Thursday, July 24, 2008
By BARRY BURLESON
Terrence Echols stands 6’3” and weighs 310 pounds. But he’s not big on himself.
“I just want to win,” he said, “and everything else will fall into place. I just want to see my teammates do good. Hopefully we will have a great season.”
The former Byhalia High School Indian, who starred on the football field for coach Gaylon Jones, will be a senior at the University of Memphis and one of the anchors on the Tigers’ offensive line. He started at left guard the last three games of the season last year, including the New Orleans Bowl.
“I never look at it as having it wrapped up (the starting job),” Echols said. “I still have to work hard and do my job. My worst critic is myself.”
The Tigers finished 7-6 in 2007. He played in 12 of the team’s 13 games and was part of an offensive line that led Conference USA in sack denial for the fourth straight season. The Memphis offensive line gave up 14 sacks, which was ranked 10th nationally..
Echols won a “True Tiger Award” in the spring for his efforts on and off the field.
He was an honor roll student in high school. He graduated in a year and a half from Northwest Community College, where he lettered two seasons on the offensive line, and he could graduate early from Memphis in December.
“But I may hold off until the spring and do some more work on my minor,” Echols said.
He is majoring in sports communication with a minor in technology. He was in the 3.0 club last semester.
Echols expects the Tigers to have a good season.
“We have high expectations this season,” he said. “Everybody is dedicated.”
He’s looking forward to August 30 – because it’s the first game of the season and particularly because it’s against Ole Miss in Oxford.
“I have a little bit of a grudge for Ole Miss,” he said. “They said I was too short to play there. I have a chance to start and go against them, and I can’t wait.”
Echols is the son of Terry Echols and Linda and Kenneth Duncan.
He’s a big boy but not too big to stop listening to his mom’s advice.
“I’m not that big yet,” said Echols, laughing. “I come home to Byhalia as much as I can to see my mom. I have to get some of that home cooking.”
Plus Echols hopes to influence youngsters in his hometown.
“I like to show my face and speak to people,” he said. “Other kids can see it’s possible to come up out of Byhalia and do well.”
For video game enthusiasts, Echols can be found as a starter for the University of Memphis on “NCAA 2009.” He’s number 54.
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