In 2010 North Pike (Miss.) defensive end Vernon Butler enjoyed a solid junior campaign and totaled 98 tackles with four sacks and 11 tackles for loss. But the 6-foot-4 and 250-pound Butler wants to continue to increase his visits to the opposing backfields in 2011.
"I felt good about last year and it was a decent year," said Butler. "But I've really been working on my quickness this offseason so I can get into the backfield quicker and a lot more. We're all ready to start spring ball soon so we can start hitting again. And my top two things this year are to get to the quarterback as fast as I can and stop any kind of running plays on the outside."
While awaiting his first scholarship offer, Butler said he was hearing from several schools and his lone junior day experience was at Mississippi State.
"I am getting a lot of interest from Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Southern Miss, Memphis and Louisiana-Lafayette," said Butler. "I went to Mississippi State for one of their junior days and it went well. I really liked their facilities, their weight room and their locker room.
"Coach Chris Wilson is my recruiter from there and he seems to be a good guy and knows what he is talking about. He told me he wants me to come play for them one day and Coach (Dan) Mullen has said the same thing, too."
And later this summer, Butler plans to attend a couple of camps, including a return trip to Mississippi State.
"I know I am going to Mississippi State's camp on June 4th," said Butler. "Their coaches said they wanted to see more of me in person and how I perform at camp. Then I am going to Southern Miss the next day and those are the only camps I know of right now."
Of the schools showing him interest, Butler noted the Bulldogs were currently drawing most of his attention.
"Mississippi State is really the main one I like," said Butler. "I have just liked them since I was a little kid and it would be great to go there. Me and (teammate) A.J. Jefferson talk about them a lot and they have a program that is heading on the upswing now."