WC’s Warner deserves shot from Mississippi’s Big Three

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 3, 2004

{10/28/04]To: Southern Miss coach Jeff Bower, Mississippi State coach Sylvester Croom and Ole Miss coach David Cutcliffe.

Dear sirs:

Please allow me to take a few minutes of your time. I know this is midseason and things are busy right now. But recruiting season is almost upon us and there’s a prospect around here that’s getting overlooked.

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He’s easy to overlook, only standing 5-feet, 3-inches tall and weighing slightly more than one of Tony Siragusa’s legs. He sure can run, though. He’s had one game where he rushed for 308 yards on EIGHT carries. The opposing coach, when asked how he would recommend stopping him, said, “build a fence.”

His center of gravity is low to the ground. He can stop on a dime and make change, leaving defenders sprawling across the field dumbfounded.

And his statistics? Oh, my! In nine games, he has rushed for 1,574 yards on 113 carries, meaning he gains almost 14 yards every time he touches the football. Add to that the 17 touchdowns he’s scored and this guy’s a can’t miss.

If Larry Warner were 6-1, 215, every school in America would be breathing down his neck. He’d be the highest recruited player from here since Brian Darden in 1994. But nary a mention is made of Larry Warner. It’s a modern case of sizeism.

Someone, somewhere has got to take a chance on Larry Warner. He is unflappable with a football, sounds like a diesel engine churning his legs down the field.

He’s done a full 360 with a Southaven defender’s hand wrapped around his facemask, shook him off and gained 15 more yards. In his last game, a fellow scribe said he looked like one good hit would put him out of the game. Two plays later, he ran over a linebacker, then lunged forward for five more yards.

One longtime football watcher from this area said Warner is the best ever to come through here. Another said he is the most electrifying back they’d ever seen.

The fact is he can play anywhere. He has everything a great running back has except the standard scout size and, most importantly, a chance.

That’s where y’all step in. This one deserves a chance to prove himself at the next level. He’s been having to prove himself his entire life. He loves a challenge.

In a year and a half, he has taken the school and this county by storm. He won last year’s Offensive Player of the Year award and is well on his way to win this year’s.

It’s just a matter of who will step up and give him what he needs the most.

Sean P. Murphy is sports editor of The Vicksburg Post. E-mail him at smurphy@vicksburgpost.com.