St. Clair ShoresSeptember 11, 2013
South Lake’s Stallworth ‘blessed’ to get looks from MSU, Tennessee, other D-I schools
By Jason Carmel Davis
C & G Sports Writer
ST. CLAIR SHORES — St. Clair Shores South Lake junior offensive/defensive lineman Kyonta Stallworth has played other sports, including track and basketball.
He admitted he has a love for baseball, shown by the smile that takes up his face when he talks about it.
But football is Stallworth’s game of choice, mostly because of the physical nature of the game, the 6-foot-4-inch, 275-pound lineman said during a Sept. 3 practice. His favorite part of the sport is simple: “hitting people.”
His phyical style has led Stallworth receiving a lot of attention from some notable NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision colleges and universities.
The South Lake junior has already received offers from Michigan State University and the University of Tennessee. He’s also getting looks from the University of Florida and UCLA, among other schools.
“It’s a blessing. I never thought I’d be as highly recruited as I am,” Stallworth said. “But this process is never over. You always have to keep working.”
That outlook has endeared Stallworth to first-year Cavs coach Nick Marrogy, who touts Stallworth’s movement as his biggest on-field strength.
The coach said Stallworth hasn’t let the notoriety get to him. Marrogy, whose team sat at 1-0 at press time, said Stallworth has stayed humble and continues to showcase a strong work ethic.
“That fire and intensity is always there — even with all the notoriety,” Marrogy said. “He’s not taking plays and games off. He’s out constantly doing things to make himself, and his teammates, better. He’s always first on the field for drills and for practice. That’s why I made him a captain.”
Stallworth said he takes pride in the leadership role Marrogy has placed him in. He said he knows other players look up to him and understands that there’s a time and a place to teach on the field.
“The younger players look up to me, so I have to make sure they’re doing things right,” Stallworth said, “but I have to make sure I take care of business before I try and tell someone else what to do. I think that’s what being a leader is.”
Marrogy said he thinks Stallworth will excel at the NCAA level. He said he’s never seen anyone of Stallworth’s size move as well as he does. The South Lake coach said balance and quickness are two more strengths Stallworth possesses, but added the junior must improve his upper body strength and work on staying low against opposing lineman.
“I don’t see a lot of weaknesses in his game. There are times as a coaching staff where we’ll try some different things with him,” Marrogy said. “He’s always willing to learn new techniques and anything else.
“He’s only going to get stronger. He’s going to go into a college program and put on another 30 pounds of muscle mass. But I think he’ll only lose a bit of his quickness because he’s so athletic. He’s unbelievably athletic for a man his size.”
Even though his coach thinks he does just about everything well, Stallworth said he prefers run blocking to pass blocking.
“That gives me the chance to pancake some people,” Stallworth said. “(Run blocking) is fun. It’s just a lot of fun to open up holes for the running backs.”
It’s not all fun and games for the highly touted lineman. Stallworth said he works tirelessly during the offseason, working on footwork, strength training and jogging. He said he’s put in the most time on his footwork running drills in his backyard.
“I just have to keep grinding to get better,” Stallworth said. “It’s a mental thing. Even when you think you have something down pat, you should still push yourself to work at it some more — things like pass blocking and technique. There’s a lot of things I can improve on. That’s why I try to work so hard.”
Stallworth said he gets that work ethic from his parents — Sylvester and Tomeka Stallworth. He said he doesn’t think he would have the opportunities he would have if it weren’t for his parents pushing him.
The South Lake junior said his family might play a role in his college decision. Stallworth said he thinks about going to an out-of-state college, but admits he’d like to see his family more.
“I’m about 85 percent sure I’m going to choose Michigan State, but I still have some thinking to do,” Stallworth said.
Stallworth still has two years to grow and improve. Marrogy said his strong mentality and physicality on the field make him a very strong player.
And playing, and making plays, are all Stallworth is focused on once the ball is snapped.
“Make a big play,” Stallworth said. “That’s all that’s on my mind when we’re on the field — make a big play so we can score.”
South Lake next hits the field for a matchup against Warren Fitzgerald, set for 7 p.m. Sept. 13 at Fitzgerald.