In today's Journal, I take a look at the Mississippi State defensive line situation, with a focus on senior end Sean Ferguson. He's the most experienced player at that position and is starting to step up his game.
But right now I want to look at someone else, a newcomer with a lot of promise: Kaleb Eulls. The redshirt freshman made a mark at Yazoo County High School, making 82 tackles, 16 tackles-for-loss and seven sacks his senior year, earning all-state honors and being named one of the top five prospects in the state.
Since that time, however, he's been best known for something else: An incident on a school bus, when Eulls disarmed a fellow student. That valiant act drew national attention and a lot of positive press for Eulls and, by extension, MSU for signing such a kid.
But that's all in the past. Eulls is eager to remind people that he's a pretty darn good football player. But even in talking about that, Eulls deferred to others.
"Yeah, I'll get to remind people," he said. "I can't just take the credit all for myself for being a good player myself. I've got people behind me to prove that, too."
Eulls (6-foot-4, 275 pounds) came in as a defensive end and will play both there and at tackle. He's fine with that. He's definitely closer to tackle size than when he arrived at MSU at 255 pounds.
"To me, the switch from end to tackle, it's a little different, moving from a lot of space to the tight spaces inside," he said. "But to me it's no different, because I got a chance to learn everything."
Eulls said getting a chance to watch Pernell McPhee last season was a great help, and he feels ready to step on the field this fall. Defensive coordinator/defensive line coach Chris Wilson has seen how much Eulls wants to be out there terrorizing offenses once again.
Wilson knows Eulls' story. Since getting to know Eulls himself, Wilson has seen a young man dedicated to becoming a great player.
"All that being said – and no one questions how courageous he is – the thing that's really propelled him and got him to this point is what he's done on the field as well as off the field," Wilson said. "He's a really, really good football player. He's an SEC-caliber football player."