A Coach's Perspective
Denico Autry
Mississippi Scout
Posted Oct 5, 2011

The nation's most sought after junior college defensive end is in his sophomore season at East MS CC and Denico Autry is more than holding up his end of the stick.

"Denico can change the game against the run and the pass," added East MS CC head coach, William Jones. "Denico is simply the best player in this league (Mississippi ). I do not think there is any question about that. He is just exceptional and well rounded. He can change the game. Denico is just so long and explosive. He can actually play OLB or DE, depending if you want to run a 3-4 or 4-3 base defense. He's just so versatile and is an elite young man."

East MS CC has become one of the nation's juco powerhouse programs and this year is no different.

"We are 5-0 and ranked #3 in the country. We hope to move up after numner one meets number two this week. We have a tremendous challenge ahead of us this week against N' East CC. They are also 5-0 and are playing about as well as anyone in the country. We are playing them for their homecoming so it is going to be a huge challenge for us. Our defense is playing a little better. Denico (Autry) is playing really well for us. He has been the strong point for our line. The secondary is also playing really well. Guys like Justin Cox (4 int's this season) and Shaquille Fluker (36 tackles) are playing really well back there."

Autry collected 60 tackles, 9 sacks, and 10 tackles from behind the line of scrimmage his freshman season at East MS CC. This year he has 42 tackles while 16 of them come from behind the line of scrimmage. What improvements has he made this year?

"He is just an overall better player. He has taken to coaching better and is getting coached up. His techniques have really improved and is getting better with his hand placements and using his leverage better. His conditioning is better because he got hurt last year and missed a lot of time. Denico is just a really dominant player in our league. The most dominant defensive player by far down this way."

One game stood out above the rest for Denico.

"He was electric against the pass against N' West CC. He got after their quarterback Dominique Harris and forced bad throws. Denico has been getting a lot of double teams as you can imagine so he has had to learn to fight through those. We are moving him around but like I said he is a different type player. You don't get to coach many of those guys. You will see him for a while on Sunday's."

The North Carolina resident has been on two recruiting trips this fall.

"He went on an official visit to Tennessee and went unofficially to Alabama last weekend to see them play Arkansas. He is going to try and make it to see MSU play real soon. He really likes Mississippi State and Alabama. but we have been busy doing what we are doing over here so he has not been around much. In fact, the Alabama game was his first college game he has ever gone to. There are some good games coming up and I am sure schools like Ole Miss and Auburn are going to try and get him in for a game because they have been working on him really hard."

East MS' campus and Starkville are only a few miles apart and that familiarity is attractive for Autry.

"He knows he is going to play there and Denico is just a good ole country boy. He feels like he fits in well there because of that. He likes the atmosphere over there and really likes their staff. He just feels comfortable there. He just feels comfortable in small towns because he grew up in one. Plus they almost assured him that he would be starting from day one and that has peaked his interest. He also knows some people there and is very comfortable around them."

How did Tennessee's official visit go?

"Denico and Damien Jacobs went over there in August for an official visit. They changed the juco rule. They allow players to start taking their officials in July/August as long as they are scheduled to graduate in December which both are. Denico was impressed with their facilities and academic support. Coach Thompson for the Vols does a great job recruiting these kids down here. They already got a soft commitment from Damien and now they are working on Denico real hard. The one thing is that they burned a visit there and didn't see a game. I hate that for those kids. I know they would like to see a game up there but it's just too expensive on their own dime. Coach Thompson does a great job down here so I am sure they will try to work out something."

The Tide jumped all over the Razorbacks and that did not go unnoticed during Denico's trip there.

"I just think he really liked the environment there. They are talking about him playing the jack backer at Alabama which means you put your hand on the ground and get after the passer. He was impressed with seeing a 100,000 fans in a stadium but who wouldn't? That was his first college game to go to so he was kind of overblown by it all. The game day environment really stood out to him but I am sure it will be that way with all of the games he will go to from here on out."

One of the Auburn assistants was at North Carolina when Denico came out of Albemarle, N.C.

"Tommy Thigpen is one of those guys that helped me find Denico when he was at North Carolina. He's an old friend of mine and a good guy. Tommy knows the kid and the community he came from. And hey, he comes from a team that just won the national championship. There is a lot to be said about that. Tommy has always done a good job of recruiting Denico and he went to his spring game and has visited our campus several times. I would think they are also in the mix along with MSU, Alabama, Tennessee, and Ole Miss."

The Rebels have struggles on the field this season and this has not gone unnoticed.

"Denico has not said a whole lot about it to be honest. The Ole Miss staff has done a nice job of recruiting Denico. They came to see him play in the N' West CC game. It is not that he is not interested in Ole Miss, because he is, but Ole Miss needs to win some games. He is a pretty high profile kid, and I can not guarantee this, but I think he wants to go somewhere he can win and win a lot. That is his desire. He wants to win some championships on the collegiate level. Coach Nutt has a lot of good young players so hopefully they can get it together and show Denico they are ready to make a run next year when Denico arrives. I think that is what he is watching out for with Ole Miss. He does hope to make it over there for the LSU game."

Yancy Porter is the Mississippi Scout for Scout.com and he can be reached at yporter@scout.com

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