Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Former 4-star prospect enrolls at Valley

ITTA BENA – Last year, there wasn’t much news to report about Mississippi Valley’s State’s football recruiting. In the midst of a coaching transition from Willie Totten to Karl Morgan, National Signing Day came and went without a single signee.  

This time around, however, Morgan brought in 10 mid-year recruits – including his largest catch to date: University of South Carolina transfer defensive lineman Ronald Byrd.

The Hogansville, Ga. native, who was rated a four-star prospect out of high school by, has enrolled at Valley and will suit up for the Delta Devils this upcoming season. The 6-foot-5, 280 pound lineman was considered the 15th best prospect in the nation in 2008.

Morgan said he’s grateful to have the highly touted recruit on campus, but he doesn’t pay much attention to the ratings attributed by Internet sites.

“I don’t put much stock in those stars,” said Morgan. “Some of those stars pan out, and some of those stars don’t pan out.

“It’s nice to have somebody who’s well thought of. He has the ability to be as good as they thought he was.”

Byrd’s trek to the Delta began in August 2009 when he tore his ACL while at South Carolina, sidelining him for nine months. Byrd’s lengthy recovery, coupled with stiff competition, caused him to look elsewhere to offer his services.

Bryd said he visited South Carolina State, Western Kentucky and Valley. His trip to Greenville to watch the Delta Devils back in November in their season-ending game against Alabama A&M sealed the deal. MVSU lost that game  and finished the season 0-10, but that didn’t deter the former Gamecock.

“Every team hits a rut,” said Byrd, who took a medical redshirt last season. “I want to be a part of what they’re building up right now.”

Unlike at South Carolina, where he never got a chance to suit up, Byrd likely will be a key component for a Delta Devils team that ranked last in the SWAC in total defense.

“This is a place where I’ll get to play, get a lot more playing time,” said the redshirt sophomore. “(And) this is a place where I can help build up for the next 2-3 years.”

Another reason the Georgia native ended up in this small Mississippi town was former MVSU offensive line coach Cedric Williams, who Byrd said he has known since high school. Williams, however, recently left for a position at Newberry College, a Division 2 school in South Carolina. Williams’ departure didn’t blow it for Valley, though, said Byrd.

“I told Valley,” said Byrd, “I didn’t choose coach Williams. If that was the case, I would have followed him. When he left it wasn’t a big trip to me.”

Byrd, who added that he had heard of Valley before his visit “but never researched them, said he has now settled in at his new home and is ready to get to work. And when his time is over at Valley, he said he hopes he has lived up to those high expectations.

Said Byrd, “I want them to remember me as somebody who didn’t quit, worked hard, was a leader who led by example and a winner.” 

No comments: