Pedyfoot making mark at Delta State

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 23, 2008

CLEVELAND — It’s been four years since Jesse Pedyfoot has been on a team this good.

In his senior season at Warren Central, Pedyfoot was among a talented group of players that helped the Vikings to a 10-1 regular season and a region championship. Included in that group is current Southern Miss safety Chico Hunter, Southern Illinois starting running back Larry Warner, Louisiana-Monroe cornerback Otis Stamps and Pedyfoot.

While Delta State may be a Division II school, Pedyfoot likes where he and the Statesmen are at — ranked in the top five in the nation after last Thursday’s 34-28 win over previously No. 2 ranked North Alabama at McCool Stadium.

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“It feels great to be here. The coaching staff here is second to none. They push us to be the best,” Pedyfoot said.

Pedyfoot is the Statesmen’s starter at defensive end. At Warren Central, he was a 220-pound combination linebacker/end. Following two seasons at Hinds Community College, where he started at end on the opposite side of Vicksburg High product DeKores Branch, Pedyfoot has filled out to 255 pounds.

“I’m a true end now,” he said with a laugh. “I know it seems at times it looks like I’m lined up as a linebacker, I am an end. It’s my position. I don’t think they can convert me back to a linebacker.

“Here, we do a lot. I’m moving all around. And we do a lot of rotation type of stuff with our front seven,” Pedyfoot said.

The Statesmen’s approach worked in limiting previously unbeaten North Alabama to just 33 net yards rushing. The shutdown of the Lions’ run allowed Delta State (6-1, 5-0 Gulf South Conference) to come back from a 21-7 first half deficit.

“Playing on a team this good is something I’ve always dreamed about,” Pedyfoot said. “This is just a great environment to be in. When I was at Warren Central, it was good. Here it’s different. You practice, you play, and the rest of the time you have your head in the books.”

Pedyfoot says he stays in touch with his former Warren Central and Hinds teammate Stamps. One of the common discussions is how much faster things are at the collegiate level.

“The speed of the game is so much faster. Here, you have to read your blocks quickly,” Pedyfoot said.

If the Statesmen can win their last three regular season games, they could earn a first round bye and host a second round NCAA playoff game in Cleveland. It would also net their second straight GSC championship.

“We just have to maintain our focus,” Pedyfoot said.

In seven starts, Pedyfoot has 13 tackles, including one for a loss and one fumble recovery. He had a solo tackle and an assist against North Alabama.

“Jesse is a good player who is getting better with each game.” Delta State coach Ron Roberts said. “He’s part of the best defense in the Gulf South Conference and one that just held the No. 2 team in the nation to just 33 yards rushing. It’s to his credit to be among those guys up front for us.”


Contact Jeff Byrd at