. In this process we talked about do you want to find the best academic school or the best football school, and where do you fit in? I think football is important to him and he wants to go some place where they have a chance to win games, play in some big games and be successful. But he also wanted to go to a place where he could get a good education. I think Oklahoma State fits that bill.

What type of impact to you expect him to have on the OSU football program?
Richard Carson: I think he's going to be a great player. It's hard for anybody to come in as a freshman and do that but physically he has a chance to do that, it just depends on their need. But before it's over I could see him being a guy that will be a three-year starter up there.

Over the course of his college career, whether it be four or five years, what do you expect him to accomplish?
Richard Carson: I think he'll be a two- or three-year starter and be a really good football player. I've coached 25 years and before I became a lazy head coach I was an offensive line coach and I've coached a lot of good players on a lot of good teams and he has the potential to be the best one I've ever coached. I've coached some good ones but the good Lord doesn't make everybody 6-foot-7 and give them the ability to move like that. I think the sky is the limit for him and he's just going to get better.

What will you remember the most about coaching him?
Richard Carson: His passion for the game. I can remember when he realized that he could be good, and he had no idea how good he could be and that one day getting (an education) by playing college football. I remember having that conversation with him when he figured that out. When the light clicked on he just worked hard to get better. He was a pleasure to coach. He's a kid that is always going to do well in the classroom and do the right things off the field. He was a leader for us on and off (the field) for us, so it's that part we're going to miss.

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