Measured

Today's great, and sometimes even not so great, athletes often times lack humility. That's not the case with Ole Miss Safety Anthony Alford, who has a chance to be "great" and is also humble.

Ole Miss Safety Anthony Alford, now eligible after redshirting last year due to the transfer rule, is easy on the ears.

While some stud athletes project a look-at-me persona that can be off-putting at times, Alford speaks in low volume, is extremely humble and always deflects his intentions to team goals.

It's not that he lacks confidence, but what he exudes is a quiet confidence. He lets his play on the field do his talking.

"I'll do whatever is best for the team. Anyway I can help the team, and whatever the coaches ask of me, that's what I'll do," said Alford, by all accounts one of the better pure athletes on the Rebel squad.

Not that it's necessary due to the justifiable hype that has followed him since he was in junior high, but a little backtracking for clarity's sake.

Alford came out of Petal HS as a heralded two-sport star. He signed two contracts - a pro baseball contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and a football scholarship with Southern Mississippi.

His stint at USM, where he started seven games at QB, didn't work out and he transferred to Ole Miss, eager to get away from some bad influences in his life.

During the 2013 season, Alford was selfless, playing any position on the scout teams that the first-teamers needed a good look of the opposing team's star player - QB, wideout, safety, RB.


Anthony Alford
Chuck Rounsaville

He also starred in the weight room, with S&C Coach Paul Jackson declaring Alford the "pound-for-pound strongest player on the team."

All this time, the Rebel coaches did not hide their enthusiasm about the "manchild" in waiting.

"As soon as Anthony becomes eligible, we're instantly better," DC Dave Wommack said as far back as last August.

Now, he's eligible.

And while he and Trae Elston, the incumbent at strong safety, battle it out for positional superiority, Alford is just grateful to be eligible and feel more a part of the team.

"Last fall was a long fall, the longest I've ever had," Alford said. "Now it's time for me to see what I can do and help the team the best I can."

Now that it's "real," Alford admits that while he worked hard during his redshirt stint, his focus is now sharpened.

"Ever since the semester break, I've been watching a lot of film and I had a good offseason. I think I have the defense down pat, for the most part and I'm just ready to roll," he noted.

Alford's goal now? Make plays.

Even though he's been a quarterback most of his career, and played limited DB in high school, he says he comfortable at safety.

"I just try to make plays no matter what position I am in," he continued. "I'm comfortable at safety. Don't get me wrong, I felt a part of the team last year as the scout team QB, but it feels good to be able to hone in on one position.

"I feel I can help the team more by being exclusively at one position and I like safety."

Alford's football philosophy is simple and effective.

"I just try to fly around, hustle to the ball, make plays and stay positive," he explained.

There is another plan for Alford as well - being a key cog in the return game.

"Again, whatever I can do to help the team out, I will do," he stated. "I've never returned punts before, but I've worked hard in the offseason with the kickers and punters catching kickoffs and punts.

"At first, I wasn't good at it, but I think I've adjusted to it and I look forward to trying the return game."

As far as competing for a starting job, Alford does not worry about that.

"I'm just going to come out and play hard every day, try to help my team get better and let the rest take care of itself," he closed.

The "rest" will undoubtedly be seeing a lot of Alford on Saturday's.

And if he is as good as he is humble, Alford will be special.


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