April 27, 2012

Golson ready for redemption at Challenge

MORE: Five-Star Challenge | Underclassmen Challenge

Prattville (Ala.) offensive tackle and Florida State commit Austin Golson is ready for the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge in Atlanta.

In fact, for the 6-foot-4, 277-pounder, the June 22-24 event cannot come soon enough.

"I have to step up and play harder," he said. "I am ready though."

Golson, like many others at the Birmingham Rivals/VTO Sports Elite 100 camp, was beaten in his one-on-one drills by Muscle Shoals (Ala.) High defensive lineman Dee Liner. The matchup between the No. 57-ranked Golson and the No. 42-ranked Liner was the talk of the camp and Golson didn't like how the story was told.

"He beat me and he is a great player," Golson said. "But I know that I can do better than I did.

"I was pretty rusty at the one-on-ones, it had been awhile since I was out there, and I didn't have my feet under me. He is a great player but I wish I could get another chance at him."

After the event, Liner said that his reps against Golson were strong, but the account of the event were decidedly in favor of Liner.

Rivals.com Southeast Analyst Keith Niebuhr chronicled the event wrote:

"On the first rep of four between the two, Liner went outside, and despite facing heavy resistance from Golson, got to the target to win the play. On rep No. 2, Liner first went outside, then quickly re-directed with an inside move and rip to fly past his opponent. It was more of the same on the final two reps, as Liner's combination of speed, explosiveness, strength and outright desire was too much for the talented Golson to handle on this day."

While Liner is not currently registered for the inaugural event, Golson has put eyes on another player: Kenny Bigelow.

Bigelow is a five-star defensive end from Elkton (Md.) Eastern Christian Academy and the No. 6 overall player in the country. At 6-3 he is an inch taller than Liner and checks in 11 pounds heavier at 285.

Golson thinks that repetitions against Bigelow are a perfect way to prove that improvements have been made to his game.

"Going against the better competition is going to make me better," he said. "I want to get my work in and show that I am not the same player from a month ago.

"I have gotten better with work and effort, and I watched what (Bigelow) can do and he is very good too. He is a lot like Dee."

After spending the last few years going against some of the best defensive lineman in the country - including U.S. Army All-American Justin Shanks - while at Prattville, the top level competition will be nothing new for Golson.

He still has the mentality of redemption entering the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.

"Everyone there is on my level," he said. "They are all good and I know I have to be ready to come out and play.

"I will be. I'm excited."

Mike Farrell's take

Golson is one of the top offensive linemen in the Southeast and he knows he has to redeem himself a bit after being beaten by Dee Liner at our Rivals.com/VTO Sports Alabama Elite 100 in March. It will be interesting to see how he responds and it's a testament to his competitive nature and his willingness to get better that he wants to continue to battle the best. If he can be a bit more aggressive and physical, and not guess or allow himself to get off balance, he will do well. I look forward to seeing what he has learned. His upside is excellent and I think these camps will only help him improve.



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