Coach's Corner: An Inside Look at What Makes Vols Prospect Amarius Mims So Special

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Cochran, Ga-- Bleckley County Offensive Line Coach Ryan McKenzie enters year two as the position coach for Amarius Mims, and he has watched him develop into one of the top prospects in the country, regardless of position. Bleckley County is coming off of a 7-4 season that ended with a first-round loss in the playoffs, leaving the team hungry for more. McKenzie recently sat down to discuss Mims with VR2 on SI.

Going into year two with Mims, McKenzie said what he has seen from him from a development standpoint on the field is: I think for him, of course, he has the physical tools and physical ability, I think his overall development in his leadership, trying to figure out a way to become a better leader, a way to bring people who are not as talented as he is to his level. He is doing a phenomenal job with that. He is holding himself accountable, he is talking more, he is communicating more, whereas a Sophomore and Junior he was more reserved. He has to learn that communication, no matter at what classification is going to be vital to anybody's game. I think communication and leadership have been his best growth so far.

Mims' accountability off the field is another key piece of his game, as McKenzie said, "off the field, he holds himself accountable. During the pandemic, our defensive back coach has a bike club, where they ride a bike 10-15 miles a day. I was on Twitter one day, and I saw his big butt on the bike. So, he is out there holding himself accountable. He wants to be the best, so he puts in the work. When we send out workouts, it is not anything we have to check up on him to do. He is going to do it."

Mims is gifted with all of the physical tools for success. McKenzie said for him to take that next step towards being ready for college football, "I think at times he can be a little lazy in his technique because he is so much better than the people at this level, and that is apparent. Practice habits can improve a little bit because you know, everybody at this level is not as gifted as him, so his forty percent looks like a hundred percent to most people. So, as coaches, we critique the steps, the hand placement, the physicality, and I think if he can unlock that and consistently do that every day, regardless of the competition, I think the sky is the limit for him."

McKenzie said on how Mims handles hard coaching, "I think he wants it. He is a kid that embraces it. He likes it. He is a gentle giant. I mean, he is a kid, so he doesn't like to be yelled at sometimes. A man of his stature, you look at him and say, 'c'mon man.' Personally, I care about developing the best product for us and him, and once he gets out of his feelings, he will be like a big German Shepherd coming to jump in your arms. In the moment, you can tell he is a kid. He is still 17, and he is still learning to manage his emotions. I tell him, 'listen to the message and not the tone,' once he figures that out, he will go to the next level and be just fine."

Bleckley County is set to kick off their season in September, as Georgia has pushed the usual start date back due to COVID-19, but is on track to start around the first week of the month.