• John Macon Gillespie

Butler Wants To Be The Best

The Brandon Bulldogs were one of Mississippi’s biggest surprises in 2015. So much so that first-year head coach Tyler Peterson was named the SES Mississippi Coach of the Year.

Not that it was surprising they were good, but how good. They were 10-2 in the regular season and 11-3 overall. Their only losses were to Madison Central(made it to North half), Meridian(made it to South half) and Petal(6A runner-up). In fact, Petal eliminated them after the Bulldogs cruised by them in the regular season.

Furthermore, they faced injuries at quarterback, but Brady Anderson was fantastic on the season, replacing Gardner Minshew.

“After losing a coach, a really good class and being underrated, we knew we would have to work hard to be the best team in the state,” junior running back Vincent Butler told SES Mississippi.

For most of the season it could have been argued the Bulldogs were the best team in the state. All season they were right there in that conversation. Lots of guys that contributed, such as Butler and Anderson, will return for 2016. So will 70 players from last year’s team.

“We have more experience than most teams in the state,” Butler said. “We need to become more mature as a whole and forget about last year because none of that matters now.”

Butler was a big reason for the success the Bulldogs had in 2015 as he was a stable component in the offense. He rushed for 955 yards on 7.3 yards per carry. Also, he hauled in 15 catches for 157 yards, and finished with 11 total touchdowns.

He figures to be an even bigger component to his team’s success next season.

“Mainly my work ethic and my determination at being the best running back in the state,” Butler said of what went into his big season in 2015.

He continued, talking about what he needs to do to get better for next season.

“I feel like I need to get bigger, get stronger, and learn how to run all of our plays with perfection.”

With improvement on his mind, Butler is excited for an upcoming trip to the Fortius Project to compete against other great players.

“I like the fact that big time players will be there because that will push me to do my absolute best. It’ll be a privelege to be able to compete with athletes of great talent,” He explained.

He would like to improve his route-running ability and solidify his hands. Getting better in those areas will make him the complete package, as he is already a solid receiver out of the backfield and in the slot.

“Speed, strength and acceleration,” Butler said when asked what skills he would show off best at Fortius.

By becoming a better pass-catcher and sharpening his speed, strength and acceleration, he will have made a step closer to where he wants to be, being the top running back in Mississippi. He will also get a chance to see where he stacks up against other top backs as Stephon Huderson, Kylin Hill and Cam Akers are already signed up for Fortius.

**Photo by Keith Warren of the MHSAA.

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