• Height: 6-foot-4
• Weight: 295 pounds
• College interest: Committed to Indiana
Now that he has a college destination lined up, Jermane Conyers has a goal in mind. He wants to be perfect.
The Ridgeland defensive lineman, who recently committed to Indiana, knows there were times the last two seasons in which he could take a play or two off. This season, with more responsibility on his shoulders, any chance at another long playoff run is in large part resting on Conyers achieving his goal.
"I want to play every play at full speed," the low-key Conyers said. "I want to be a leader on this team, and that starts on the field."
Coach Mark Mariakis has seen the change in a player who possesses unusual speed for someone his size -- 4.7 seconds for 40 yards -- and he knows the ceiling is high for the future Hoosier.
"He has everything it takes physically to be a special player," said Mariakis, who has helped put five other Panthers in major college football. "He's matured a tremendous amount since he first came here. As a freshman he would play five of 10 plays really hard, and by last season it was up to nine of 10. His goal this year is to play 10 of 10, which is something he knows he has to do for us to be successful and for himself to have a good career in major college football."
Conyers is such a good athlete that he will also play some at tight end, though in the Ridgeland scheme that means more blocking than anything. Still, he'll get a chance or two this season to show off his open-field talent.
"He's a handful as a tight end, and if they don't pay attention to him he'll get deep," Mariakis said. "But he's got the perfect skill set to play defensive tackle or end, including a wide body and long arms."
Conyers had up to 10 scholarship offers before choosing Indiana, including from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, Georgia Southern and Western Kentucky. He now wants to prove the Hoosiers made the right choice in making him the top defensive end on their recruiting list.
"That made me feel good to know where they ranked me," he said. "I know I can live up to that."
Contact Lindsey Young at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 423-757-6296.
Lindsey Young is a sports writer at the Chattanooga Times Free Press who started work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press 24 years ago. He covers the Northwest Georgia prep beat and NASCAR. Lindsey’s hometown is Ringgold, Ga., and he graduated from Lakeview-Fort Oglethorpe High School. He received an associate’s degree from Dalton Junior College (now Dalton State) and a bachelor’s degree in communications from UTC. He has won several writing awards, including two Tennessee Sports ...