May 19, 2008

Casey still working hard

Heading into the final weeks of May, students across the country have their minds wandering towards their summer plans.

High school seniors, in large part, have already begun to move on in their minds, going through the formalities until high school graduation.

Jurrell Casey's not all that different.

He's thinking a lot about his summer plans, but unlike anyone infected with senioritis, Casey said he's doing everything to make sure the last weeks of school don't cost him on the football this next summer.

"I've been keeping my grades right and working out, going to the gym and stuff. My SAT came back good," Casey said. "I just have to maintain my grades where they're at now. I've got all B's right now."

It appears the four-star defensive tackle from Long Beach Poly High School's on track to qualify and plans on completing his enrollment for summer school at USC shortly.

The path to qualifying even took Casey to night school briefly, but it appears the big three-technique tackle will be on campus and wearing No. 91.

"I tried to get 52, but Luthur (Brown) already got it," Casey said. "It's all right. Whatever number I get, it's cool. I'm just looking to play."

In addition to hitting the books, Casey's been hitting the weight room, bulking up his 6-foot-1 frame to just under 300 pounds.

"It's always helped me to play at a smaller size because it helped me move," he said. "I'd like to lose a little more weight. But every time I gained weight, I've still been able to move."

And Casey said he knows that adding weight means he can't sacrifice his conditioning.

"You always have to stay in shape if you want to be ready for the next level," he said. "In high school, you work out but not as hard. In college, you have to get to a certain level to be able to play with great players."

Casey and Armond Armstead are the two defensive tackles in the 2008 recruiting class.

Understandably, Casey has some anxiety about all the changes headed his way in the next month or so.

"Obviously, I'm a little nervous because it's a new thing, and I'll be playing with people I'm not used to playing with," Casey said. "They've got more experience than I do playing college ball.

"I hope I can shake it off and get right into the groove with the rest of them."

The nerves, however, haven't touched Casey's confidence. A big-time playmaker in the prep ranks, Casey's got no plans for his reputation to change.

"The team's looking good, but every team has a couple of problems that need solving," he said. I'm just looking forward to coming in and make big plays and get into the backfield.

"I just want people to be able to know my name and make something big for myself. I want to make some plays, get some reps and eventually start."

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