September 6, 2011

Eulls focused on football

Two years ago Kaleb Eulls appeared on or in every major news outlet in the country after saving 22 passengers aboard a school bus from an armed 14-year old student.

Now a redshirt freshman defensive end at Mississippi State, Eulls is back in the spotlight but this time in a role he is much more comfortable in - football.

Eulls reluctantly appeared on Good Morning America, the Today Show, ESPN and a host of other programs recounting how he tackled the armed female and wrestled the gun away from her.

"I really didn't want any publicity for it," Eulls said. "There are sometimes I don't like talking about it and don't feel comfortable talking about the situation and what happened."

But even two years removed the 6-foot-4, 280-pounder is still approached about his heroic act that day.

"Yeah I still have a couple of people come up to me a couple times a week and ask me about it," Eulls said. "They'll ask what happened and want to know if I feel comfortable talking about the story."

Eulls was finally able to write a new chapter in his story last week when he started his first career game for the Bulldogs against Memphis after redshirting his first year on campus.

"It feels great especially sitting back that first year," Eulls said. "I could just sit back and learn and it feels great to finally get a chance to go out there on the field and play. The redshirt year helped out a lot so I could see the speed of the game, how to do things and what the coaches expect out of all of us."

The Yazoo City, Miss., native recorded two tackles against the Tigers in his debut.

"I think I did great, especially being my first game." Eulls said. "I was a little bit nervous. I know there is a lot more in me."

Bulldogs defensive coordinator Chris Wilson was also impressed with what he saw from his redshirt freshman.

"Kaleb at times did some really, really good things," Wilson said. "He showed his athleticism and strength to have a 280-pound defensive end which is fun to watch. The biggest thing, and he will tell you, is that he wants to be cleaner fundamentally and he want to mentally play faster. This week we are really going to focus on finding a role for him that he gets comfortable in because he can make a lot of plays for you."

Eulls worked mostly as a defensive tackle at practice during 2010 but is now the Bulldogs starter at defensive end, which is where he was considered a four-star recruit out of high school. Eulls will still occasionally line up at defensive tackle depending on the package the defense is running.

"It feels great to show the versatility," Eulls said. "I can go from an inside guy to an outside guy. Right now I'm working mostly at defensive end."

As a senior at Yazoo County, Eulls played on both sides of the ball and even served as the Panthers starting quarterback. He was named the Class 4A Defensive Player of the Year making 82 tackles, 16 tackles for loss, seven sacks, one forced fumble and one fumble recovery.

Offensively Eulls rushed for 942 yards and 11 touchdowns while passing for an additional 721 yards and two more scores. He was selected to represent his state in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star Classic following the season.

Eulls was rated the No. 8 recruit in Mississippi and the 18th best weakside defensive end in the country in 2010. He received scholarship offers from Alabama, Georgia, LSU, Ole Miss, Southern Miss and Tennessee but is glad to be at MSU.

"I'm very happy," Eulls said. "I couldn't have made a better choice."

This week Eulls is back on the practice field preparing for his first SEC road test against the defending national champion Auburn Tigers.

"I just treat them all the same," Eulls said. "There is going to be a winner and there is going to be a loser. I'm just going to go out there and prepare the best way I can and work hard."

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