VALDOSTA - If it has been said once it has been said a million times that championships are won and lost in the trenches.
In every class programs search far and wide for top talent on the lines of scrimmage and, as we saw in the 2013 NFL Draft when two offensive linemen rated as two stars or lower coming out of high school were drafted in the top five picks, there are diamonds in the rough to be had.
On Thursday, Georgia offered one of those types of players in Lowndes offensive lineman Dyshon Sims. Rivals.com and other recruiting coverage sites aren't through rating players by a long shot, but little is known about Sims at this time.
UGASports made the trip down to check Sims out as Lowndes held spring practice on Monday, and below is our evaluation of the Peach State lineman.
On the hoof
Sims is in the 6-foot-5 range and weighs around 270 pounds. He has very little bad weight and most of it is in his lower body.
He has longs legs, huge thighs, and skinny ankles to go with very long arms. Sims also posses very large hands and based on his physique, it appears as if he hasn't finished developing.
On the field
The first thing that stands out about Sims is his hustle. He is the first player to reach each station when his group moves, and he goes full bore in every drill. He plays until the whistle consistently, and isn't hesitant to make his initial block and work his way down field to make another.
At the point of attack, it is clear that he needs to get stronger in his upper body. He doesn't extend out well, but does a good job using his feet to gain appropriate position on the defensive lineman.
His initial punch is strong, but it can improve. He does a good job of punching and bringing his feet, but his hand placement can high at times. He never gets knocked back because of his powerful lower half. He often gets a good amount of forward movement because of his strong, wide base and because he draws even more power by blocking from the insteps of his feet.
In pass protection, he shows excellent footwork. He has quick feet and has the length to take away the inside move while being able to kick step and take away the edge as well. Unlike most young linemen, he doesn't dip his head at all in pass protection.
Sims is easily one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the country. He bends very well in his lower body, and rolls his hips well when he locks on to a defender. He runs very well for a big lineman, and appears to be comfortable in space. During the screen period at practice, he did a great job of shielding smaller, quicker defensive backs from getting to the pass catcher rather than being overly aggressive and missing in space.
Most of Sims' reps on Monday were against an FCS caliber defensive end in Zack Copeland, who holds offers from Middle Tennessee and Troy, and the sleeper tackle won the vast majority of those matchups.
Improvements to be made
There are a number of things that Sims needs to work on but the raw tools are definitely there.
The first thing Sims will need to do at the next level is add around 30 pounds of good weight. That shouldn't be tough for him based on his frame and work ethic.
As that happens it will help him get much stronger, which is another area in which he must improve. He will likely never be a 500-pound bench presser because of his long arms, but he will need strengthen his chest and triceps in order extend out on defenders. That will also make his punch stronger.
Lastly, Sims will need to polish up in regards to his hand placement and footwork. He needs to place his hands more consistently, and develop better technique with his feet.
Sims' athleticism and potential is undeniable when you watch him in person, but what really stands out are his intangibles.
We mentioned his constant hustle, but he is also an ideal teammate. He is always encouraging his teammates but he isn't afraid to call one of them out on the field for not going 100 percent. That is even more impressive given the fact that he just transferred to Lowndes in the last few months.
According to his coaches, he never misses a workout and is usually the first one there and the last to leave. He works hard to keep himself in great shape and is one of the best-conditioned linemen on the field. When the offensive linemen had to do extra conditioning after practice due to mistakes, Sims was the only one left standing and much of that is due to the work he has done on his own according to his coaches.
His offensive line coach, Christian Honeycutt, also made mention that he is "extremely coachable."
"He is a very intentional kid," Honeycutt said. "He is sincere and is always looking to learn and get better. He asks what he can correct and how he can get better. He is also a film junkie. He loves watching film and you have to like that about him."
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