Mark Jean-Louis, a 6-2 1/2 300-plus pound offensive lineman who signed with Ole Miss at mid-semester out of Cerritos CC in California, is glad to be turning the page of his football career into Division I status.
But he knows it will require hard work and attention to detail.
"We've already started working out in getting ready for spring training. Right now, I'm in mediocre shape and know what I have to do to get ready. Coach (Aaron) Ausmus will help me get ready," said Jean-Louis, who hails from West Palm Beach, FL, and was an All-State performer at Palm Beach Gardens HS. "We are working on cutting body fat right now. I'm already pretty strong, but I have some extra weight to take off."
Mark already benches 420 pounds and cleans 340, but he knows he has to take his weight down to be at his best.
"I don't want to know what I weigh right now - too much," he smiled. "I'm coming off a broken ankle, so I haven't been able to run much. I running in the underwater pool here to keep some weight off the ankle for a while, but I'll be OK for spring.
"I should be fully healed in three to four weeks."
Jean-Louis said his ideal playing weight is "about 325," and he will "get there" by spring, he believes.
Mark has been penciled in to play left guard. As a JUCO, the hope is that he can take over for the now-graduated Andrew Wicker.
"My goal is to start, like everyone else," he said. "When you see me in spring training, you will see an intense player firing off the ball hitting people."
Jean-Louis' strengths are his feet and muscle power.
"I have quick feet and good strength, but I know I will have to work on my technique a lot between now and the season. Previously, I didn't have to use great technique to win, but I know on this level that everyone is fast, big and strong and great technique is the difference," he continued.
Jean-Louis said he will be trying to win the left guard job in spring and impress his coach, Art Kehoe.
"Coach Kehoe is a fired-up guy, very intense, but he's also fun to be around. He's serious about football and business, but he's got a great sense of humor. He suits my personality," he noted.
So far, Jean-Louis has adapted to Oxford well.
"I was born in West Palm, which is a medium-sized city, but I spent a lot of summers in Belle Glade, which is a lot like Oxford size-wise. I'm enjoying it," he closed. "It's been real easy joining the team. The players have welcomed me like I have been here my whole career. I love the team attitude. Everyone is pulling together.
"I intend to earn their respect in the offseason and in spring training."
Jean-Louis appears to be carrying about 20 extra pounds. Once that is trimmed off, spring training is right around the corner.
His goal is to start next season. Will he reach it? Time will tell.
Mark Jean-Louis update
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