Lance Pogue has coached dozens of D-I prospects during his stay at South Panola. He feels like he has another good one in defensive tackle O'Bryan Goodson.
"People look at his size, as far as his height," Pogue said. "He's a 5-foot-11 guy. He's not 6-foot-2, but he's a playmaker. He's 270-275 and can squat over 500 pounds and bench over 400 pounds. His first step is out of sight and his brute strength is remarkable. But again, he has a relentless motor. He's a guy that if people don't watch out they will overlook him. He's a typical blue collar Mississippi guy. He's not out there in the headlines and those kind of things, but he's a true football player."
The South Panola head coach compares him to his first cousin, Issac Gross.
"He's not quite as tall as Issac Gross but similar players. Quick first step. In any league, but in high school especially, defensive linemen with an explosive first step like that gets penetration. But he and Gross are very comparable coming out of high school. They both played as sophomore and juniors and to me there are a lot of similarities."
The Tiger head coach hasn't seen a better defensive lineman in the state of Mississippi for the 2017 class than O'Bryan.
"I don't want to sound biased, but I don't think there is anyone else in the state I would rate ahead of Goodson as a defensive lineman or as a playmaker. I know this past year there were some great ones. They have come and have now graduated. But this coming up class I think Goodson is as good or better than anybody in this state as a defensive lineman. You know the premium put on the defensive line. There's always going be guys out there that are sleepers that people don't know a lot about. Just here with my hands on everyday, and I've been with him since he was in 7th grade, the kid will be a steal for somebody."
Who are some of the colleges that have dropped by to see Goodson this spring?
"Memphis, Southern Miss, Troy and those kinds. Of course colleges are just getting out and finishing up spring. Ole Miss is going to be through here. Mississippi State, and you know we get a lot of traffic throughout the SEC. I just hope that somebody will look past his height and watch the production on his film. They need to look at more than just his height because he packs a punch. He plays hard and is a high character kid that has a high motor. He has all the things you want in that regards. I just hope people want just get caught up in his height."
What do the colleges want to see from Goodson outside of his height?
"We have some pretty lively practices. We are physical. We have a lot of inside runs and things like that where a college can come by and actually see a guy in a live physical contact drill. We try and have a quick whistle. We don't want to have people getting banged up, if we can help it, but our linemen go up against one another. When people come by we try and promote a guy like Goodson. They want to see how a guy strikes and how physical he is and his first step and strength and how he chases a ball laterally. We think our practices are set up to help showcase their abilities when a college does come through here. Eyes are on and hands on."
There is another defensive lineman that is a rising junior that people need to keep an eye on?
"You know me I don't like to give our underclassmen a whole lot of clippings because I don't want them to stop working hard, but I think (defensive tackle) Robert Hentz has a chance to be pretty special. He has the size (6-foot-2, 270) speed and strength you are looking for on the next level. He brings a lot to our front seven, and I suspect you will be hearing a lot about him in the future."
What are coach Pogue's expectations for the '16 season?
"Last year we were undefeated and got upset in the first round. You know that was a major blow. We weren't expecting that, and I had a lot of seniors, but I felt like all along this year's team could be a talented group. Our defensive line is very experienced. Our linebackers are too. Our front seven has a lot of experience. We are youthful in the secondary and are going to be youthful in the offensive line but big and talented. I just think we have a chance to be pretty good. It doesn't happen overnight, but I'm seeing a lot of promise. We will be the kind of team that throughout the season, when we get some game experience and grow up some and get a lot of reps in, we will hopefully gain some confidence. Hopefully we hit our stride at the right time. We have had some teams before that have done that. Hopefully this team can follow that lead."
What will South Panola hang their hat on this season?
"I think defensively we have a chance to be really good. Again, I think our front seven is going to be really good. You talk about Goodson, he's kind of our ring leader, but we have several promising defensive linemen. As you well know that's a premium to be good on the front seven and our linebackers are experienced. I'm really excited about that. I think offensively, we are going to have two quarterbacks. We are going to try and play to their capabilities. We are going to utilize their strengths, and we have some playmakers at receiver and running back. I feel like when the offensive line kind of hits their stride we are going to have a lot of balance and be a team that can run it and throw it and be good up front on defense and hopefully be solid in the kicking game. If you can do those things you can have a shot."
Yancy Porter is the recruiting analyst for the Ole Miss Spirit and he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org