This week’s game: No. 20 MSU (4-0, 1-0 SEC) at Kentucky (1-4, 0-2), Saturday, 11:21 a.m., SEC Network (Dave Neal, Andre Ware and Cara Capuano)
Darius Slay willingly walked into a seemingly impossible situation last season. He was a junior college transfer playing the same position as Johnthan Banks and Corey Broomfield, which likely meant he’d be relegated to backup duty his two years on campus.
It didn’t turn out that way. In today’s Journal, I write about Slay and trace his path from ICC to SEC starter. Broomfield is now at safety, while Slay and Banks form perhaps the top cornerback duo in the country. They’ve combined for seven interceptions and excel in man-to-man coverage.
“You’re probably going to throw more at Darius right now than you do at Banks,” cornerbacks coach Melvin Smith said. “And Banks has a lot of tape showing that if you throw at him, he’ll make a play. Darius is building a body of work that’s similar to that. … Together they’re a pretty good pair.”
Smith said he wasn’t sure when Slay first arrived on campus that he was corner material. Why? Because of his 6-foot-1, 190-pound frame.
“I was telling him yesterday, when I first saw him, when we approved him, I really thought he might be a safety, because he had a safety’s body,” Smith said. “I didn’t know he would be as good at cornerback, because usually that body type sometimes ends up a safety. You don’t really know until you get a chance to coach one and see what they can really do.”
While Slay has improved as a player since getting to MSU, he’s grown in other ways as well. From my perspective, he’s grown much more comfortable doing interviews and is more outgoing. He truly feels a part of MSU’s elite secondary.
“When I got here I was quiet, I didn’t want to talk,” he said. “Now I’m a type of leader. Everybody looks up to me. I learned a lot from Banks. He became one of my best friends. They talk to me a lot. They took me in just like a brother.”
Here’s some video of Slay talking on Monday, and then below that video of Smith talking about Slay.