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Corder: A granddad lends advice to a Bulldog

Herman Carroll Sr. beamed like he was stuck in Reliant Stadium for the Super Bowl halftime show.

He couldn’t get that silly grin off his face Wednesdau morning. And no one was about to try to wipe it off, either.

If they so chose to, they’d either have to stand face-to-chest with Herman Carroll Jr., a 6-3, 275-pound former defensive lineman for Mississippi State and the New Orleans Saints or Senior’s grandbaby, a 6-4, 290-pound man-child known as Anthony Strauder.

With Dudley Guice Jr. keeping us all on the edge of our seats, wondering where his destiny awaits, Natchez High’s Strauder was the big commitment from the area on National Signing Day.

&uot;He’s got all the skills and is quick as a cat,&uot; Senior said of his grandchild. &uot;He’s a better athlete than Herman (Jr.). He has a quiet exterior, but he’s bigger and stronger and just as quick as Herman.&uot;

Strauder was considered one of first-year head coach Sylvester Croom’s biggest additions on Wednesday, not only because the consensus Bulldog had previously verbally committed to Southern Miss, but also for due to Croom’s inaugural class being considering less-than-average.

Strauder said Wednesday that in a visit to his family’s home in Natchez, Croom made a lasting impression on Herman Carroll Sr., and ultimately that played a major role in his decision.

&uot;I do know this: it’s history,&uot; Herman Sr. said in reference to Croom being the first black head coach in the Southeastern Conference. &uot;But, whether it had a bearing on his decision, we didn’t discuss that. I think he had really decided before all of that transpired.&uot;

Senior seems to believe that a challenge laid down by his son to Strauder several weeks ago about Anthony not being good enough to play in the SEC was thre greater impetus of the two.

Strauder made great strides over the past two seasons to up his stock to college recruiters after turning in rather lackluster performances in his first two seasons at Natchez High.

The possibilities seemed infinite for him this season, as he had more than 40 tackles &045; six for a loss &045; and five sacks through five contests this season.

However, in Week 6 against Meridian, Strauder’s season ended abruptly with a broken left fibula and he was forced to watch the remainder of a 1-10 season on crutches from the sidelines.

&uot;We had a lot of talent on this team, but few had the ambition like myself and some others,&uot; Strauder said. &uot;But I wish everybody the best.

&uot;Whoever they bring in, I want to see my hometown do good, and I want to do good for my hometown,&uot; he said in refernce to the Jan. 16 firing of then-head coach James Denson.

Through it all Southern Miss stuck by Strauder, as he went throuh physical therapy, but in the end, through some long talks with Herman Sr., he chose to answer his uncle’s challenge.

&uot;I was never really stressed out because I talked it over with my grandad about what was best,&uot; Strauder said. &uot;I always wanted to go there, but I had my doubts.&uot;

Chuck Corder

is a sports writer for The Natchez Democrat. You can reach him at (601) 445-3633 or by e-mail at

chuck.corder@natchezdemocrat.

com.

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