Chris Strong -

Ole Miss freshman Chris Strong has not given up on his dream of playing linebacker on the college level, but for now, he's a defensive tackle and he's happy with the move and his progress.

You wonder if Ole Miss freshman Chris Strong ever gets tired of being asked about his weight.

Not really.

He understands it's been the focal point of his still-young college career, so he grins and bears the constant questions.

"Whoever is asking, I just tell them. It's no big deal to me when someone asks," said the soft-spoken Strong.

While it's "no big deal" to him, it's also no secret he's been trying to lose weight - and has done so - so he could stay at the linebacker position he was signed to play at Ole Miss.

He reported at 286 pounds and is now down to 272.

Coach Ed Orgeron has said repeatedly he wants Chris to be in the 240-250 range for him to play linebacker. Since he hasn't met that standard yet, he was moved to defensive tackle, by "mutual agreement."

"It's going real good at DT," said Strong. "I have learned the basics and the coaches like my quickness and explosiveness there. I'm very comfortable with it. The coaches wanted me to move and I wanted to move to have the opportunity to get on the field quicker, so it's all been good."

So what does Chris do now, from a weight standpoint? Gain for DT, stay where he is or continue to try to lose?

"I'm good with where I am for now, at 270," he said. "I just want to get my legs stronger. The other DTs are a little stronger than me in their legs and they can push into holes with more authority. I'm OK now, but that's what I'd like to work on.

"As far as my weight in the future, if I lose weight, I guess I will move back to LB. If I don't, I'll be happy at DT at the weight I am now."

Chris said there isn't a ton of difference in MLB and DT, in his mind.

"You have to use your hands at both positions. You have to take on blockers at both positions. You get a little more time before you engage with a blocker at LB, but that's not a big deal to me," he noted. "It took a little bit to adjust to what you can see from standing up to a three-point stance, but it still all comes down to defeating your block."

Chris has a good mentor in current DT starter Peria Jerry, a junior, an old friend and high school teammate of Strong's at South Panola.

"I've always looked up to Peria. He's taken me under his wings and is showing me some things. He's showing me some moves and some quickness techniques," Chris stated. "I was a freshman when he was a senior at South Panola. I played behind him and always knew he was going to make the play in front of me.

"He has made my move to DT easier because he knows his stuff and he wants to help me and teach me."

Chris has gone head-to-head with another South Panola product, and friend, John Jerry, the most during his short week at DT.

"He's a load," Chris smiled broadly. "You have to use quickness and strength in trying to deal with Baby J. He's a big, fast guy. You have to come with everything against him.

"I feel like if I can hold my own against John and Michael Oher, who I also face a lot, I can hold my own against anyone. They have gotten the best of me a lot, but I'm getting better. I'm starting to get the hang of going against them. I'm using my quickness. I'm quicker than anyone on the DL and OL, so it's all getting better."

Nobody knows what the future holds for Chris Strong. The only thing for certain is that everyone involved believes he's going to be a star player - standing up or in a three-point stance.

For now, it's the latter.

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