'I want to win the Butkus award twice at OM'
"It feels real good to come out of here with 4 state championships and to have never lost a game in my career. We were 52-0 while I was the starter here. This is my hometown, and we are the best at what ever we do," stated Chris Strong
And Chris looks forward to bringing that winning mentality 18 miles East of Batesville.
"I can't wait to get over to Ole Miss this summer. I just can not wait. I think Ole Miss is a great football program who just fell on hard times recently, but they are rebuilding. They have so many good young players, and I just want to help lead them to the Sugar bowl. As coach Orgeron said, beating MSU was nice and all, but our goal is to win the Sugar Bowl. And that is exactly what I plan to do while I am there. I want to hold that trophy up like I have done here four times. The fans at Ole Miss deserve it, and I plan on being that man to help bring them that trophy. Our goal will not be to get to Atlanta; it will be to win in Atlanta. I will not leave Ole Miss without an SEC championship ring, I promise you that."
The Ole Miss coaching staff was the biggest influence in Chris's decision to attend Ole Miss.
"That was the thing, they cared for me when nobody else did. When I hurt my knee in 9th grade, they told me to hang in there, my scholarship was still good. That meant a lot to me. They are more concerned about you as a person than a football player. It is all about becoming a man with them."
Commitments come and go in today's society, but Strong has taken his word to the next level.
"I do not even take other college's phone calls when they call. I only talk to Ole Miss. I have never had a second doubt in my mind. I might have committed to Ole Miss last year, but in my mind, I have been committed all of my life. I grew up a Rebel, and I will die a Rebel. My word is my bond. You can tell everybody to put that to rest, I am signing with Ole Miss, period."
Chris' idol, Patrick Willis, won the Butkus award and is now headed off to the NFL. P Willie's tagmate, Rory Johnson, also bolted off to the NFL. Does this put any pressure on Strong?
"Yes, it brings a lot of pressure on me because everybody wants me to take Willis' spot, but I want to do better than Willis and get the Butkus award more than once. I am going to do what I have to do this summer to find me a spot, and then I do not plan on letting it go for four years.
Strong may come off as cocky to some, but to Chris, you have to have confidence in order to succeed.
"For the people who do not know me, they might think some of the things I say are cocky, but really, I am as humble as I can be. I know the man upstairs blessed me with a lot of God given talent, and I am just trying to utilize them to the best of my ability."
Chris states that he currently weighs 253, but the staff wants to get him down to 240 before he reports.
"They said I could play at the weight I am at right now, but for me to be at my best, they want me to be in the 240-245 range."
What are Strong's goals between now and when he signs?
"I am just staying in shape right now and concentrating on my studies. Like tonight, I just got back from the track. I ran ten 110's (hundred and ten yard sprints) and then I ran 2 miles. I do that every night on my own to stay in shape. And then I go to my tutor's house, and she helps me out with my books. Ole Miss told me to not worry about anything right now but my studies. Tey are more concerned about me staying on my books so I will be eligible than anything else. This Spring, I will start looking at their playbook and I'll go check out some practices. But right now, it is all about my books."
Where does Chris stand academically?
"Right now, I am right on target with what I need. I did not make any C's this term. I am doing real good. My GPA is right where it needs to be. I will have all of my core classes, I just have to get my ACT score. I am taking it in early January, and I feel real good about it. I go to a tutor three nights a week to help me for the test. I need a 17, and I will be good to go."
Has Chris set up his official visit to Ole Miss?
"Yes, me, Jeramie (Griffin), and Leroy (Diggs) are going over there on our visit on the second weekend of January (12-14)."
Chris had 103 tackles, 28 for loss, 73 solo tackles, 6 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 3 recovered fumbles for the season.
"I think my leadership skills and reading the football plays were my biggest improvements. Just reading the ball where ever it goes, that was the bigges thing for me."
And there are many Rebel fans who can't wait for Chris to read that "ball" for the next four years in Oxford.
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