When a football player's positions range spans end to end and all that's between, you might wonder if he is his unit's best player or most versatile.
In the case of Arkansas Razorbacks sophomore defensive lineman, McTelvin “Sosa” Agim, it's both. The nationally renowned 5-star recruit when signed out of Hope, Agim is his defensive line's best player and his versatility makes him even better.
When a football player’s positions range spans end to end and all that’s between, you might wonder if he is his unit’s best player or most versatile.
In the case of Arkansas Razorbacks sophomore defensive lineman, McTelvin “Sosa” Agim, it’s both. The nationally renowned 5-star recruit when signed out of Hope, Agim is his defensive line’s best player and his versatility makes him even better.
Though most apt to start at left defensive end in the new 3-4 scheme that Arkansas Coach Bret Bielema invoked defensive coordinator Paul Rhoads to install while John Scott to coach the defensive line from his NFL stint as the New York Jets assistant defensive line coach, Agim has popped up all over the line during the spring practices.
“We have been working on packages to have me everywhere.” Agim said. “We'll see how it goes when the season comes.”
Even when he’s lined up at one particular spot, Sosa’s shadow can shade multiple directions in the 3-4, he said.
“It's a lot more freedom in this defense,” Agim said compare to 4-3 he lettered in last year as a freshman. “When you play the end here you can shade inside or out to the 3 or out to the 5 and the 4. Last defense I was just a 3 and kind of stuck inside at that position.”
Though Arkansas began 2016 with a senior laden defensive line, Agim played every game, the first eight as a backup and the last five starting.
He totaled 27 tackles, 5.5 behind the line for minus 27 yards including 2.5 quarterback sacks, and was credited two quarterback hurries forcing incomplete passes.
Agim got a head start for his 2016 freshman campaign. A 2015 December graduate from Hope High who enrolled at the UA in January for the 2016 spring semester, Agim not only participated in all 15 of the 2016 spring practices after going through the winter offseason program, but he joined a relatively rare group who practiced in college then played again on the high school level. As a high school graduate who had signed a financial grant in aid with Arkansas, Agim was allowed, with the UA’s fall semester concluded, to participate in some of the Razorbacks’ on campus 2015 December practices for their Liberty Bowl victory over Kansas State, Jan. 2, 2016 in Memphis.
Agim wasn’t eligible to play in that Liberty Bowl but still could and did play in the Under Armor High School All-Star game before his 2016 spring semester began.
All that he learned from that head start gives him no regrets about missing that last spring semester as the big man at Hope High.
“I feel any in-coming freshman, if you're trying to play as a freshman you should most definitely come early enrollee,” Agim said. “It helped me tremendously in my opinion.”
He didn’t get a head start on the 3-4 but said everybody has a fresh head of steam enthusiasm for it after the team failures associated with the 2016 Hogs’ inability to stop the run.
“I feel like it's been great for me,” Agim said of the 3-4. “Better for the team also. We've grown well. Going to the 3-4 I feel the team has gotten more comfortable. I feel we're ready to please these new coaches."
Rhoads isn’t entirely new to Agim, since Rhoads was the defensive backfield coach in 2016 now the defensive coordinator/defensive backfield coach.
Scott, hired during the winter, was brand new to Agim but they are well acquainted now.
“I feel comfortable around those guys, Coach Scott and Coach Rhoads,” Agim said. “Even when they get onto me when I'm not doing what I'm supposed to do I feel like it's coming from the heart. I feel like they know what's best for me. I don't take it with a grain of salt or anything like that. I just knuckle up and try to fix it.”
What are they like?
“ love him,” Agim said of Scott. “He's a great dude man. He's great off the field. You can go in his office and talk to him about anything. Coach Scott is a wonderful coach.”
Rhoads coaches from the calmly confident perspective of an ex collegiate head coach (Iowa State 2009-2015).
“Coach Rhoads is a character,” Agim said. “You probably saw him when he was at Iowa State on the sidelines talking to the refs. He's an amazing guy. He loves us We can tell it, most definitely.”
Agim said he knows what he individually can do to please Rhoads and Scott winding it up in Red-White game.
“I want to see me being fundamentally sound,” Agim said. “I want to see us having a lot of energy out there.”
Have you set goals for how many sacks you bag next fall?
“I have set a goal on how many wins,” Agim replied. “Hopefully all of them.“