• John Macon Gillespie

Buford Has Blossomed At Bayou Academy

Plenty has changed since Stanley Buford attended the Fortius Project last year. To start it off, he’s at a different school - Bayou academy. That means a team full of new teammates, and following last season’s 3-7 finish, the Colts now have a new coaching staff.

Additionally, Buford has begun to see a personal change, as well. The change of scenery has served as quite the refreshment in his life. He has always been influenced by the example of his mother, and he realizes that he is now a example to those younger than him.

“At my previous school I began to not love the sport anymore. My grades started to lack and everything. I was going downhill because I felt like I was wasting my time. I didn’t let anyone tell me I couldn’t do what I wanted to do. I went to where I knew I was going to get help,” Buford told SES Mississippi. “Knowing that I have family behind me and kids looking up to me drives me. I didn’t even know until I started realizing how much love they show.”

“I feel that this was a great transition for me. Being at Bayou has made me a better person inside and outside of school. It has made football my priority and my grades are constantly on point.”

Alongside new teammates, and playing in a different system Buford has blossomed into a star. It appears his new environment is pushing him towards the ceiling of his potential.

His opportunity to shine has been much greater in his time at Bayou, he says. In addition to being an offensive weapon, he’s also returned kick offs and punts.

“I love being here. I have received a lot more exposure,” Buford stated. “I have been given opportunities to show off my abilities at multiple positions. I’ve gotten my name out there and I feel more comfortable going into my senior year.”

This season, you guessed it, there will be more newness for Buford and his teammates. Greg Wallace was recently named the new head coach of the Colts football program. With him, he brings a new offensive philosophy, and a new quarterback.

“I feel that he is going to turn our program around,” Buford said of Wallace. “He came to talk to the team and told us how he has had winning seasons with an offense that can pass and run. He wants to run a fast tempo offense, which matches the talent we have coming back. His step son will be a senior next year and he has a great frame for quarterback. He can run it as well as he can throw it.”

“With what the new head coach is bringing in we could really go far in the playoffs next year. Hopefully even make it to state.”

As far as a brief peak towards what the team could look like this fall, Buford noted that there is one area the Colts could stand to improve. Though, they are a team that brings back plenty of experience in 2017.

“Right now our weakness is linemen. With East Side and Cleveland combing, I think we will get the piece to the puzzle that we are missing,” He explained.

“Last season was a lesson and we faced a lot of adversity. We’ve grown and I expecting great things this upcoming year. We were young last season, as most of the team were sophomores. That’s a couple of things to build on.”

After hauling in 49 passes for 689 yards and nine touchdowns in 2016, Buford, too, is looking for a spike next season. In fact, he’s taking a unique approach to ensure that step is taken.

“This offseason I’m doing crossfit to get more explosive,” He said. “I’m planning on leading my team very far my senior year.”

Mostly, he is focusing his efforts to improve his explosiveness, speed and vertical leaping ability this offseason.

Standing at 6’3 Buford is surprisingly athletic. That was first evident last year when he attended the Fortius Project and was named a to the all-combine team at MRA on April 2nd. He notes his ability to high-point the ball in the air, his route-running and his agility, as areas that he has improved most over the last year.

“My size helps em a lot, because you’re not going to find any 6’3 corners. My size helps me get up and over defensive backs,” Buford said. “I’m really still learning to use my size, because I’m not used to it. I just shot up my junior year and I’m expecting to get up to maybe 215 from where I am now at 200 pounds of all muscle.”

At one point Buford had lost his will to play the game. Now, he’s completely bought in to improving his game and helping his team win games next fall. The hard work he plans to put in the offseason is just part of the process and the turnaround he’s undergone in the past year. He credits much of that to becoming a member of the Bayou Academy football program and family.

#BayouAcademy #JohnLukeMcCord

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