Corey Actis

JUCO transfer Center Corey Actis was expected to emerge quickly as the number one snapper in spring training. It didn't happen quite that way. He was, he says, somewhat overwhelmed in the transition. Now, however, he feels he's ready for the challenge that faces him in August. Read about it inside.

JUCO transfer Corey Actis was penciled in by many Ole Miss followers as a "strong bet" to emerge as the starting center during spring training.

It didn't pan out that way. Junior Thomas Eckers was moved from offensive guard to center and Actis ended spring on the second team.

"I thought I would move right into the starting position too," said Actis, "but the reality of the situation was that coming here from junior college was a much bigger adjustment than I anticipated."

For Corey, it wasn't just anadjustment to Division I football that was a roadblock.

"It took me some time to get adjusted to Oxford, Ole Miss, the weather, the pace of things in a college program, the whole deal," he said. "I simply wasn't stepping over bumps in the road quickly enough. Everything that I thought was minor turned into something more than I was expecting.

"Even the humidity of this climate was difficult for me. I walk to class here in the mornings and I'm drenched with sweat. I just wasn't used to it, but I don't want to make it into a big deal. It's not, and those are not excuses, it just took me longer to adjust to things than I thought it would."

Included in the equation was the competition level on the football field, which was also tougher than he predicted it would be.

"I had never gone against anyone like Jeremy Garrett or Brandon Jenkins or Peria Jerry, especially Peria. That guy is a beast," he continued. "I didn't really prepare myself mentally for dealing with guys like that and it set me back some. They overwhelmed me at times."

Now that he has seen and experienced everything, he feels the "real" Corey Actis will start to emerge.

"Every day I feel better about what I'm doing. I go in the weight room and feel like I belong now," he said. "I get motivated by reflecting on my spring and my lack of production. It's really pushing me to show what I can do."

When he did his spring checklist, the "need-to-do" list was lengthy, but doable.

"Everyone needs to take advantage of the offseason in the bigger, faster, stronger race. I'm no exception to that, but what I really need to hone up on is the mental part of playing center," he evaluated. "The playbook is pretty thick and the center responsibilties require a lot of studying.

"I also need to work on putting plays behind me and moving on to the next play. I tend to dwell on my mistakes sometimes and there's no time for that. You have to move on. That play is in the past. Certainly, learn from it, but don't dwell on it."

Actis said one advantage to improving quickly he and all the Rebel OL have is Coach Art Kehoe.

"He's the best I've ever seen. The center in his line system has to make checks and make the line calls, but he tries to break it down where it's simple," Actis noted. "I have to get used to defensive linemen being in my grill instantly, but he's doing all he can for me to make the adjustment.

"Coach Kehoe is a player's coach. He understands what we are going through. For everything where he gets on you a little, he builds you up twice as much. I think that is really good because we all need fussing at at times, but we all need compliments when we do something right too. He's very fair about that. He really knows how to treat us. He knows what he's talking about and he really connects with us. He's fun to be around on and off the field. He's all business, but in a fun way."

Corey is tipping the scales at 292 pounds. The coaches want him at 290.

"I want to get to about 295 before two-a-days because I know I will lose weight in this Mississippi heat and humidity," said the California native. "My weight is pretty good right now.

"I also had a pretty good offseason. I gained about 20 pounds in all the major lifts when I maxed in early July."

Actis is optimistic about August practice. He says he won't feel like a lost rookie when two-a-days come around.

"I've had a more difficult adjustment than I thought I would, as I said," he closed, "but I think I'm now ready to take things to the next level."

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