Coach Spotlight: Maurice Couch

Maurice Couch's football journey to big-time SEC football took him from Orlando-Edgewater, Fla., where he played one season, to Garden City Community College in Kansas. After an initial redshirt season, Couch saw his stock rise rapidly in his second year under the tutelage of head coach Lucas Aslin.

"He came to us mid-term in 2009," said Aslin. "We could tell he was a good athlete and could become a real difference maker with some work on his technique."

Couch missed his junior season at Edgewater and only played there as a senior. The coaches guided Couch to Garden City to help him get more exposure and to bring up his academics for a chance to play Division 1 football down the line.

"Edgewater is a good high school program down in Florida," said Aslin. "They have sent a ton of kids to D1 schools. We wanted to redshirt him that first year so he could concentrate more on the classroom and have three years of eligibility left when he left. It was a tough thing to do because he did so well on the scout team."

Couch, 6-2, 295, took off in 2010 for Garden City. He made 45 tackles (26 solo), 12 tackles for loss, three sacks, one pass block, one forced fumble, and one blocked kick. He was named 2nd team All-KJCC Conference at interior lineman. Offers came from Georgia, South Carolina, Ole Miss, USC, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Kansas, Kansas State, and others.

"I give a lot of credit in Mo's development to our defensive line coach, Bill Griffith," said Aslin. "He gave Mo some tough love, ripped him a little and told him there was a right way do doing things, and bought out the best in Mo."

After visiting South Carolina, Ole Miss, USC, Tennessee, and Kansas State, Couch decided in November the next stop in his journey would become Knoxville, Tenn.

"Mo and I sat down and talked about his decision," Aslin said. "He wanted to play in the SEC, the best conference in America, and he wanted to play quickly. He thought Tennessee offered him the best opportunity to do that.

"Also, Darin Hinshaw did an extremely good job of recruiting him. One thing the Tennessee coaches did was come up with a graduation plan for Mo to follow academically to get there. He's done it and just has one more class to pass and will graduate in May."

Landing a big scholarship offer from a football powerhouse is a major accomplishment for someone who has played just two seasons in the past four.

"Mo's a big, strong kid and a tremendous athlete," said Aslin. "With his skill set I see him playing the three technique in a 3-4 defense. He's at 290-295 now, but could easily play at 300-315. He's a very coachable young man. He worked with Coach Griffith on grabbing the shoulder and going over the top of the defender. He's a very good run-stopper. Other teams would double-team him, and he'd still make plays."

Now that his playing career with the Garden City Broncbusters has come to an end, Aslin says Couch is keeping his eye on the big prize.

"He's working out hard," Aslin said. "He knows going in the first part of June is going to be a grind, and he's getting ready for the challenge. Mo's really a good kid, and I'm happy for him.

"He's kind of shy and keeps to himself. It takes him awhile to warm up to people. We've really enjoyed having him here, and he's done an outstanding job of getting himself to be in this position."

Couch wore No. 55 for the Broncbusters, the same number he wore at Edgewater High School.

After a 3-6 season in his 4th year at Garden City Coummity College, Coach Aslin resigned after the season. He plans on returning to coaching at the high school level. The Broncbusters' new coach is Jeff Tatum.

Maurice Couch

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