Rebels bringing in juco offensive lineman

The only juco freshman offensive lineman to earn All-State honors in Mississippi last year might surprise a few folks.

"I came out of Bayou Aca (in Cleveland, MS), added Heath Blount. "I do not think too many people knew about me (laugh). We do not get a lot of exposure at Bayou; that is for sure. I had an offer from Delta State and a couple junior colleges at MS Delta CC and N' East CC. I decided to come here because Coach Smither was here. He use to baby-sit me, and my father coached him at Delta State. We go way back. I just pretty much followed him over here."

That transition has gone smoother than expected for the 6' 5", 295 pounds left tackle.

"In high school, they used me more as a guard, but when I got here they switched me to left tackle. I am more natural at pass blocking, so that really helped me out a lot."

"Heath is a ball player," added N' East CC head coach, Ricky Smither. "He practices likes he works in the classroom. He just has that drive to be the best he can be. Heath is very hungry coming from a small school. I am from Cleveland Eastside, so I have known Heath since he was a baby. I think he is a tremendous pass blocker because of his athleticism. He can move good for a big guy. He played against the top 5 defensive ends in our state last year and only gave up four sacks."

"He is pretty strong too. Heath benches 385 and squats over 550 pounds, but the biggest thing he is going to have to work on his run blocking skills. We do not run the ball much, so we are working on his run blocking skills in practice. I line him up at left tackle, guard, and we even let him snap the ball a lot. We just want him to be a well rounded player when he moves on from here. I tell you, the kid could play any of the positions on the line of scrimmage."

Blount's play on the field is getting him a lot of looks from the D1 coaches.

"I am trying to get use to it. Our of high school, the biggest offer I had was Delta State, and now I have all of these schools coming after me. It takes a lot to get use to, but it is fun. All of the Mississippi schools are recruiting me. Illinois, Oklahoma State, Kansas State, Arkansas, South Florida, Memphis, Troy, and Louisville. They are all recruiting me pretty good."

Heath feels like the Mississippi schools are probably closest to offering.

"Ole Miss had a camp over there in July, and I stopped by and visited with Coaches Markuson. We had been talking on the phone a lot so I wanted to meet him in person. And then I got to meet Coach Nutt. They were all real nice. I have not been talking to Coach Grimes at MSU as much as Ole Miss and USM, but we have been talking some. And USM, they stay in contact with me about as much as Ole Miss does."

Heath will do a little more research on one of the instate schools on labor day weekend.

"I am going over to Ole Miss to see them play Memphis next weekend. Coach Markuson wants me to watch his linemen. I know they are losing their left tackle (Michael Oher) this year, so I will have a chance to step right in and play if I go to school there."

What else is Blount looking for when it comes decision time?

"Well, I am getting out in December because I was a qualifier out of high school and I am graduating early anyway, so I have to get going (on making a decision). I just want an opportunity to compete for a left tackle spot, and outside of football, I am looking for a good physical therapy program. And socially, I want to be able to get along with the guys so I do not feel like an outsider."

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