• John Macon Gillespie

Noble Wants To Make A Statement In 2017

Zion Noble is ready to compete at the Fortius Project later this month at Itawamba Community College. It won’t be his first Fortius experience, though, as the hulking linebacker was at the MRA stop in 2016.

As you would expect, this time around Noble expects things will be different. It would be hard for the rising senior not to impress anywhere he goes. His size and frame, combined with his athleticism, are impressive. However, he walked away last April without so much as having made the 15-member all-combine team.

In addition to the all-combine team, the STRONGER award is given out at the end of the day. It goes to the camp’s MVP, the player proves that he is stronger and better than when he showed up to the camp. Not just stronger or better than his fellow competitors.

“I plan on bringing it home this year,” Noble told SES Mississippi. “I’ve been working hard this past year, so I’m coming with a lot more pressure.”

“I plan on having some of the best time in the drills. As far as one-on-ones, whoever gets in front of me will get worked no matter their star rankings or offers. I plan on making a statement.”

When you consider that Noble was so productive on the field for O’Bannon last season, the thought of him “making a statement” is downright scary. In 2016 he was responsible for 96 tackles, eight forced fumbles, seven sacks, three fumble recoveries and an interception.

However, the Greenwaves’s season was marred by disappointment following a 12-2 finish in 2015. That isn’t lost on Noble, in fact, it’s just another driving force for him this offseason.

“We didn’t really have the season we wanted. The reason is because we expected everybody to not want to play us,” Noble explained. “We ended up in a dog fight almost every Friday night because we weren’t hungry as a team.”

Noble and some of his classmates are determined to rid the bad taste of their 5-7 finish a season ago.

“This year me and a couple of my teammates are great leaders. Our team is very hungry and we’re not going to take any team in 2A lightly,” He said.

One area that Noble notes improvement in is his physicality. That is sure to show up at Fortius, but even more so once he suits up and gets on the gridiron next fall. Before he does put on the pads for his last season, though, he plans to improve other areas, as well.

“I have gotten a lot stronger. I could already cover, I’m just more physical with it now,” He said. “I’m working on every aspect of my game. I’m hitting the gym every day. I’m running, doing cone drills and working the ladder. Me and some of my teammates play 7-on-7 at least two times a week to stay ready. I’m trying to make a big statement this year.”

Making a statement, isn’t just something Noble does on the field, though. His mother passed away when he was only 14 years old.

“I have been playing football since I was a little kid and my mom was at every practice and game,” Noble stated. “When she passed away I used football to get away from what I was going through. It makes me feel like I have to make her proud.”

“It’s made me stronger mentally because I have an eight year old sister to look after. I had to grow up at 14, when I was just a teenage boy trying to find myself.”

So now Noble likes to make statements. Not just with the name his mother gave him, but with his play. And off the field, as he helps to raise his younger sister.

“My mom said she wanted me to stand for something, so she gave me a biblical name. Zion was the hill of Jerusalem on which the city of David was built,” He explained.

His sister acts just like his mother, he says. Along with raising her, football is also sure to be a prominent factor in his future. In both, he wants to make a statement. A statement that will make his mother proud and carry on the legacy she began to build.

“I will work to be the best linebacker wherever I go, and I will get my degree,” He stated. “Then after that, I’m thinking NFL. And that’s not the end, just the beginning of my journey.”

“Football has made me who I am today. I love everything about it. In my future, I see myself proving it against guys who might be recruited more heavily. You’re not going to outwork me in the end.”

#JohnLukeMcCord #OBannon

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