Jasper a "Big" Recruit in More Ways than One

One of the larger prospects we have seen in the past six years attended the three day camp last month. <p>Once we were told that the nearly 400 (378) pound prospect looked to have little body fat, we had to see for ourselves. As you can see in Michael's picture, it is true. Not only is Michael well put together, he has above average footwork for a man his size.

The following information was revealed during our interview with Mr. Jasper on July 17:

What is your current height, weight, and forty time? "I have lost a lot of weight this month, like twenty something pounds. I am about 345 right now. I am right at 6' 5", and my best forty time is a 5.2. I am going to get that down in the 4's soon though."

Which position are you being recruited to play on the next level? "Offensive Guard.

What makes you a good football player? "Man, my belief in Christ. That keeps me humble. My mother is the assistant pastor at our church. I do not know what I would do without him. He blessed me quite a bit."

What are your strengths on the field? "I have incredible leg strength (620 squat). For my size, a lot of people underestimate my quickness, but I am very quick. And I am really explosive off the ball."

What are you trying to work on to take your game to the next level? "I would like to work on my stamina. That is a big key in the game. I play both ways, but I need to play to the fullest of my ability on every play."

How long have you been starting for Mt. Juliet? "I have been starting since I was a sophomore on the offensive side of the ball. Last year, I started both ways. My freshman year, I was the sixth man for our line. I kicked off and punted too."

What was Mt. Juliet's record last year? "We went 4 - 6. Not too good."

What were your personal stats for the season? "On defense, I think I had like 6 sacks. I do not know how many tackles I had, but it was a bunch of them. On offense, I had a lot of pancakes. Too many for me to count."

Which awards did you garner for your play in the 2003 season? "I was Player of the Week several times. Week one, I was named "Godfather", which goes to the hardest lick."

Which schools have you camped at this summer? "Tennessee, Vandy, and Ole Miss."

Are you going to anymore camps? "I do not think so."

Which schools are actively recruiting you? "All of the SEC schools. I also have MTSU, Memphis, Marshall, Purdue, and Michigan. There are so many of them."

Any offers yet? "No, not yet, no offers."

Which schools are recruiting you the hardest? "I say Ole Miss and Vandy. Tennessee, although they tell me they are real serious, they do not show it. MTSU, Florida, and Auburn are really excited too."

Who all called you during the May evaluation period? "Phone calls, there was Ole Miss, MTSU, Memphis, Tennessee, Florida, and Auburn. I believe that is it."

Who contacted you first? "Actually, Memphis, but Ole Miss called me right after. It came pretty quickly. Then Florida and MTSU called me that night."

Which coach stood out the most during your conversations? "Actually, to tell you the truth, I liked Coach Roper at Ole Miss. Most of them, they just get right to the questions and all. But Coach Roper, he got to know me before he got down to business. I could just tell that he really wanted to know me as a person. It was just different with him."

Which schools are you keeping a close eye on? "Right now, I would say my top 3...well..my number one school is Ole Miss. But, it is constantly switching. I like Memphis, Auburn, MTSU, Vandy, Florida, Wake Forrest and Marshall.."

Are you saying that your leader is constantly switching between those schools you listed? "Ole Miss has always been my leader, but two, three, and four choice is constantly changing."

What attracts you to Ole Miss? "Oh man, it gorgeous. First, it is place I have never been to before. I had never been to Mississippi until I went to their camp. It is so pretty dwn there. All of their coaches are great too. Coach Woods played ball against my cousin, Patrick Stenton. They know each other pretty well. He tells me that Coach Woods is a good guy. I just feel that God has me and Levi in his plans to go to Ole Miss. The spiritual aspect of their team is a big plus for me. That and the fact that I can be coached by John Latina. He has sent all of his starting linemen to the league, which is where I want to be.".

What are MTSU's positives? "That is a big thing. My uncle Mike Gaines played there, and so did my cousin Tony Gaines. I have pretty much been going to their games since I was a kid. I just know everything about their program."

What do you like about Memphis? "The biggest thing about Memphis is the fact that my mother and aunt graduated from there. They had such a great time there. I would not mind playing for them, and it is not too far from home."

And Auburn? "The thing about Auburn is the way that town is. I mean, you are in the middle of no where, and then there is Auburn. I think that is kind of neat. And their fans are crazy. They are all into their football. When I met their staff, I do not know, I just felt comfortable around them."

What do you like about Vandy? "I get a kick when people ask me why I like Vandy. Everybody thinks they are second rate because they lose a lot of games, but I like Bobby Johnson. I see him turning it around in a hurry. Another thing, I want to be a teacher if I do not go to the league. Their School of Peabody is one of the best programs in the world."

Have you been on any visits to the schools you are interested in? "I have been to all of them, except Ole Miss and Florida, as far as Spring and Fall games."

What will be the factors when you are trying to find the best school for you? "I am trying to look to see if I feel comfortable while I am there. Where God has me to be, really. To come in and contribute to the team early, not three or four years down the road. I am not too much for sitting around."

Michael carries a 2.94 GPA and a 17 on his ACT.

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