• John Macon Gillespie

Drummond Ready For Close Up

The Laurel Tornadoes featured one of Mississippi’s best offenses in 2015, thanks mostly to their passing game that averaged just under 250 yards per game. Keon Howard to Octavious Cooley was a popular connection as the two connected for 13 scores last season.

This Fall, however, Cooley will be suiting up for Ole Miss while Howard is being groomed to be the future signal caller for Southern Miss. With those two gone the Tornado offense must establish a new prolific connection.

One part of that equation is already in place. Junior receiver Dontario Drummond has already shown he can be a star. Last season he finished with 41 catches for 704 yards with eight touchdown receptions. Not only were his 100-yard receiving games against Hattiesburg and Brookhaven off the charts, but so was his 17.2 yards per catch. He shined bright with two touchdown catches against Pascagoula in the second round of the playoffs, as well.

Drummond knows that 2016 will be a pivotal season not only for himself, but also for him to provide the production that Cooley leaves behind in the passing game.

“It’s going to be real big for me to step up for my team this season,” He told SES Mississippi. “I’m going to be the best player I can be for my team.”

Playing alongside an immensely talented player like Cooley is something Drummond says he took full advantage of.

“I learned a lot from him. He is a good player to learn a lot from,” Drummond said.

However, it will take more than just Drummond stepping up in 2016 for Laurel to be able to replace all the production they lost from a season ago. It’s not about who steps up but more about everyone preparing to step up when they get their chance, he explained.

“We’re just going to have to play hard and work hard. That’s all we have to do,” Drummond said. “I’m putting in a lot of work this offseason.”

That work began once last season ended, but it will continue this weekend as Drummond will take part in the Fortius Project at Petal High. He is looking forward to competing and experiencing something new.

“I haven’t been to any camps, this is going to be my first camp. But it looks like a good camp to go to. I’m just trying to showcase my skills,” He explained.

The skills that helped him excel on the field during his junior campaign will also be on display in the camp setting this weekend. His “catching and jumping,” skills are what he expects to stick out most, though. He is also looking to make improvements to his overall game.

“Getting faster, getting bigger and footwork,” are areas he wants to improve most. Those are also his areas of focus as the offseason moves on.

Drummond plays with passion and it shows to anyone who sees him play. That drive from inside him comes from those around him that he loves most.

“I want to give back to my family what they have given to me,” He said.

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