Tiger Camp 2019: Day 7 - Offensive Line
Wednesday, August 7, 2019
Tiger Camp 2019: Day 7 - Offensive Line


NASHVILLE --- The Tennessee State offensive line returns three starters from a season ago, but will need to replace graduates Chidi Okeke (LT) and Justin Brooks (RT). Also gone, is Jamahl Jelks who played all five positions on the front line throughout his career. Okeke has taken his talents to the Kansas City Chiefs of the National Football League after starting all nine games a year ago, while Brooks missed two games to injury in 2018, but earned seven starts and 27 during his career.

The line gets a boost as Thomas Burton will return for his final season after suffering a season ending injury in the fourth game of the season. Burton has started 28 games during his time at TSU and is considered one of the top linemen in the conference, as he was named to the 2019 OVC All-Preseason Team. Transfer Raekwon Allen started all nine games at right guard and earned All-OVC Second Team honors, giving the Tigers strength in the middle of the line with Burton.

Lachavious Simmons enters his final season with 14 starts and 29 games played at every position on the line, with the exception of center. Simmons is ticketed to replace Okeke at left tackle. Anthony Geter played in six games, starting five at center last year, and looks to help stablize the front line.

Demetrius Cooley, Noah Shattuck and Marlon Black Jr. are in line to battle along with transfers Cam Durley (Kansas) and Will James (Itawamba CC) for time in the trenches. Newcomers Michael Brooks, Caleb Waller, Mayson Harris, Jaalon Gupton and Jimmy Nixon III provide depth.

Don't Take Your Eye Off:
Cam Durley - Transfer from Kansas; will compete for starting job

Newcomer Spotlight:
Jaalon Gupton - Excellent athlete who plays the edge

 LINEMEN   HT   WT   YR   TRANSFER   Gms Played   Gms Started 
 Thomas Burton   6-2   305   R-Sr.     32   28 
 Lachavious Simmons   6-5   305   R-Sr.     29   14 
 Raekwon Allen   6-3   330   R-Sr.     9   9 
 Dametrius Cooley   6-2   288   R-Jr.     --   -- 
 Anthony Geter   5-11   300   R-So.     6   5 
 Marlon Black, Jr.  6-6   295   R-Fr.      --   -- 
 Noah Shattuck  6-6   295   R-Fr.     1   -- 
 Cam Durley  6-6   315   R-Jr.  Kansas (2018 - Injured)   1   -- 
 Will James  6-4   305   Jr.   Itawamba CC   --   -- 
 Brandon Jones   6-5   300   Jr.   Georgia Military College   --   -- 
 Michael Brooks  6-3   310   Fr.    --   -- 
 Caleb Waller  6-3   285   Fr.    --   -- 
 Jimmy Nixon III  6-3   325   Fr.    --   -- 
 Mayson Harris  6-2   310   Fr.     --   -- 
 Jaalon Gupton  6-5   270   Fr.     --   -- 

Redshirt Junior Offensive Lineman Demetrius Cooley
- On improvements he has made in camp
"I’ve been trying to work on my feet. I’m not the biggest guy, so I’m really working on my technique. Just making sure I am where I need to be."

- What the Offensive Line is working on in camp
"We are touching everything - foot work, making sure our hands are right, just the whole line. Coach E (Russ Ehrenfeld), he’s a really good coach and pointing us in the right direction. We still have stuff to work on but, everyday we’re out there getting it."

Junior Offensive Lineman Will James
- On how he has improved in camp
"I have improved my effort, my footwork, just trying to be a better player. Coming out here and competing every day."

- How the Offensive Line has improved during camp
"As far as toughness goes, we have a lot of younger guys coming out and taking a lot of reps. It’s hot out here, we have a very tough coach and it’s making us tougher as a unit. We’re getting better every day. We’re going to be ready for the 31st."

Senior Offensive Lineman Reakwon Allen
- On how camp/practice has been so far
"It’s been a little hot but, we’re pushing through. We have good coaches to help us push through and motivate us. It’s helping the younger guys push through the program."

- On what the Offensive Line needs to improve
"Communication. We are there toughness wise, but we need to learn how to communicate more. And that it is okay to ask questions."

Redshirt Junior Offensive Lineman Cam Durley
- On transferring into his first season here
"I really like it. I like being a Tiger. I like the program. I’m really starting to gel with the guys, which I thought would happen during camp. I really enjoy making the move here."

- On improvements he has made so far
"I have made improvements with my mobility coming off of an injury, learning everything I can, and trying to lead by example. It’s hard being a transfer and not having a voice as much as I want to have, so I’m leading by example and showing everybody what I can do."

- On what the Offensive Line needs to improve
"We have a really good group, we need to improve our mental toughness. We need to embrace the struggle when it gets hard, overcome it, persevere through it and come together even stronger in the end."

Freshman Offensive Lineman Jaalon Gupton
- On how camp is going so far
"Camp has been going great so far, especially for the Offensive Line. We have been working on our footwork every day. Coach E (Russ Ehrenfeld), he’s coaching us hard, pushing us. Trying to get better every day."

- On what they have worked on individually
"My footwork, and my mindset. This game is quick so I gotta work on my feet."

Redshirt Sophomore Offensive Lineman Anthony Geter
- On how camp is going so far
"Camp has been going good for the O-Line. We’ve been working on technique and just working hard. It’s always a grind for us - every day is physical, every day we gotta come out and work."

- On what they have worked on individually
"My honing techniques. Getting better. Learning new things. Learning the game. Always looking for new things to learn."