Several CHHS player garnering interest from colleges

Published 9:45 pm Thursday, June 5, 2014

Richard McBryde may have opened the door, but his fellow teammates have kicked it off the hinges.

During his tenure at Charles Henderson, former head coach Mike Dean said linebacker Richard McBryde would be the first member of the team to sign a scholarship with a major college football power, but he wouldn’t be the last.

Out of McBryde’s shadow, and in to the national recruiting spotlight steps defensive lineman Coby Smith recently picked up interest from national powers Miami and Georgia Tech. Charles Henderson corner Demario “Squirrel” Harris has standing offers from Jacksonville State and Murray State.

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Three other players, quarterback Austin Ingram, running back Modarius “Duke” Dixon and defensive back Marquis Simmons are beginning to surface on various team’s radar.

When Miami assistant coach Michael Barrow came to Troy a few weeks back, he was in search of McBryde. He left with an inside scoop on the unheralded Smith.

Smith, a rising junior, doesn’t set the world on fire with his statistics, but Charles Henderson interim head coach Rodney Jordan said it is Smith’s athleticism that got the scout’s attention.

“I think back to the big fumble recovery for a touchdown he had against UMS and a great play on a forced fumble against Pike County,” Jordan said. “He also made a read on an interception against Beauregard. Those three plays right there show how athletic he is. Now is about the time for him to get his stats where they need to be. All the tools are there for Coby Smith.”

Smith accounted for 44 tackles, nine for a loss, and one-and-a-half sacks during his sophomore campaign.

After getting back to Miami, Barrow called Jordan and informed him to send all the Smith highlight tape he could find.

“Coach Barrow said they were in a meeting and wanted HUDL film on Coby,” Jordan said. “We sent them what we have, because if your name is brought up in a meeting, there is something there.”

Smith has played for several seasons, but never dreamed of ever having the chance to play for schools as tradition rich as Miami and Georgia Tech.

Smith has a plan in place to follow in the footsteps of former Hurricane defensive line greats Cortez Kennedy, Russell Maryland, Warren Sapp and Vince Willfork.

“I just have to work my butt off every day,” Smith said. “If eat these weights and work on my agility and technique, then college will come. I just have to get better every single day.”

Smith was discovered thanks in large part to McBryde’s growing fame. McBryde is a four-star linebacker and possesses a scholarship offer from every SEC school, as well as Louisville, Miami and defending national champion Florida State.

Jordan feels McBryde is only the tip of the iceberg.

“Charles Henderson has sent several guys on to the SEC in the last few years,” Jordan said. “Vaughn Ewing went on to play at Alabama, Rah-Rah (Jawara White) went to Auburn and Quavian Lewis played at Vandy. We will have a guy sign with one of those powerhouse programs, but we have a lot of guys that can play at Troy, Southern Miss, Georgia Southern and places like that. I’m telling everyone I can about Duke, Austin and Marquis Simmons, because they are three guys that need to get offers.”